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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
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DANIEL H. ANNA, PhD, CIH, CSP, is president of AIHA and senior industrial hygienist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He can be reached at (240) 228-1980 or dan.anna@jhuapl.edu.
The Process behind the Plan
BY DANIEL H. ANNA, AIHA PRESIDENT
The AIHA Board reviews, and updates as needed, AIHA’s strategic direction every three to five years. AIHA’s current strategic plan was developed to provide strategic direction for the organization from 2010 through 2015. Strategic planning is an organization’s process of envisioning a desired future, defining its direction, and translating that vision into goals and a sequence of steps to achieve them. That is a great textbook definition, but the end product is much easier to appreciate than the actual process of developing it. This month’s column shines some light on that process. VOLUNTEER PARTICIPATION Rather than utilizing the traditional Board-driven method for strategic planning, the AIHA Board decided to follow the path of other recent successful projects by soliciting volunteers for this effort through an open call to the membership. These volunteers comprised the Strategic Direction Task Force, which was charged with gathering input from a wide variety of stakeholders and developing recommendations for the organization’s goals and objectives for the next few years. Between November 2014 and July 2015, the Task Force gathered input from AIHA members, volunteer groups, local sections, academia, and other stakeholders; and reviewed results of environmental scanning, market research, and member and customer needs surveys. Stakeholder input was gathered through conversations at local section meetings, from focus groups at the 2015 Leadership Workshop and at AIHce in Salt Lake City, and through surveys of the entire membership.
Strategic planning is an organization’s process of envisioning a desired future, defining its direction, and translating that vision into goals and a sequence of steps to achieve them.
AIHA also conducted a major environmental scan that covered five broad research areas: the changing society and workplace; global change and markets; policy and regulation; technology and innovation; and knowledge, education, and research. The scan produced a wealth of information that is difficult to summarize, but here are a few of the key market drivers we identified:
  • Emerging technologies and innovations, the changing definition of “worker,” and the decentralizing of workplaces are creating new worker health issues including those that affect the community.
  • Industrial hygiene competencies are becoming specialized and fragmented, but at the same time integrated into generalist EHS roles.
  • Universal access to information and the diverse ways in which people access education are enabling individuals to more directly influence policy and regulation.
Other recent initiatives provided significant input to the Task Force, including the outcomes from the Content Portfolio Management Team (CPMT). The CPMT recommendations identified six prioritized focus areas: hazard banding/OEL process, sensor technologies, emerging markets/global standard of care, IH value strategy/business case development, changing work force demographics, and big data. For more information, see Barry Graffeo’s article in the November 2014 Synergist. FROM PROCESS TO SUBSTANCE Reviewing and interpreting the data was not a simple endeavor. The Task Force struggled at times to cull key information out of all of the data, and to integrate the proper ingredients into recommendations for the organization’s goals and objectives for the next few years. During the Board’s July meeting, we reviewed, discussed, and debated the Task Force’s preliminary recommendations. But the Board did not redo the work of the Task Force. The output of our meeting provided additional comments, thoughts, and data for the Task Force to consider as they finalize the strategic plan for presentation at the October Board meeting during the Fall Conference. It has been a tremendous effort by a dedicated group of volunteers over the past 10 months. Later this month the strategic plan will be finished, and you’ll be hearing much more about the plan’s substance over the next several months. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact AIHA with questions or feedback about our strategic direction.
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