Getting strategic

I’ve been gradually working on understanding and refining the strategies the ATBA-UK uses in it’s various functions and am at a stage now where I can begin to document them properly. The aim is to produce written strategy documents for Business, Events, Marketing, Membership, and Standards. These documents will all work together to form the overall strategy that the ATBA-UK follows in its work and provide some business sustainability for when the current committee members move on and are replaced by other volunteers. Having what we’ve done, how we did it, and why, written down to pass on means any future committee should be able to continue without all the difficulties we faced when we took over.

Although I been adding to each of the strategies for a while, it’s only recently that I’ve been working on the Membership Strategy that I’ve found a format that seems to work. Each document is split into two sections; Strategy and Workflow. The strategy contains an Introduction to the strategy, the Aim and Objectives for the function, its Goals, Critical Success Factors, Implementation, Measures and Future Developments. The Workflow contains all the information a person would need to take over a function like Membership and run it. It breaks down how the systems are set up, what the person managing the function needs to do, and what schedule they should work to.

These documents will change as part of an ongoing process of reviewing and updating our procedures, but by the end of the process we should be able to produce ‘A Guide To Running The ATBA-UK’ which will become a very useful resource for guiding the current and future committee.

Four years with the ATBA-UK

I recently sent the 48th email newsletter. Forty eight emails, one a month for four years. Four years of working for the ATBA-UK. Four years of getting more and more involved, developing better understanding of the ATBA-UK as a business, understanding the ATBA-UK as a community-building organisation, and working on strategies that will achieve the ATBA-UK’s mission of supporting the growth of mountainboarding in the UK.

So, what’s next? Another four years? Yeah, I hope so. My personal mission is to achieve Sport England recognition for mountainboarding and get the ATBA-UK set up to run as a sustainable business with all its strategies, policies and procedures in place and well documented. If that takes another five or ten years, then that’s fine by me.

Just another day in the office

When someone asks me what I do for the ATBA-UK I always have trouble explaining myself. I do quite a few different things, even in an average week.

Discussed downhill comps with committee members.

Analysed the results of a riders survey to help inform the ATBA-UK’s decision-making process.

Wrote up my notes from the AGM.

Worked on the ATBA-UK’s Marketing Strategy and Plan for 2014 so that we have a coordinated and structured means of communicating with the riders and encouraging them to go to the competitions.

Started a calender for organising event dates for 2014 so centres don’t clash weekends.

Discussed with committee members alternative ways of selling raffle tickets for the snowboarding holiday that Pleisure donates to the ATBA-UK, so we can make more money next year.

Blogged my realisation about how I see the AGM differently to some other people, and what I can do about it.

Wrote a reference for someone who does volunteer work with the ATBA-UK to help their application to college.

Went to library to do some market research for an idea I have that would help the ATBA-UK market mountainboarding more effectively.

Discussed next years Downhill comps with committee members.

Spoke to an Accident Insurance company about providing accident and injury cover for ATBA-UK members at a discounted rate.

Organised some Instructor Training for a Regional Representative.

Added Regional Representatives to the Ride Guide Maps so they can keep their regions maps up to date.

Read some information about funding for sports organisations.

Created some auto-responder emails for Regional Representatives.

Updated company information on the Companies House website.

Applied for funding to pay for Regional Rep’s to do First Aid Training.

Updated Membership letters for 2014 Membership Packages.

Designed Entry Form for 2014 Uk Mountainboard Series.

Emailed someone who is interested in having a mountainboard lesson.

More Nompas can only be a good thing

More people are starting to become interested in Nompa’s and set about building them. Since my discussion with Constantin, Dale has started building his Nompa (and a fine looking beast it is too), and even long-time noSno rider Dave McBean has been considering it.

All this Nompa activity is inspiring me to make another one. I think it would be more Downhill orientated, perhaps to take the place of Fatman. I think I would use a 15 degree deck again and trim it to be able to take my noSno brakes, and have some good twist in the middle. It would be a bit longer than my current Nompa (which to be fair is shorter than most kids boards) and probably have a bit more ground clearance than Dale’s just because of the nose and tail angle, which will give it less steering. I think, for shaping, I might go with a nicely rounded, longboard-style, deck shape.

I’ve even thought about starting a website about Nompa’s, although as Dale pointed out, there would only be five of us who would look at it. That might be a bit too ultra-niche to put the time and effort into it. I still think that all the knowledge we are generating from building Nompa’s should be recorded, even down the details of lengths of noSno wheel bolts, but maybe it doesn’t need it’s own website. Maybe I’ll just spend some time measuring and recording as many details about things like hub width and binding positions and put it all on this blog.

I guess we’ll see if I get time to do anything.

Burma Road

Rode the Burma Road by moonlight. One of those once in a lifetime beautiful spiritual experiences that make mountainboarding such an important part of my life.

Using Facebook as an organiser

Facebook is the second most visited website on the internet with 700,000,000 people using it every month. Personally, I’m probably on Facebook more than I’m not, so I wondered if there was an effective way to use Facebook as a bit of a To Do List / Project Management Tool / Life Organiser. I’ve used lots of different To Do List and Project Management Apps in the past, some really good, most that didn’t quite do what I needed. I didn’t expect Facebook to work particularly well for this purpose but I thought that as I use it so much already it makes a certain amount of sense to give it a try.

Create a group

I started by creating a Group and giving it a name. I called mine ‘Life’. Even if you want to be the only person who sees this group you’ll still need to add a second person in order to create the group but you can remove them later like I did if you want. Of course, you might want to use it as a way to organise what your family is doing, or a group of friends or colleagues, in which case add whoever you want. Then select Secret so no one outside those you have invited can find your group.

Creating Events

Events are probably the main use of your group. If you are the only person in your group then Events are the best way to keep track of what’s going on in your life so you don’t forget that important hair appointment.

Creating them is easy, just go to the Events tab and click Create event.

Give your event a name and date, and whatever other information you want to add. If you want to invite all the members of the group, tick the corresponding box, if not you can add members after the event has been created.

Then go back to your events list to see all the events listed in chronological order with the next event at the top. All members of the group can add events, and their profile picture is displayed next to the event. It’s easy to see what everyone in the group/family/team/whatever is doing and when they are doing it.

Adding Documents

Groups are also able to create, and upload and store documents.  If a document relates to an event I paste a link to the document in the event posts to make it easy to find. If I want to create a to do list for a particular project, I create a document, title it something like ‘To Do – Project name’, and write a list of all the things I need to do.

The good thing about these created documents it that they are editable and so easy to keep up to date. And the Documents section of your group is a easy to access place to keep a copy of files you might need later.

Documents can also be added by email. Just attach the document and send it to your group email address.

Set up email address

We can use standard posts to the group as reminders or notes, and to make them as easy to add as possible we’re going to set up an email address so that we can create posts simply by sending an email.

Go into the Group Settings (little spiky wheel ) and then Edit Group Settings. Click on Set Up Group Address:

And then select the group name for the email address (it needs to be at least five characters long):

Click Set Address, give it a couple of minutes and then send a test email. It’ll show as a post in the group and any attached files will be listed in the Documents section.

Add to Favourites

Make your group easier to find by adding it to your Favourites. It reminds you to use it and check it regularly. Just click on the spiky wheel to drop the setting menu and click Add to favourites.

Clicking on the link to your Group takes you to the first section of your group which lists all your recent activity and makes it easy to see what is current.

So, does a Facebook Group work as a life organising tool? Well, actually it does pretty well. It has a few shortcomings, such as not being able to sort or search Documents, but it has some benefits too, such as when viewing all your events in Facebook, your group events will show up with all the public events and birthdays, making it easy to see if you have any clashes, or need to post a reminder to yourself to prepare for an upcoming event. It works for me, so I think I’ll be continuing to use it.