Strategic Planning

It is important to understand the difference between an "operational plan" and a "strategic plan".  For the purpose of this discussion, goals are for 3-5 years and objectives for for the current year.  Initiatives/tasks are smaller work units within the year to achieve a specific objective; each annual objective is planned to contribute to achieving a specific long range goal.  

1. The strategic plan is about setting a direction for the chapter, developing a vision/mission and long range goals and identifying a range of strategies to pursue so that the chapter might achieve its goals. The strategic plan is a general guide for the management of the chapter according to the priorities and goals of of its leadership and membership. The strategic plan DOES NOT stipulate the day-to-day tasks and activities involved in running the organisation.

2. On the other hand the Operational/Operating Plan DOES present detailed information specifically to direct people to perform the day-to-day tasks required in the running the chapter. Chapter leadership should frequently refer to the operational plan in carrying out their everyday work. The Operational Plan provides the what, who, when and how much:

  • what - the yearly objective and tasks that must be undertaken​ to achieve the goals of the strategic plan.
    • ​To ensure the chapter members' interests are understood, it is recommended that a survey be conducted of all members early in the 4th quarter to provide valuable insight for planning the following year. ​​
  • who - the persons who have responsibility of each of the initiatives/tasks to achieve each annual objective
  • when - the timelines in which initiatives/tasks must be completed
  • how much - the amount of financial resources provided to complete each initiative/task

INCOSE Policy  CHP-100 Chapters states that "for a Chapter's governing body, each Chapter shall have a President, President-Elect (or Vice/Deputy President), Secretary and Treasurer, and such officers as the Bylaws of the Chapter may require."

​The difference between and operational and strategic plans:

Strategic PlanOperational Plan

A general guide for the long term management of the chapter

A specific plan for the use of the organisation's resources in pursuit of the strategic plan

Suggests strategies to be employed in pursuit of the chapter's goals

Details annual objectives with  specific activities and events (initiatives/tasks) to be undertaken to implement goals in the strategic plan

Is a plan for the pursuit of the chapter mission in the longer term (3 - 5 years)

Is a plan for the day-to-day management of the chapter (one year time frame)

A strategic plan defines then framework for chapter leadership to formulate an annual operational plan

An operational plan should be formulated to achieve goals in the strategic plan

The strategic plan, once formulated, tends not to significantly change every year

Operational plans may significantly differ from year to year as objectives are defined and met toward achieving the longer term goals

The development of the strategic plan is a shared responsibility involving  all the chapter leadership

The operational plan is produced by the officers and directors of the chapter who then lead the implementation

Click HERE for an overview of Operational Plans with a template and examples.

Strategic Plans include Mission, Vision, and Goals (Don is working on this)


All chapter policies and procedures should recognize and adhere to the INCOSE policies and procedures. 
Local Operating Plans should reference chapter policies and procedure.

The policy page on the INCOSE web site is included in the following link:

INCOSE Policies​

Other roles many cha​pters find helpful, (sometimes combined)

  • Programs (chapter meetings, events)
  • Development or Training (tutorials)
  • Technical Director
  • Membership (ambassadors, recruiting, retention)
  • Communications (newsletter, website)
  • Ad hoc committees, e.g. for elections and governance updates
  • Liaison with CAB and other companies
  • Additional Directors



EXAMPLE: This link shows an example of how the LA Chapter is organized with elected and appointed volunteers.

Click here to see the LA Organization.​

Chapter President Checklist​


​Benefits of serving on the Chapter Leadership Team:

  • Serving on the Chapter Leadership Team is a privilege as well as a responsibility
  • Your chapter's success will be directly related to your commitment and teamwork
  • Chapter leadership provides valuable “real world" developmental experience, superior in many ways to a business degree, and perhaps earlier than opportunities in your company. 
  • Chapter leadership provides opportunities to enhance and accelerate your career



The Elections process should start with the solicitation of interest from chapter members by posting a notice with job descriptions, and having an open discussion of the roles in a couple of chapter meetings two or three months before the election. Normally chapter officers take office in January.  Therefore the formal solicitation should be in July/August with the actual election in October so that new officers are identified by the end of October.  This allows time to conduct training before the end of the year.  Officer installation could be at the December meeting which is sometimes a social event, but no later than early January. 

​ Elections should be announced in advance and voting kept open for at least 30 days with periodic reminders.
The announcement needs to have a brief summary of each office and perhaps what each wants to accomplish in their office to help voters decide.
Even if positions run unopposed, voting should be encouraged to motivate the officers by a show of support.

Voting Procedure: Although various tools can be used to conduct the voting, INCOSE recommends using eBallot/VoteNet which is being paid for chapter use​.   A 20 minute video explaining how to use eBallot/VoteNet can be accessed at The password is 200Centric. 
Be sure to save the details of the election for at least a year. 
Publish the results (who was elected) at the end of the balloting period including a notice send in a newsletter/bulletin, and on your website. 

Note that you need to allow at least one week for VoteNet to upload your voter list. 

Conducting Board Meetings

​The chapter president is responsible for presiding over monthly board meetings for the chapter. Roberts Rules of Order is used by the president to facilitate these meetings.


​​​Roberts Rules of Order Highlights

  • ​​PROCEDURE FOR HANDLING A MAIN MOTION (NOTE:  Nothing goes to discussion without a motion being on the floor.)
    • ​Obtaining and assigning the floor​ 
​ A member raises hand when no one else has the floor  ​
• The chair recognizes the member by name ​
    • How the Motion is Brought Before the Assembly 
  1. • The member makes the motion: I move that (or "to") ... and resumes his seat. 
  2. • Another member seconds the motion: I second the motion or I second it or second. 
  3. • The chair states the motion: It is moved and seconded that ... Are you ready for the question? 
    • ​​​​​ Consideration of the Motion 
1. Members can debate the motion.  
2. Before speaking in debate, members obtain the floor. 
3. The maker of the motion has first right to the floor if he claims it properly 
4. Debate must be confined to the merits of the motion.  
5. Debate can be closed only by order of the assembly (2/3 vote) or by the chair if no one seeks the floor for further debate.  
    •  The chair puts the motion to a vote 
1. The chair asks: Are you ready for the question? If no one rises to claim the floor, the chair proceeds to take the vote.  
2. The chair says: The question is on the adoption of the motion that ... As many as are in favor, say ‘Aye’. (Pause for response.) Those opposed, say 'Nay'. (Pause for response.)   Those abstained please say ‘Aye’. 
    • The chair announces the result of the vote. 
1. The ayes have it, the motion carries, and ... (indicating the effect of the vote) or 
2. The nays have it and the motion fails  
    • When debating your motions 
1. Listen to the other side 
2. Focus on issues, not personalities 
3. Avoid questioning motives 

4. Be polite 

Chapter Leader Directories

(is there a new one?)

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