Judith Hale HeadshotBy Judith Hale, ISPI President

We survived, so what is next? The Board of Directors over the past few years focused on survival–and they accomplished what they intended to do. Now the Board is focused on growing ISPI–in influence, membership, and services. To do this we revisited the goals set out in 2006 that were ambitious at the time and still are. The goals are about ISPI being a champion and resource for performance improvement, increasing member engagement and satisfaction, and resilient operations. The Board further broke the goals down into actionable and measureable objectives. So now what?

Achieving these goals will require a level of execution that I have not seen ISPI fulfill before. It is one thing to want to be a champion; it is another to have the discipline, resources, and commitment to make it happen. Jack Phillips, ISPI’s president-elect, gave everyone on the Board a copy of 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t (ASAE, 2006). The book describes a four-year study of what makes associations remarkable. All of the attributes of remarkable associations are worth paying attention to, but there are a few that I think are especially noteworthy; for example, the one about having very good intelligence about members. Member intelligence starts with and then goes beyond the annual member survey. It is about putting in place mechanisms to dialogue with member groups to better understand what is happening in their industry and workplace. The plan is to reinstitute the member survey, so look for it in the coming months. ISPI will also be conducting another job study in the fall to better understand what members do in relation to the HPT Standards. In addition, I am convening a “blue ribbon” group representing the military to discuss how ISPI might better meet its needs and recognize its contributions over the past 50 years. My intent is to test out a mechanism to facilitate better dialogue with key member groups. If it works, it can be expanded to specific industries like energy, finance, and so forth.

Another attribute has to do with strategic alliances. Remarkable associations actively seek out and enter into relationships with other organizations with the intent to influence policy and position members as qualified resources. If ISPI wants to increase its influence, it must recruit and prepare members and staff to participate on committees and taskforces. Gay Bruhn, director of Certification and Industry Relations, has made some significant inroads with state and federal agencies. Deb Page, CPT and partner in the new Certified School Improvement Specialist (CSIS) designation, is doing the same in education. Watch for additional announcements as well as opportunities to help.

A third attribute worth noting has to do with financial ratios such as revenue to expenses, staff size, member size, and so forth. Ironically some of ISPI’s ratios are better than those of remarkable associations, specially the ones about staff size. This means ISPI is too lean. So lean it lacks the capacity to increase influence, membership, or its scope of services; in other words, to act on the goals. If ISPI wants to increase its influence, member size, and scope of services, it must invest in its technological infrastructure and staff. So watch for announcements about a new knowledge management system, new social networking capabilities, and more. With respect to Tom Gilbert, the PIP (potential for improvement) is huge and I am encouraged regarding the Board’s commitment to invest in what is necessary to execute the goals.

Please contact me at President@ispi.org if you have any questions or comments.