Opportunity  |  In order to evolve and grow profitably to effectively to meet the needs of its members the world’s largest membership association for corporate counsel needed a new strategic plan. The new CEO and Board of Directors realized that traditional commercial approaches to strategic planning would not be effective, given the organization’s unique market-leading position.  So they needed to approach the development planning process with something unique and tailored to the needs of the organization.

Approach  |  Rather than applying traditional outside-in strategic planning approaches (e.g. relying on external scans and competitor analyses), the Axiom team employed an inside-out approach that:

  • Identified the key drivers of value to re-focus the organization on the capabilities, activities, and processes that contribute most to mission attainment.
  • Mapped the perspectives of various stakeholder groups (board, chapter leaders, members) regarding the importance and effectiveness of these key drivers of value to uncover areas of misalignment.
  • Gathered extensive stakeholder feedback on strategic priorities by convening a member advisory committee and conducting an online survey, focus groups, and interviews.
  • Developed a new strategic plan with three strategic themes, supported by specific implementation approaches and activities, that describe what the organization must do over the next five years to attain its mission and vision.


  • With a better understanding of the needs of members and how they vary across different constituencies, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the new strategic plan.
  • Annual operating objectives in support of the strategic plan and a structured process to measure and report on progress have created greater focus and discipline among leaders and staff.
  • The organization has seen high levels of member engagement and support for the new plan because members trust the organization is taking their needs into consideration.


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