Planning Outside the Box

by Paul E. Borawski, executive director, ASQ

With long-range plans becoming increasingly irrelevant in a rapidly changing world, strategic planners on the ASQ Board of Directors have started with a clean sheet and are adopting a "living strategy" approach. Gone is the black box exercise in which experts meet once a year to update strategy on a five-year planning horizon. In its place is a dynamic, living strategy that changes and grows as knowledge develops.

The new approach is characterized by two distinguishing features: storytelling and continuous stakeholder involvement in ongoing strategic dialogue.

"Storytelling is a key element in this new approach," says Ken Case, president-elect. "Storytelling conveys the heart and soul of what ASQ is becoming--in a way that no traditionally conceived strategic plan can do."

The storytelling includes personal accounts demonstrating application of quality principles in a variety of settings, from traditional areas such as manufacturing to newer ones such as education, environmental remediation and  community building. This collection of personal accounts is intended to grow as more people share their quality experiences. Storytelling can also reach into the future, envisioning future possibilities and igniting collaborative action around these possibilities.

ASQ members and other stakeholders will now have the ability to engage in ongoing dialogue about the future direction of ASQ. The board and I are encouraging the dialogue by posing a set of strategic questions about the things that matter to ASQ, quality professionals and the wider quality community--others who have the desire and opportunity to use quality methods in their business and community affairs.

The dialogue also will center on a newly formed vision statement for ASQ, which proposes a dual role with long-term objectives and a set of prioritized strategic themes designed as a guide for shaping the future of ASQ. The dual role for the Society is for it to serve as a steward of both the quality profession and the broader quality movement.

To that end, we're inviting everyone who has a stake in the future of the quality profession and movement to become actively engaged in this dialogue. For complete details about all the strategic elements and to participate in the dialogue, please visit ASQ's strategic development website at www.asq.org/strategy/index.html.

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