June 14, 2006

#7 The Undiscovered Country

This is the seventh, and final blog and podcast posting in our series preparing for the weekend meeting. Shakspeare writes very interesting dialogue for Hamlet that relates to our work. The play's characters talk about the future. The image or analogy used for this concept is "The Undiscovred Country." I deeply enjoyed and found it meaningful. Click on the link at the bottom of this message and you will see some additional web resources to "The Undiscovered Country."

I enjoy this concept since it represents the journey that we are all traveling. The question that is left with everyone is the choices that one makes along the way. Maybe it is my experience as a history teacher that makes me feel optimistic about the future. Our parents and grandparents founght and won World War Two (along with lots of other countries as well). They didn't just face one enemy army, but faced the best from Germany, Italy, and Japan. Tom Brokaw collected wonderful stories from these people in his book, "The Greatest Generation." They were called that since they not only prevailed against great evil, but also came home and quietly rebult the United States into a great nation again.

Without being overly dramatic, the same opportunity awaits you and the work that you will engage in this weekend and following. The "Undiscovered Country" of the future is coming. The question is what action will you take to be proactive about leading your organization into that future. This will be an exciting time this weekend. I have a short aduio comment to play. This will be the final message before the meeting. Travel safe.

Take care,
David

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June 13, 2006

#6 Form follows Function

It is important to consider the "official documents" of an organization when engaging in strategic planning. They represent the written, historic traditions and rules of the organization. Be sure to skim through, if not bring with you, these documents, for reference and use within the meeting. As an organzation changes its "function," it is natural for its "form" to change as a result. Sometimes organizations try to change by first changing their form and then attempting to "function" differently. There is less success reported about that model of change in the professional literature. Change needs to be more organic and supported from the groud up.

See the following Wikipedia reference on the phrase, "form follows function." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_follows_function Please listen to my #6 audio comments to elaborate on this concept and also some materials to peruse in preparation for our meeting.

June 12, 2006

#5 Planning Documents from Other Groups

Along with the other ingredients to consider, I encourage you to read, or reread, the report from the Blue Ribbon Commission. http://blueribboncommission.org and also the report from the CRLA/NADE Joint Working Group http://www.nade.net/WRG/wrg.pdf My suggestion is to focus on the "strenghts" section and the "opportunities" sections of the reports. What items could be used to strengthen the association? Consider both documents as well-stocked grocercy stoes. Which individual items make sense to place in your grocery cart? Please listen to audio comments #5 regarding my suggestions concerning focus on strengths and opportunities and less about weaknesses and threats.

June 9, 2006

#4 Begin with the End in Mind

I recommend that you skim through Steven Covery's classic book, Seven Habits of Higherly Effective People. It is a favorite of mine. The principles are priceless for use in your personal life, or with planning activities for hugh corporations or organizations. Cllick on the following link for a short article that gives an overview of the book, http://www.whitedovebooks.co.uk/7-habits/7-habits.htm. This is the same article referenced in yesterday's blog posting to you when I talked about the "Time Matrix" chart found in Chapter 3 of his book. Click on the following link for the Wikipedia article about the book, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People Please click on #4 podcast message from me. I share which of the chapters I most highly recommend that you skim. Click on the play button, > to begin the short message.

June 8, 2006

#3 Stakeholder Strategic Review Matrix

One of the challenges with strategic planning is understanding how to balance the needs of current and future members or stakeholders. What services do they need? The stakeholder strategic review matrix, previously provided to you as an email attachment in an earlier message from a member of this group's planning team, is also available at the following web site. http://www.tc.umn.edu/~arend011/PLANGRID.pdf The handout from message #2 describes the use of this planning form. Please click on the #3 audio comment in the box to the right to hear my comments on how we could use this during our meeting. During my audio comments I refer to the "Time Matrix" concept by Steven Covey in the Seven Habits book. Here is a link to an article that provides a short overviw of the book. Look for chapter 3, First Things First, where the time matrix chart is provided. I will talk more about the Seven Habits book in tomorrow's podcast. http://www.whitedovebooks.co.uk/7-habits/7-habits.htm

Unless you want to listen to the previous audio clips from me, you will need to press the STOP button || or the previous messages will play. For technical reasons I can't control, all the messages are merged together. For more about the techno nerd reasons why, read my earlier post on "Quirky behavior of the audio player."

June 7, 2006

Why the quirky behavior of the audio player?

As my parents always taught me, you "get what you pay for." My nifty audio comment player is not quite perfect. But, considering that it is free, it servies its purpose. As you listen to the most recent audio clip, when it is finished it will automatically play the next earlier one, and the next one, and so on. So, press the stop button || on the audio player control panel. If you want to know more about the audio player, click on the web link below and the rest of the message will be displayed.

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#2 Four questions to consider when planning

There are many ways to approach the strategic planning process. Some are very complicated and sophisticated approaches. Others more simplified. Our discussion will probably be a mix of the two. A thread that runs throughout our time together hopefully will be addressing the following four questions. The complete handout, previously sent to you earlier by email attachment, is also available from the following web site:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~arend011/STRAP1.pdf Click on audio clip #2 for the rest of my comments.

June 6, 2006

#1 Dreaming great dreams

Greetings. It is with considerable excitement that I prepare to serve as your facilitator for the strategic planning meeting. Select message #1 and click on the play button in the podcast control box in the upper right hand column to hear a short message of one or two minutes. You may notice a picture of a person stirring a large soup pot in the right hand column. When we gather together we will be bring a variety of "ingredients" to stir in with our group conversation. Good soup needs great ingredients, patience to wait for the flavors to emerge, and a cook to continue stirring until it is ready. That is my role with the workshop. You bring the great ideas and my role is to facilitate the group in reaching its decisions. It will be an exciting weekend. -- David