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Client Story: POABC partners with SME Strategy on a mission to help British Columbians regain mobility

By Jason Heckl - September 13, 2021

The Prosthetic and Orthotics Association of British Columbia (POABC) has been the provincial association for British Columbia since 1974. The group is made up of those working with patients directly, medical facility owners and those who fabricate the equipment. 

POABC's aim is to improve people's functional independence in everyday life, whether they're disabled, recovering from injury, or just looking to regain some mobility.

They do that by providing prosthetic and orthotic devices, and improving their patients access to care.

In the spring of this year, POABC was chosen as one of five organizations accepted into SME Strategy's Nonprofit Program, as a part of our ongoing giving back initiative. Our team at SME Strategy worked with POABC and helped them create their 3-year strategic plan in order to foster strategic alignment, get everyone on the same page, and move them towards their one destination.

Soon after the fifth and final session, after their strategic plan had been completed, I met with Andrew Hoy - the VP of the Board and VP of the Finance Committee. 

Together we reflected on our five strategic planning sessions together, some of the big takeaways, the experience of virtual strategy sessions, what he learned about his team, and more.

One of the challenges going into the strategic planning process was the existence of two professions (prosthetics and orthotics) in the same Association. They're both quite similar - students must study both, and they share the same national regulating body. 

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Andrew told me that because each profession has their own initiatives, things can become problematic when the Association puts too much focus on one initiative or another. In the past, membership has gotten upset about the sometimes lopsided focus of the Association.

In response to this challenge, Andrew told me "this strategic planning process has been helpful". He said it was useful because the facilitator "seemed to have a really clear focus on making things manageable and having clear goals", something he expressed as especially important for such a small group like theirs. Instead of having both professions within POABC pointed in different directions, the strategic planning process helped them create one shared destination that members of both professions could share. Once the destination was determined, then it was just a matter of figuring out who needed to do what to help them get to that place.


"We did a previous strategic plan that ended up giving us 18 areas of focus  .. this one gave us 3"


Andrew and I also talked about the experience of doing strategic planning fully virtually. "For the most part, there were more pros than cons", Andrew told me about the virtual planning process. He explained how because they're so spread out across the large province of BC, with so few people in one place at one time, "doing it online made it much easier to find people to be involved". On top of that, Andrew and his team enjoyed the fact that the process took less time, since they weren't having to travel anywhere.

We discussed how with any virtual meeting, it can be difficult to stay engaged and stay focused, depending on how it's going. Andrew told me how SME Strategy's facilitator addressed this challenge by "being deliberate in calling out individual people, which made it so everyone had an equal say". He went on to tell me that in the past, because the Association is small with a range of experience, "it's historically been the older guys that do most of most of the talking while the new guys didn't really say much". But with this strategic planning process, he felt that the facilitator's style "allowed everyone to be involved". 


".. everyone had an equal say"


I was also curious what Andrew had learned about his team, if anything, after more than 15 hours of time spent together, dedicated to strategy over the past couple months. He told me that because the sessions were facilitated in a style that encouraged everyone to speak, "you find that some of these people have really good ideas". He felt that if the process was done without a facilitator, "a lot of people would be less likely to speak up".


To learn more about POABC, find a clinic, or get in contact with someone, head over to their website: poabc.ca or check them out on Facebook.

To learn more about our strategic planning and facilitation services and how we can work with your organization to develop alignment around One Destination: Strategic Planning Facilitation and Implementation.



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