Change for the Better

by David Lee

In an environment of exponential change — especially in the field of technology — every organization faces daunting questions of how it will adapt to add value for its constituents and community. 

With this in mind, the Arizona Technology Council continuously reviews and tests its value proposition. To assist with the latest analysis, the Council has enlisted myself, David Lee of MSS Business Transformation, and Doug Reid of Douglas Reid and Associates to conduct a holistic strategic review of the organization, its purpose, its vision and the value it delivers to its members, as well as to facilitate a refresh of the strategic plan. 

The strategic process consists of Stage One, a discovery stage to research foundational strategic elements and lay the groundwork for strategic planning, and Stage Two, a facilitated strategic planning session. With the first stage nearly complete, the Council at press time was preparing for the second stage in late November. 

As important as it is to review and refresh the organization’s strategy, it is equally important the process be inclusive. Participation by members, staff, the board of directors and other key stakeholders ensures all groups have input to, are aware of and are ultimately onboard with the resulting strategy. To that end, Stage One included one-on-one interviews, a member survey and regular reviews with a steering committee and the board of directors. Stage Two also will include members of each of these groups. 

A major part of Stage One is to ensure the organization and its constituents have a shared understanding of the Council’s purpose, mission, vision and value. One area shown to be quite evident is the value that the Council delivers to its members. The statistically valid member survey revealed all member groups, personas and segments identified with very little variation that the same four value points are highly important:

  • Providing access to people of influence in the Arizona technology community
  • Connecting people who will value members’ services or products
  • Creating opportunities for professional development
  • Providing the technology community with a voice to government and regulators

While the survey does not reveal how these value points are best delivered to each of the member groups, personas or segments, this kind of clarity provides a solid foundation for the second stage of the planning. 

At the same time, the research from the survey and interviews provides an opportunity to refresh the foundational strategic elements of purpose, mission and vision. Every organization should do this periodically because changes such as addition of new team members tends to cause a natural drift. 

A reset toward a shared understanding becomes especially important to guarantee a cohesive strategic planning process in Stage Two. To that end, Reid and I facilitated sessions with the Council leadership, staff and the executive board throughout October to define, refine and bring clarity to each of these elements. 

A summary of findings from the interviews, surveys and facilitated sessions will be shared with participants in the weeks leading up Stage Two. By being transparent with the participants, the Council will be better prepared to identify key strategic initiatives that will be executed in 2019 and prepare the organization to meet the needs of its membership in the future. 

David Lee is executive director of MSS Business Transformation.

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