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Planning Is Bringing The Future Into The Present

By Liz Richards, MHEDA Executive Vice President

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

Alan Lakein, an author on personal time management, is credited for that quote, and to me it embodies the essence of why strategic business planning is so critical. Your MHEDA Board of Directors has been engaged in the association’s annual strategic planning process and is coming to the end of the planning cycle, which will result in our documented goals and action steps for producing MHEDA’s 2013 programs and moving the association forward. I have written about this process many times before and cannot emphasize enough how well it serves as our organizational engine and ultimately drives everything we do at MHEDA.

A major part of this process is to conduct an environmental analysis, uncovering external trends within the industry as well as the general business environment and, internally, uncovering the forces impacting the association. We engage in this analysis after gathering data from many sources, including feedback from the membership, reports from related trade associations, membership trends and from one of our most valuable resources, the board of directors and members of the manufacturer’s board of advisors. Once we have gathered and extensively analyzed all of this data, MHEDA’s Executive Committee develops “Critical Impact Factors” which are key trends and challenges facing the material handling professional. MHEDA plans programming around these Critical Impact Factors, all with the goal of helping you, our members, deal with these factors.

Former board members who have previously been engaged in this process contact our office in mid July, knowing we will have just developed the Critical Impact Factors. Why? Because they know some of the greatest minds in this industry have taken the time to develop what they, too, need to consider in their own organizations as they develop their plans for next year. As Alan Lakein said, we are bringing the future into today’s world; goals, action steps, budgets and time lines can be developed around what’s trending and predicted to impact the industry in the coming year.

Do you have a formal Strategic Planning Process in your organization? If you do not, I highly recommend reading the book, The Six Habits of Highly Successful Managers, written by John Cioffi, who helped lay the groundwork for MHEDA’s planning process back in the late 90s. As a matter of fact, every MHEDA member company was mailed a copy of John’s book as a gift at the end of the year 2010. If you can’t find your copy, contact our office.

Have I piqued your curiosity about the Critical Impact Factors MHEDA developed? Check them out on page 70.

Watch for programming and services in 2013 that address these factors and, as always, your comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.