Closing out #IABC1417 – a strategy that transformed IABC

At today’s International Executive Board, at the 2017 World Conference in Washington DC, we closed out the 2014-17 Strategy.

It was a strategy that transformed IABC.

At the 2017 Annual General Meeting a talented group of leaders are set to step up and take for the next strategy: #IABC1720

The purpose of this post is to briefly:

  • Take stock, reflect, gain insights to move forward
  • Close loops, let go of what is no longer relevant
  • Acknowledge, appreciate, thank

As with any 46-year-old organisation, much work remains, yet our leaders around the world report that they have seen a step-change. And, as with any 46-year-old organisation, much that came before has been built on. We’re grateful to all who put their should to the wheel over the years.

Taking stock

Building on the best from our founding, we moved from an organisation that had friction and confusion into one ready to re-energize. Today at the AGM we’ll set out a rechartered mission to that effect.

In shorthand, these are the things that advances us to where we are today:
  • Clarity & alignment: roles and responsibilities.
  • Customer focus: strategic advisors.
  • Actionable insights: survey policy and personas ; key performance indicators clarified; annual portfolio review initiated; board-level chapter and region dashboard implemented – and groundwork for strategic funnel laid.
  • Bottom line results: back in black; technology updated; ready for the future.

Ready for #IABC1720

Lessons learnt? Almost uncountable. Painstakingly documented on this blog – some 100+ posts. Go ahead and explore. For example, there’s a whole section dedicated to insights articulated through Venns – and we even have paper airplanes with leadership advice from your peers. Because strategy work can otherwise be a bit dry.

Close loops

The board spent time reviewing what was good, and difficult – during the implementation of the 2014-17 strategy. It was an opportunity close loops, and discuss what needs to be done differently in the coming years.

Acknowledge, appreciate, thank

Thanks to the 2014-15, 2015-6 and 2016-17 boards who oversaw the development and implementation of the strategy.  And our hard working leaders in the field. The people who power chapters and regions around the world.

And our staff. Thank you all. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Here’s to the next chapter!

#IABC1720

Countdown to #IABC1720

Recap on the road to a new 3-year strategy

#longread – it has been a journey!

With the annual gathering of the IABC tribe (aka World Conference) kicking off this weekend, excitement is building to launch a new cycle for the future.

We launched a global listening tour in September using Appreciative Inquiry – to engage our community in creating a shared understanding of what we value most to bring forward into 2020 and beyond.

We shared some great stories, experiences and achievements to bring out the best in us.

“You come for the professional development, you stay for the people”, “IABC peers are like family” and “IABC has honed my leadership skills more than any paid gig” are but three examples of what we value as a united peer community. See #IABC1720 for highlights of this journey.

The strength of passion and purpose to advance the profession within our global network cannot be overstated – and it will take a commitment to collaborative leadership to bring this new strategy cycle to life. Fortunately, IABC leaders have this in spades!

Throughout the strategy development work, the International Executive Board, regional and chapter leaders participated where we:

  • Held World Café sessions in all 8 IABC regions.
  • Leveraged Leadership Institute in February for feedback on our statements of strategic intent, field tested the draft #IABC1720 framework and invited leaders to explore “Freedom in a Framework” to align their strategic plans to collaboratively deliver local value.
  • Conducted interviews with global executives to gauge industry pulse.
  • Drew insights from a range of industry trend reports.
  • Liaised across committees to socialize the strategic priorities and gain input.

We are a diverse global community – it is our greatest strength but also our greatest challenge. How can we deliver relevant value across a broad spectrum of needs?

For associations, this doesn’t change at the core: It’s to continue to help members be successful in what matters most to them – supporting through education and insights, credentialing, community exchange and advocacy for the profession. What changes over time is the format and content of programming – and how we create opportunities for people to access it and engage each other to learn and grow.

For communicators in a rapidly changing business landscape, it means a commitment to adapt and develop new multi-disciplinary skills and demonstrate impact on key business outcomes.

Recall the Top Three Professional Challenges cited in our Global Membership Survey:

  • Being included in the strategy and planning efforts within organizations
  • Demonstrating the value of communications to internal/external clients
  • Keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the field

This, from over 18,000 respondents where 72% have more than 10 years experience in the field.

Business leader interviews we conducted confirmed this familiar story: Communicators need to demonstrate business acumen and prove their ability to drive key business results. This is where we take our cue for advancing the profession over the next three years.

It’s time to prove the impact of strategic communications using #insightsandresults and to develop strategic communicators – through the Global Standard and certification – to become trusted business advisors.

What comes next? We vote at the AGM tomorrow to affirm our strategic intent

Input on these new Vision/Purpose/Philosophy statements was enthusiastic and incorporated into revisions approved by the International Executive Board to go forward to AGM vote. A special thank you to Ginger D. Homan, IABC secretary/treasurer and #IABC1720 co-author for leading this essential exercise to conclusion.

The three elements of the Purpose statement – Advance the Profession, Create Connection and Develop Strategic Communicators – form the pillars of the proposed framework for the 2017-2020 strategic plan.

As we look to the future, IABC’s next three years will aim to advance the profession through a proactive approach to thought leadership and by helping communicators realize their strategic potential as business advisers to prove their impact on the organizations they serve.

With this framework approved,  work to tie strategy to action for the 2017-18 term begins immediately at the International Executive Board meeting on Sunday. Stay tuned here for more as we put our best foot forward – together!

In my role as Vice Chair this year, it has been a privilege to lead this planning process. A note of sincere thanks to the 2016-17 board, regional, chapter and committee leaders for your time and ongoing engagement in this important work – and to our hardworking staff.

And finally, thank you to members and Gold Quill winners whose commitment to professional practice advances our standards of excellence each and every day.

Hope to see you here in Washington! #IABC17 awaits!

Sharon Hunter, Vice Chair