Why the Academy Needs to Know Where the Goalposts Are
We are on a journey to update our strategic plan for the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. In many respects, this process is about setting goals to build our collective future together.
“In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.”
– Arnold H. Glasgow
We are on a journey to update our strategic plan for the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. In many respects, this process is about setting goals to build our collective future together. While the specific details of the updated strategic plan are forthcoming, I thought it might be interesting to reflect upon why strategic planning matters. First, the Academy’s mission, vision, and core values are important parts of the strategic plan. Our mission statement is really our core purpose—it is why we exist. Our core values can be considered our true north. It is a set of beliefs that inform how we do what we do. Our vision is where we are going as an organization. It is planning with a lens for a 10-year or greater horizon. Our vision is that we will be “The global leader in optimizing quality ear, nose, and throat patient care.” Strategic planning is really about setting goals and objectives, typically on a three-to-five-year horizon. Why it is important?
“When your headlights aren’t on, the best rearview mirror available isn’t likely to improve your driving.”
– Martha Rogers
A strategic plan is not fixed. It is a living, breathing document that will be adapted as necessary to reflect the needs of our organization. A strategic plan is not siloed. Although the plan will have distinct goals, the strategies and tactics will be cross-functional to flex within our highly collaborative environment and our complementary mission areas. A strategic plan is not risk-free. We need to have new ideas as an organization that will stretch us and take us outside of our comfort zone. Goals are the outcomes we seek to achieve, whereas objectives are the direction we seek to move as an organization. Focus is critically important in any strategic planning journey. For example, we, as an organization, could not likely focus on 20+ goals. We would lack focus and would not likely achieve the outcomes we desire.
In strategic planning, the process matters. We have pursued robust community engagement from diverse stakeholders. As we move forward, we will continue to engage you, our members, in the process. Curiously, the world around us is changing rapidly. There are many key drivers of change in the external environment. To name a few, the pandemic has transformed the use of telehealth. The pandemic has shone a light on health disparities. Virtual platforms for education, interaction, and infrastructure are now commonplace. Practices are consolidating and the business of the practice of medicine has never been more important. We have likely seen more transformation in the past 12 months than the prior five to ten years. All of these external factors are important to consider in our strategic planning journey. We, as an organization, must be nimble and adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
I am really excited about where we are going as an organization. I am very grateful for you, our members, our committees, our Academy staff, and our leadership team. We are extraordinarily well positioned for a very bright future together. I look forward to working with all of you to realize our vision.