Planning for the Future

Alyssa KirkmanWater Cooler Chat

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot
Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE headshot

Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE

Our weather made the National news last week with more than eight inches of snow falling in Chapel Hill. Being a Chicago girl, I can tell you it is surprising just how crippling a few inches can be here. Without the Midwestern snow removal equipment and personnel, we just wait for the sun to do its work.

The unexpected snowfall is a reminder that best laid plans are never ensured. As a small non-profit, we are constantly reminded to be flexible, nimble and good humored.  This 2011 article Adaptability The New Competitive Advantage from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) is from 2011 still resonates today: “Instead of being really good at doing some particular thing, companies must be really good at learning how to do new things.”

This has been true for the ACPA team as we’ve transformed over the past several years. First, ACPA separated from the University of North Carolina in 2015, and in 2017 ACPA merged with the Cleft Palate Foundation. At each juncture, the Board carefully considered the mission of ACPA and strategic goals– taking actions to build long-term sustainability. At the recent Interim Board of Directors meeting, the Board developed the new 2019 to 2021 Strategic Plan. We are emphasizing  increasing revenue streams, imposing budget discipline and trimming expenses with one goal in mind: to focus on achieving the mission. These actions demonstrate great faith in the streamlined organization to focus impact on issues most important to patients, families and providers.

Unlike ACPA, the HBR article is aimed at large corporations that focus on building for stable environments. Indirectly, it highlights the fact that as a small nonprofit with an environment of scarcity – we have some advantages that the large corporate entities do not.  The mission focus helps us mobilize.  The small structure means that changes are not as complex to roll out.

Today promises to be in the 40s and the sun is shining. Another reminder that we are making progress and continue to adapt in order to achieve ACPA’s mission.