Letter to the Members from Your Association President
Monday, February 2, 2009
Posted by: Deborah Lovell
It was an honor to meet so many of our leader volunteer members at the recent 2009 AITP Members Summit held in Dallas. It is a pleasure to hear so many great suggestions and I welcome your continued input to help us convert our 2009-2011 strategies to action and achieve our desired goal - AITP making a difference today and for the future of the IT profession.
Due to time constraints during the Annual Meeting of the Members, I was a little disappointed that I could not deliver my heartfelt message on the "unveiling" of a new AITP. However, having the honor to personally present our new logo, vision and mission statements, and newly created core values - along with watching our Association Directors present the 2009-2011 strategic goals, I am very satisfied that my core message was successfully delivered.
Transformation is a Journey, Not a Project
As we begin this journey to transform our association, we thank you for joining us. With over 6,000 voices unified as one, we have the power to start leading the IT profession instead of following; delivering value aligned with the true needs of the new IT professional; and just simply, becoming better leaders, better people.
Echoed by our esteem panel of speakers at the Summit, there is a pressing need in our profession for integrated leadership of business and technology. As professionals advance their careers, there is a need to advance their skills. Oddly, most people maintain their technical or other job specific skills as their first priority and miss the leadership components. Remember, no matter how sophisticated the technology, it still takes people! And professionals with leadership skills make the difference.
This message resonated throughout every presentation - from our leadership experts to the CIO from 7-11 Corp, to our distinguished keynote EVP of Microsoft, to our CIO panelists, to our Annual Meeting of the Members - that AITP is positioned to lead the IT profession - as the society of professionals focused on the integrated leadership of technology and business.
How did we get here?
For many years, AITP has worked to meet the needs of the membership and the Association's purpose from a short term perspective. Industry's global direction has been leading our profession and we have simply been reacting. We all know that AITP needs to:
- Grow membership
- Improve morale of leader volunteers
- Optimize operational processes
- Deliver "true" benefits as valued by our members
- Significantly improve conversion of students to professional status
- Serve multi-generational members while valuing our current members who are or have entered retirement age
The "quick fixes" over these past years have kept AITP alive but have also impacted our bottom line and the loyalty of our membership. The "just react" infrastructure of AITP has slowed its growth. The sustainability of AITP is now the pivotal focus.
Through data gathering over the past few years, it became apparent that the need to position AITP for immediate and long term action is now and our strategic vision needs to drive growth. Quite simply, we find ourselves needing unprecedented change. To cite a famous quote by Jack Welch:
If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.
A plan for our future is mission critical and mandates a sense of urgency. The industry has passed us and our competitors are vying for our members' time and loyalty. To move AITP into the future state requires a change in thinking, a shift in focus, and in some cases, a new purpose, new vision, new resources - a new way of doing things - a transformation.
The benefits of a transformation will help AITP stay aligned and focused, and enable us to meet the needs of tomorrow as well as become lean, agile, decisive and fast to act on market opportunities today.
We, the members, must:
- Bring AITP into the 21st Century
- Build a new future for AITP
- Lead AITP success by addressing the industry demands for integrated leadership of technology and business, and advance the IT profession
- Guide AITP to stay ahead of the ever changing industry
The AITP leadership has considered many options as we discussed how to respond to the challenge of transforming our association. We recognize that a slowed momentum once we start is not a good thing. To effectively define AITP in today's marketplace as the leader of building better people, better leaders, we must deliver and continue to deliver.
The Association Board is responsible for the direction of the Association and must stay focused on the overall strategic vision of the new AITP. It is imperative that we not worry about the "hows", and stay focused on the vision.
The 3-year turnaround plan includes a new Vision, Mission, Core Values, Guiding Principles, and four strategic goals: Grow membership, Offer programs and services, Integrate business and partnerships, and Optimize operations. To achieve our transformation goals, we must be willing to fund those strategic initiatives that have a positive impact.
To complete our due diligence and minimize our risks, we have established Task Forces who are preparing the details and differentiating the strategic operational and tactical tasks. The taskforces will present their plans to the Association Board for approval and financial guidance.
And importantly, while we are and have been currently running "lean" for years, we are focused on assessing our organizational structure to determine how to become an agile and more efficient organization and provide effective leadership. We are reviewing and recommending changes to our operations to align more closely with the heart and soul of our association - our chapters and members.
Preparing for The New AITP
This may be perhaps the biggest transformation in AITP history. And the most difficult one. It is personal to some of us and it is important to all of us. There is no doubt the transformation challenge will be daunting.
It will take a forward thinking team to transform. It will most certainly will take the creativity and intellect of each and every member - each one of you.
And all of us must be committed to perform the work necessary to achieve success. To use an old cliché, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
In summary, with the ability to maintain focus and respond to changing conditions, we will be able to become a more agile and global AITP of the future.
We "must shift" our focus and deliver, the keys to the overall success of the new AITP:
Grow membership throughout Corporate America and worldwide.
Lead the IT profession and fulfill the needs of our target membership -professionals, Gen X & Y, and the Millennial.
Create partnerships with leading vendors who share the vision of AITP and provide financial support and services that meet the needs of our target membership.
Align the organization so we can deliver effective leadership, change the morale of our current leader volunteers, and build a reservoir of leader volunteers.
Partner with other organizations who share a common goal for supporting the IT profession.
Brand AITP as the "leading worldwide society of information technology business professionals and the community of knowledge for the current and next generation of leaders."
We know that accepting the reality of a new AITP will be a hurdle for some. We will need to prepare our membership for cultural, process, and in some ways, behavioral changes - the days of "this is how we have always done it" will be no longer.
Your association leaders are committed to deliver as evidenced by bringing you to the Members Summit to share our vision and present the AITP 2009-2011 Strategic Plan. We invite each of you to help us make our plan a reality.
I look forward to serving our members for 2009 and hope you will not hesitate to contact me directly or any of your association board members to share your innovation and creativity.
And help us reach the moon!
2009 Association President