Six-month checkups are common in healthcare. They work to prevent disease and analyze progress. Associations can benefit from a similar six-month checkup.

Kaizen Process

At the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors (CCAR), the board decided to focus on accountability and advancement of the strategic plan we drafted every few years.

The strategy used to formulate the plan is modeled after the Japanese concept of Kaizen, meaning “continuous improvement.”

It allows us on a continual basis to build on what’s working, change what’s not and make continuous improvements in our daily operations. The change is small and painless, which allows membership to adjust to the change with us.

It is much like navigating a ship. Small adjustments in navigation will change the course; not all at once, but over time, preparing you to arrive at the desired destination.

We start the year at a retreat for the directors, committee chairs and vice chairs to set the sails toward our goals. The three-year strategy is established, business plan written, tactics identified, and committees aligned.

At the six-month point, the team reconvenes to review accomplishments and discuss what remains for the year. The half-year meeting allows committees to shine and demonstrate how their efforts played into the association’s mission.

Halfway through the officers’ terms is ideal for making sure we are fulfilling what is in the strategic plan. More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to shift course based on market conditions and environmental influences.

The discussion helped our team celebrate achievements and craft a revised plan for the remainder of the year. According to our president-elect, “The review of the strategic plan was critical to evaluate works-in-progress, make forward-thinking suggestions and recognize our accomplishments.”


Most associations offer a comprehensive orientation annually and rely on a multi-year strategic plan. It includes presentations and discussions, a leadership manual, board playbook or access to a board portal.

It is possible the association overview and information are overwhelming for a one-time training. Governance is a serious topic. New directors may not know what to ask. After a couple of board meetings, information is forgotten, behaviors set in.

Updates and course corrections should be made for the second half of the year like the CCAR process. Schedule a time to discuss topics such as these:

Strategic Plan — We have six months left in the year. Will we achieve that you expect to accomplish? Are there course corrections to be made in the plan?

Meeting Outcomes — Are there ways we can improve the board and committee meetings; is the meeting agenda process and format effective? What can be improved?

Performance Measures — Are the performance metrics than the start of year? Do the numbers reflect the good work of board, committees and staff?

Finances — Is the budget on track regarding income and expenses? Do adjustments need to be made?

Committees — Are the committees achieving intended results? Do committees align with the mission and goals in the strategic plan? Will they remain strong in the second half of the year?

Leadership Transition — Have we identified future leaders for a seamless transition?

Allocating a few hours at the midway point to check progress and make course corrections is a smart Kaizen practice.