In the process of conducting strategic corporate research, we spend an extensive amount of time learning about the strengths and weaknesses of an employer. Before launching a strategic campaign, it is important that we shine the same light on ourselves. Conducting a strategic campaign is a major undertaking and it is imperative that we assess our own capacity with the same critical eye we would use when evaluating any employer.
There are a number of methods for evaluating unions under the general rubric of strategic planning. The general framework we have applied to firms – exploring command and control, operations, and outside stakeholders – works well to evaluate union capacity.
Our Assessing Union Capacity Chart (click on thumbnail above) is an adaptation of the 24 question model, indicating the areas where union assessment should take place. To gather the information necessary for this assessment we have developed a Union Capacity Assessment Survey Here are some things you should keep in mind when conducting this assessment:
- Assessment is a collective activity
It is best to assemble a group of officers, staff, and members to complete this assessment. Multiple perspectives are essential in order to conduct an honest and open assessment.
- Assessment is not criticism
The process of conducting an assessment is not an inventory of failures. During this process, avoid placing pejorative judgments on your findings by using a more neutral vocabulary of assessment.
- Note areas of disagreement or areas for further investigation
There may be areas where those assembled have different evaluations. These should be noted. While this is primarily not a research exercise, you may also identify areas where you need to gather additional information.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis
Use the information you have gathered as part of the assessment to conduct a SWOT analysis (SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). But remember that the SWOT analysis is only an assessment at one point in time and provides information you can use to institute changes.
- Create a summary report
At the conclusion of the assessment, it is important to create a summary document. This process of summarization is important in order to establish an overall picture of your union and to indicate areas where you need to make changes.