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Action Is the Secret Sauce


Most strategic plans collapse in the execution phase. Effective plans have a clear process for action, which includes the following steps:

  1. Identify the critical few high-priority areas of actions
  2. Create strategic goals
  3. Develop broad strategies for each strategic goal
  4. Build action plans with precise objectives, each with clear ownership, timelines and measures for success

Traditionally, MLA built its strategic plan with a framework that matched its program offerings and the structure of its vision statement:

  1. Recruitment, Membership, and Leadership in the Profession
  2. Lifelong Learning
  3. Advocacy
  4. Knowledge Creation and Communication
  5. Partnerships

This approach tended to maintain the status quo or produce incremental change. The unintended consequence was to create silos between each program and functional area, and the resulting plan was MLA-centric rather than YOU-centric. 

In our new plan, we are focusing on just four high-priority areas of action. Each strategic goal has impacts that reach across all programs. For example, goal #2, “New Professionals: better serve individuals entering our profession, whether freshly out of school or transitioning from other fields of expertise," will include strategies in all five of the programmatic areas listed above, in a cohesive and aligned approach.

So how did the MLA Board choose its priorities? It focused on issues that are critical and require the board’s attention, focus, and action, because those issues have a significant and meaningful impact on MLA’s ability to realize its vision.

These goals zero in on what we need to do to transform MLA now, in addition to running our existing programs effectively. As we accomplish our goals over the next one to three years, or as soon as a goal no longer requires the board’s attention, new areas of action will be rolled in, so the strategic plan is always focused on the facets of change that are most relevant today.

No doubt you have a few ideas on what future areas of action should be, and we’ll be listening.

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