“Redefine and Realign, Pivoting Through 2022 and Beyond”
By: Fatima Bustos-Choy, PhD
COFACC Director for Training & Development
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
Strategic planning is an organizational function of creating a desired future. It is not ordinary planning, nor wishful thinking. It is a purposeful and intentional process “by which the guiding members of an organization envision its future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future.” Goodstein, L. Nolan, T. Pfeiffer, J. W. Applied Strategic Planning, p.3. Key components of applied strategic planning are the three P’s: Purpose, Process, and Pay-off. The intent of this article is to share COFACC’s strategic planning process in the hope that it can serve as a guide for other Chambers or groups.
Purpose – In keeping with its Five-Year Strategic Plan, The COFACC Executive Team and Partner Chambers held their 2021 Strategic Planning Session on December 11, 2021, at the Delta at Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, California. It was a hybrid session with 30 in-person and 7 online using Zoom, for a total of 37 participants. The purpose was to gather the minds and hearts of COFACC Partners and engage everyone in the review of the organization’s progress made to date from its Five -Year SP with the theme of “Redefine and Realign” COFACC’s mission, vision, values, strategies, and goals going beyond 2022.
Process- The process had the following components:
- COFACC President, Gerry Palon formed a SP Organizing Team comprised of Gerry Palon, Ellen Samson, COFACC Foundation President, Ellen Bolus-Edmonds, COFACC Sr. Director for Organizational Development, Fidji Nicar Victoriano, COFACC Outgoing Director for Training & Development, and Dr. Fatima Bustos-Choy, COFACC Incoming Director for Training & Development. The Organizing Team planned, organized, and co-facilitated the strategic planning session as well as the year-end holiday celebration that followed.
- The Organizing Team purposefully designed the session to have high participant engagement vs. top down, lecture or information overload approach. At the beginning of the session, participants were immediately imvolved with the use of Mentimeter, an app that provided real-time survey and assessment with the participants. We asked participants questions that gave us a sense of how they were feeling, what their wants and needs were of the session, and what they needed from COFACC. The ice-breaker activity was beneficial in that it set the tone for the rest of the session: one of positivity, high energy, openness, willingness to share, and fun.
- The session was also designed to be collaborative and participative with breakout groups that engaged participants in open and honest dialogue and their discussions were documented using technology via google docs. The breakout groups identified and analyzed COFACC’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) relative to its redefining and realigning strategies going beyond 2022. The breakout groups also brainstormed objectives and actions needed for COFACC’s Key Result Areas (KRAs). Their results, presented by the group leaders, provided the foundation for COFACC’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the respective KRAs for 2022 and beyond. Given the hybrid process, facilitators ensured the inclusion and participation of everyone, most especially the on-line members. There were minor challenges with the use of technology, but overall, the hybrid process was workable.
- The session culminated with Gerry Palon’s integration piece where he pulled all the pieces of the days’ work and connected them to the purpose and theme of redefine and realign the hearts, minds, and energies of everyone to a better and greater COFACC in 2022 and beyond. To infuse more passion and action, Ellen Samson, COFACC Foundation’s President shared and led the group to an enthusiastic declaration of COFACC’s battle cry slogan – “MIH MUM” which stands for Make It Happen! Make Us Matter! MIH MUM is a wake-up call to all Fil-Ams, who comprise 4 million people in the US, that it is time to take a stand as leaders to be seen, to be heard, to be valued and to move COFACC and Fil-Am agendas forward with confidence and conviction. MIH MUM is a fitting capstone for the year ahead.
- Post strategic planning session involves the review, reflection, and evaluation of the strategic session outcomes, translate, and integrate them into the organization’s KRA and KPIs Implementation Plan for 2022 and going forward. This will now serve as a roadmap for the journey ahead.
Why do strategic planning? I found this excerpt quoted in a strategic planning book insightful.
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know where I’m going.!
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go!
Lewis Carroll, 1872. Through the Looking Glass
Goodstein, L. Nolan, T. Pfeiffer, J. W.
Applied Strategic Planning, p.1
Organizations like COFACC are formed and organized for a specific and worthy cause which is the foundation for the organization’s mission and vision. How do organizations best fulfill their missions and achieve their visions? There are many ways. However, one vital top management job is Strategic Planning. Strategic Planning, which is of a higher level and a more comprehensive leadership function than daily planning, provides a framework for actions and decisions today that greatly impacts near and long-term future of the organization. Strategic Planning can unleash the energy of the organization toward a shared vision and a shared belief that the vision can be fulfilled. Strategic Planning SWOT analysis helps the organization to better understand itself in terms of its strengths and limitations, better understand the environment in which it operates, and to adapt and manage proactively. Strategic Planning at least at an annual basis, provides the opportunity for the organization to review and reflect on its progress, and redefine and realign as needed to the changing needs of its constituents and the environment. Finally at the heart of strategic planning is opening the hearts and minds of all participants concerned toward co-creating a desired and sustainable future.
In summary, today’s unprecedented political, economic, social, and technological environments pose unprecedented challenges to individuals and organizations alike. We need something to guide us, to steady us, and keep us going on the right path. Strategic Planning can be the GPS during these times.