Strategic Planning

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Charles Petersen
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Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:04 am

The current issue of Soaring Magazine, the journal of the Soaring Society of America, has a message from the Chairman regarding strategic planning, which I have scanned, speaks on the need for strategic planning, and cites a planning document, which I have also attached.

I hope this may spark a conversation about this, or even give new life to the intermittent intentions to create a plan, or go through a 'Visioning' exercise, which is more timely than ever with the changes at York.
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Strategic_Planning_Glider_Clubs_V5.pdf
Strategic Planning Glider Clubs
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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:10 am

And the article...
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SSA Strategic Planning for Clubs.jpeg
SSA SOARING Article
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Tony Firmin
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Tony Firmin » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:56 am

After reading the Strategic Planning guide once I'd say its exactly what York needs to do. The process is laid out in such detail that its impossible to take it all in, in one pass. The advice given on the 5 stages of developing an action plan looks to be very helpful. Finding the mental energy and time to work through this is the challenge.

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Stan Martin
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Stan Martin » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:12 pm

Interesting:

Here are basic stats from our Facebook page of the last couple of months. We try to keep it fresh, but I believe we do not promote it well.
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Stats 1.JPG
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Mark Lightfoot
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:28 pm

Excellent post Charles.

The marketing committee has been talking about the importance of having a strategic plan for a while.

I'm curious about allocation strategies for the fibreglass aircraft, including the new K21 which will be an excellent addition to the fleet thanks to yourself and YFC.

Lots of considerations including ab-initio training, meeting member rental demand, transitioning from the 2-33 into a glass twin (with forward thinking towards soaring and singles), intro flights, and PPL-ATPL transition. Also ensuring our mobility challenged members can fly.

We've got to keep our members happy,. We need to find ways to hold onto new members. We need to turn our youth members into active long term nembers. We need to look at certain facts such as most of the world is doing ab-initio in glass. Frankly, if my only option was to learn in the 2-33, I'd still be flying my PA-28. Also, if someone gets their GPL in in glass, like the K21, will they not be much better prepared for moving into soaring and into singles.

I'll cut that off there and interested to here practical effective strategies.

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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:40 am

Tony is right: this would be a demanding exercise, and not quickly completed. But, it is winter and what better time to undertake it? But to do this, although our President Jim has discussed 'Visioning' over the last season, will take the will of the Board to begin, and the support of the full spectrum of the membership to complete.

And yes, Mark, I agree that we need to contemplate what changes the addition of a second K-21 and the reduction of one Grob Twinn II will make. I have my own thoughts on this, and it would seem some are parallel to yours. I just this week, after a conversation with Dave Connally sent a letter to him for discussion at the Board. It read:
I was asked by Dave to outline my thoughts on a policy for Line Chiefs to guide them in allocating glass twins between the competing demands from members and Intros. These suggestions reflect the change in the fleet that will, I expect, be in place next spring: instead of two Twin Grobs and one K-21, we will have two K-21's and one Twin Grob.

Last season I witnessed on several occasions unhappy members awaiting a flight in YSK, who, despite the time at which they posted their flight card, were prioritized behind the intros. Some of the frustrated (and increasingly annoyed) were students who elected to take their training in the K-21 despite the known demand making instructional flights less frequent. Others were members who quite simply preferred to fly in the 21, perhaps even had trained in it.

For an Intro, the difference between a Grob and a 21 is negligible, providing the glider is in good cosmetic state. This assumes that York will either improve the state of FUZS w2ith a canopy repair (insurance claim) and probably the upholstery and gel coat, or will purchase GIKI and sell FUZS.

For a student pilot, the K-21 is easier to fly, - perhaps a marginal differ3ce, but regarding the 2-33 trained pilot furthering his training, the major weakness of his early training in the 2-33 is the matter of energy control. Not a problem with a 2-33, but both the 21 and even slightly more so, the Twin Grob are easily flown onto short final with way too much energy (for a variety of causes, which subject is beyond this memo). However, the Twin Grob can, when flown onto the field too fast, go quickly from missile mode to the 'demented ornithopter from hell', a series of oscillations as it bounces from nose wheel to tail wheel, with the wings flapping up and down, and their mass and movement lifting the fuselage off the ground and slamming it back down. This can and has broken a number of Grob's tail booms, and the repair adds weight to the splice and counterweight to balance the CG, with a resulting lowered permitted pilot weight.
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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:43 am

Continued to circumvent length restrictions...
Accordingly, I suggest that the following be adopted:
The Grob will be prioritized to Intro flights, with yellow cards put into the Grob rack. (they have been in a separate rack)
YSK will be prioritized to York member use, and further prioritized for flight with two aboard
ZH (the Youth Flight Canada K-21 coming from SOSA) will be prioritized for YFC scholarship students and York members taking dual training with an instructor, whether ab initio or advanced conversion into glass
Where there are too many Intros, the Line Chief has the discretion to intermingle them with flights in the other two K-21's, or bring on the DG 500 for Intro flights.
The above should be printed, and posted inside the flight shack, and perhaps outside as well.
But this too is a reactive measure; changing the priorities of use to fit changes in the fleet. We should perhaps look at structuring the fleet to fit what we want the club to become. That would be the proactive approach.

So, let's keep talking and see if there is enough interest to give such an undertaking legs...
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Paul Moggach » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:58 am

Strategic planning is only successful if you ask the right questions and actually come up with effective solutions. The gliding community has routinely gone through this process and asked a lot of the pertinent questions. However the effectiveness of the solutions to our issues seem to follow the same patterns, that only has led to the decline of our sport. We tend to think our solutions lie in things like our fleet, or in promoting cross-country flying. We also think we can market our sport to anyone. These approaches are patently not true. Our sport represents only 4% of the population by personality characteristics. We are not the general public. Our difficult task is to find 'glider pilots' and then teach them how to fly.

Any strategic initiative that advocates spending the majority of our resources on things such as gliders and facilities will miss the mark as it has done in the past. It is not that these 'things' are not important, it is just that they are not the prime factors in sustaining the sport. We have better aircraft and facilities than we ever had, but these have contributed very little to sustaining our sport. The real effect of these 'improvements' has been to make our operations more expensive. As well, initiatives that are based upon beliefs that we can market to and retain just anyone also will fail as in the past. If we keep making the same strategic mistakes, we will continue to witness the decline in our sport.

Paul Moggach

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Tony Firmin
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Tony Firmin » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:09 pm

Given that the world wide experience is that the sport is declining in numbers it is a testament to the efforts of many in the club that we have maintained much the same membership over the last five years. Ups and downs have occurred over the years, some linked to the fluctuations in the economy. Whatever the future brings, like any other organisation, the club should have some guiding 5-10 year strategic plan for the future of the club that the current membership can believe in and help realize over the years they belong to the club.

This club was started by an entrepreneur with the support of a small band of enthusiasts at a time when the sport was reaching its heights. Walter had a vision, one might almost say it was in his DNA. The world has changed, the sport has changed and we all miss Walter. We need an up to date vision that the current membership will be pleased to get behind and support with their effort.

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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:14 pm

Well said, Tony. I think Walter's vision, which I recall as 'affordable flying for everyone, and introducing youth to gliding' came with a brown shirt in any high school in pre-war Germany. The Hitler Youth was state subsidized, and most every school had a glider program.

Hi was a successful vision at that time, but an update merits serious consideration.

IMHO
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Doug Carman
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Doug Carman » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:46 pm

I think we have been doing a fair bit of strategic planning, but we can only actualize it within the limits of our membership (labour) and revenues. These are strained sometimes, and each of us has ideas about what we ought to strategize. For example, I have been trying on the towplane side. Our antique towplanes may hold up for some time, but eventually either big expenses, like recovering, have to be done, or engines have to be changed. There are also things like the tractors. The Nuffield is now 71 years old!!
As far as gliders go, some strategic operational things can be done. When the intros threaten the members, RRP can be put in for intros, and probably the Larks can as well, but others would have to speak to them. When we are that busy, there is no down side to operating RRP for York, since it is not preventing a York aircraft from generating revenue.
And please stop slagging the 2-33s. We would need 4 more K21s to replace them and double the number of instructors, and the students would have to be twice as rich. Get all those ducks and I might change my mind.

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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:25 pm

Doug, please don't take the individual efforts at, in your case, the tugs 'n tractors, as strategic planning. Please read the document (I know it's long and somewhat complex).

And those are good suggestions for the Intros, but they are not, and my suggestions are not, a policy to guide the Line Chief. So, as I wrote, members can be left waiting for a flight while a Line Chief, trying to deal with the overwhelming line of cards for Intros, makes his own policy decision as to how to allocate aircraft. There's some influence too by the pilots flying the intros, - naturally choosing a glider they prefer. Hence the suggestion for a Line Chief guidance policy that considers the wants of our members.

And I'm not 'slagging' the 2-33's by recognizing the limitations of the training they impart. The same high drag that keeps them low energy for an ab initio student and therefore both easier to fly but can leave them less attuned to the energy management required for a heavier glider. (Garfield was visiting Florida and told me that his first landing in a Grob he thought he was aboard a missile). I remember Tony posted an article estimating that the 103 lands with about 2.5 times the energy of the 2-33. The 2-33 has many advantages, including especially the affordability you mentioned, and the highly apparent cause and effect of the controls (no loss to the subtlety of the small deflection with sustained pressure. It offers the cheapest, fastest avenue to a GPL. Transition to a soaring poilot is another thing...

So, if you have not yet, read the full document before getting defensive. I'm not attacking here. Honest.
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Jim Fryett » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:11 pm

Hi Charles

Thanks for posting the Strategic Planning document. This looks like an excellent resource as a working document to set a process into action. As we are aware, there have been a number of pressures on club finances due to our aging infrastructure and fleet, which combined with changing demographics and membership will influence the quality and experience of the club moving into the future. We have been fortunate to maintain our membership numbers and benefit from a scale of operation that allows many different interests ranging from the ab initio to cross-country. I am concerned however that changes both internal and external to the club will negatively impact our future unless considered and understood as we move forward.

I saw a sign recently that stated: "People don't plan to fail, but fail to plan." This could be applicable to the club given our current trajectory. On the positive side we are nearing completion of the Club Bylaws which should be adopted soon. This will implement a better, more transparent management structure within the club. Combined with our intent to establish working committees under the direction of the Board, we hope to facilitate greater participation and distribution of engagement and responsibilities. It will be important however, to establish clear goals and objectives to guide the Board and committees. This is where the Strategic Planning process can be valuable.

Our Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 11th and this topic will be added to the agenda for discussion and action.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by David Connolly » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:20 pm

Excellent post Charles! I completely agree with what Jim mentioned above. I like how they lay out not only the process of establishing a vision but also a framework for arriving at the tactics to actually move towards that vision. We definitely have put together visions in the past and are good at the day to day tactics of running the club as we always have year over year. However, adapting what we know and what’s comfortable to thrive in the evolving world around us is an important point that I think we need to embrace.

A key take away for me is the section on “naysayers”. As an engineer, I think very tactically and am always thinking of solutions in my head when presented with new problems. Something I’ve had to overcome in both my career, and as my time as president of YSA, was developing comfort with ambiguity and pushing myself to take active steps towards a broader vision even if the specific path to get there wasn’t immediately clear.

I’ve definitely caught myself saying some of the naysayer phrases in the past and would strongly recommend that anybody reading this document really embrace the section on naysaying. Try to catch yourself thinking or saying these phrases and encourage others to do the same.

Keeping an open and positive attitude when approaching strategic (or any) discussions will allow everybody’s voice to be heard and all ideas to be thoroughly explored. I encourage everybody to approach this initiative with a positive attitude and a willingness to evolve in order to keep up with the changing world around us.

From the document, key phrases that exhibit a naysaying attitude
• “We’ve always done it this way”
• “We tried that and it didn’t work”
• “We can’t afford that so don’t even discuss it”
• “That’s not possible”
• “Half the membership will quit”
• “We’ll lose the support of ___________ “ (name an individual)
• “We don’t know how to ______________”
• “That will be the worst thing we’ve ever done”

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:56 pm

Bingo!

Excellent Dave. I'd also say that before people pat themselves on the back regarding retaining members, that they should break the general membership down into demographics and re-exam the club's performance when it comes to maintaining membership. The future of the club relies critically on a constant infusion of new blood: young and middle-aged pilots, including women. You will find that that these demographics are made up of people who are, in effect, allergic to the naysaying and what's behind it. Turning these folks into passionate, life-long glider pilots with an interest in administering, instructing and volunteering at YSA may require a whole new approach than that of only a couple decades ago.

Further to that, the club should be, as has been the objective of the marketing committee, trying to grow the membership. The marketing committee has a long list as to why this is the case.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Bruce Bishop » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:38 am

At present

Air cadets have completed their interviews for GPL applicants. In a month or so cadets and their parents are going to get the news that their cadets were not selected.
A lot of these parents would exchange money to avoid the disappointment of their child. The minimum glider is the 2 seat schwiezers.
Cadets at this level have been trained to --
be self sufficient
Basic ground school
Early starters
Respect of command
Aviation motivated
Understand rules and boundaries ... understand being sent home if not following them

A lot of these cadets are going on to leadership roles and are team (club) players.

I feel we may be overlooking an economic benifit to our club by missing this opportunity.

Just my opinion though.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:25 pm

Perhaps they should be directed to Youth Flight Canada?

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Bruce Bishop » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:31 am

Will do... wrong forum

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:57 am

Applies to strategic planning too I'd say. There needs to be a broad approach to attract and retain young through middle-aged members. Not only the club, but the sport desperately depends on it. Some clubs like Cu Nim are doing a great job while others are not. It seems quite apparent that the so called decline in the sport is not due to a lack of interest, but a failure for entrenched paradigms to be shifted by those whose preside over the sport. These themes have been discussed at length by the members of the marketing committee for a long time.

Also, the idea of looking at youth, as in cadets, primarily as a source of income, is short sighted, problematic. I like Charles' thinking with YFC. He's also on the marketing committee. They've all got fantastic ideas if anyone is interested.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Bruce Bishop » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:59 pm

I wasn't posting as a source of income but as a longer term youth potential for achievers with current club inventory of aircraft.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by James Kingdon » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:05 pm

Hi Mark, I was wondering what the main things we could change are in terms of those entrenched paradigms? But I understand if it's a subject easier tackled face to face then via keyboard :)

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Doug Carman » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:33 pm

I've been away from forum for a while. March break at OSC! Sorry Charles that you thought I was pointing in your direction. I was not, and you have been supportive of 2-33 training and safely anyway. It was someone else who was not informed. My comments there had nothing to do with strategic planning document anyway. There has been discussion of this already at BOD meeting, and sadly there is a big disconnect between strategy and tactical moves based on things that are right in front of us and need to be dealt with. The hangar floor, the camp water and hydro, and the towplanes are examples that "if we had only known....", we could have been strategic about. Now that we're deep in debt, I have suggested our strategy should focus on how to stay solvent for the next several years. Fee increases are being considered. Getting members to fly more, donate cash, or loan money at bargain rates would also help.

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Charles Petersen
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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Charles Petersen » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:21 am

Well, Doug, York Soaring is in my will. And others, I hope too. But I'm trying not to hasten the benefit of that.

If you, reading this have not thought about doing the same, please consider paying forward for the aviaiton and fellowship York has provided you. It's easy to do with just a handwritten addition witnessed and attached to your will. Your will? You do have one, don't you?
​Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight.... do not go gentle into that good night. - Dylan Thomas

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Doug Carman » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:42 am

Yes I have, and I yes I will. Pardon the pun. Unfortunately for York, I am not due for departure any time soon. Thanks again, Charles, for your efforts on behalf of York and youth in particular.

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Re: Strategic Planning

Post by Mark Lightfoot » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:54 pm

James. Looking forward to seeing you in a month or so but Eddy, Hugh and Charles can certainly entertain you with all sorts of good ideas and implementation strategies. I'm not on the marketing committee anymore. Charles has also made available good reads regarding the decline in the sport and countermeasures being used elsewhere.

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