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MLA Communities: What Are Our Guiding Principles? We Need Your Input!

The MLA Communities Strategic Goal Task Force has been working on our charge (see Strengthening Our Communities: A Solid Foundation by Teresa L. Knott, AHIP) since August 2016, specifically focusing on the first two parts of our charge: “Strengthen MLA’s member communities (Sections and SIGs) by analyzing and recommending changes in the areas of community architecture and roles,[and] member leadership development...” As we began discussing all the possibilities of what MLA could be doing or could improve, we realized there wasn’t an overarching set of common ideas of what MLA communities are supposed to be and do.

Enter the DRAFT Guiding Principles.

Guiding principles are “Any principles or precepts that guide an organization throughout its life in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or the top management.” (from Business Dictionary). Each task force member was asked for four to five short sentences that would encompass those bigger principles that define MLA communities. Together, we created a DRAFT of Guiding Principles for an effective MLA community organization (sections and SIGs). The linked draft has more detail, but the bigger principles are:

  • Communities provide valuable home to their members.
  • Communities are organized to embody the MLA mission.
  • Community is organized efficiently.
  • Communities are judicious in their use of limited resources.
  • Communities are organized to retain existing members and attract new ones.

Did I mention, it's a draft?

At MLA ’17, the task force will be discussing the principles with various groups, including Section Council. We would like to invite any interested MLA members to an open discussion during our taskforce meeting time on Wednesday, May 31, 7:30 a.m.–8:55 a.m., room 602. Please come having read the draft principles as we would like your feedback on the draft and the question, “What are the bigger principles that define MLA communities?” After we have captured your input, we will also outline next steps for the task force and when we expect to be completed with our work (hint: ahead of schedule hopefully).

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