As the Association celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s a poignant time to reflect on past achievements and look forward to building on those successes in the future. The last business strategy was set out in 2016 and focused on supporting members to become industry leaders, promoting the industry in both public awareness and career choices, and inspiring everyone to achieve the highest standards.
The Association has fulfilled many of the ambitions set out in 2016. The National Landscape Awards have gone from strength to strength, highlighting the quality and creativity of our members. The ‘GoLandscape’ careers' initiative has begun to deliver results in developing future landscape professionals and business leaders. BALI has lobbied on behalf of members, raising awareness of the industry’s issues and challenges, most recently in relation to the use of red diesel. And membership has grown, now encompassing representatives of all aspects of the landscaping industry. The board wishes to thank every individual, company and organisation that has supported BALI to make it the Association it is today.
But as we all know, time doesn’t stand still, and nor can we. Over the winter, the board of directors has been working on the strategy that will see the Association through the next three years. Chief Executive, Wayne Grills, led the process, starting with a review of our vision, mission and values.
“These are the statements that underpin our business,” he said. “It’s important to make sure they reflect the organisation we are and the ambitions we have. A strong set of statements will keep us focused on the end game and help sense-check the decisions that affect our future.”
For clarity, the board agreed up front to use the following definitions:
- Our vision is our long-term ambition, what we want to become
- Our mission is about what we do, who we serve and how we serve them
- Our values are the way we behave.
Starting with the vision, the board recognised that whilst membership is growing strongly, it is not the only association serving this industry, and many members belong to more than one association. It was generally agreed, however, that BALI has the most stringent accreditation process, the strongest reputation and a greater ability to provide opportunities for members. The board felt that in the long-term, BALI membership – and the accreditation that goes with it – can become a key business tool for everyone working in this industry. The new vision was created to reflect that ambition:
To become the essential accreditation partner for all landscaping professionals.
This lofty ambition will only be achievable if the Association is truly valued by its members and the wider industry. The board set out the new mission to encompass everything BALI already does but brought into sharper focus so that it can be measured against in the future:
We represent, support and accredit the landscape industry, providing training, professional advice and opportunity to members, and quality assurance to their clients.
Finally, the board reviewed the Association’s values to make sure they reflect these ambitions and are relevant to both colleagues and members. Wayne explains,
“We want everybody that works with and for BALI to recognise these values and behaviours in their interactions with us. We developed them around four key themes and expanded each into a set of behaviours to help everyone represent the Association we aspire to be.”
- Support endeavour
- We help people to identify and achieve their ambitions
- We invest time and resources in developing skills
- We collaborate and share knowledge for mutual benefit
- Encourage innovation
- We look for better ways of doing things in every area of our business
- We nurture creative thinking and entrepreneurial behaviour
- We encourage and reward new ideas, wherever they come from
- Celebrate excellence
- We set and uphold high standards for ourselves and others
- We use our expertise to add value
- We recognise and reward high performance
- Demonstrate leadership
- We anticipate and react to the needs of others
- We take a long-term view, working toward a common goal
- We promote ethical, environmental and commercial sustainability
The new strategy was developed by first considering the Association’s stakeholders, starting with the industry and the membership, but also considering those clients who rely on members for their landscaping needs and the colleagues in BALI who are tasked with delivering the strategy.
The board focused on identifying an overarching goal for each stakeholder group, presented as a ‘strategic imperative’ that reflected the Association’s ambition.
1. The first imperative is to lead the industry. This means setting the standards that the whole industry aspires to and upholding those standards through regular accreditation. It means engaging with government on the issues that affect members’ businesses and livelihoods. It also means collaborating with other associations and organisations to help the industry overcome its challenges. Finally, the board discussed the difficulties of attracting new recruits and agreed to renew its focus on promoting landscaping as a career opportunity and addressing the known skills shortage through.
2. The second strategic imperative is to build the membership base.
Wayne recognises that BALI would not exist without its members, saying:
“We are grateful for the continued loyalty and support of so many landscaping professionals and businesses. A key part of the new strategy focuses on delivering the right experience to members so that we can continue to grow. That means tailoring our offer so that membership benefits are relevant for different types of businesses. We know, for example, that some smaller organisations really value the business support we offer, such as our HR advice service, whilst larger members tend to be more interested in other aspects.”
3. The third strategic imperative is to be relevant to end-clients. The board felt that promoting the importance of using an accredited landscaping professional would not only help members grow their businesses, but also establish BALI as an arbiter of quality.
4. The final strategic imperative is to future proof the organisation. The Association has changed a lot over the last few years and the board wanted to recognise and help meet the demands that are being made on the organisation. The strategy includes major investment in the key areas of policy, education and marketing, as well as in systems and processes to help the Association work more efficiently. Other elements of future proofing include culture development to reflect the new values and strategic plans for ethical, environmental and commercial sustainability.