Editorial / Éditorial
I’m writing this at the beginning of August—a little later than I had planned to write it, which often tends to be the case. (I apologize to the rest of the editorial team!)
I find that I fall even more behind during the summer. I make vague promises to myself to finish CRPA work on weekends, then those promises tend to disappear completely when said weekends finally arrive. This is kind of ironic, given that I find myself being more productive at work during the week when everyone else is on holidays.
So, I make vague promises every year . . . it’s a very predictable cycle. It reminds me of one of my favourite television shows, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The show often references an “eternal recurrence,” when characters say, “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.”
While this concept easily explains my recurring summer slowdowns, it also comes up remarkably often in other settings. As an example, I see it play out at each CRPA annual general meeting. The most recent meeting in Ottawa in May was no exception.
The AGM is fairly predictable . . . the same budgetary concerns, membership number concerns, etc. are presented every year. One difference this year was the motion put forth to reinstate the position of past president. The board proposed this because they felt that the position would benefit their work.
The motion was eventually passed after a somewhat lively debate. However, even this was part of a cycle—the position had been eliminated five years ago, and the proposal to bring it back was passed only with a caveat that it be reviewed again in two years. Will a final decision be made at that time, or will the discussion keep recurring?
Perhaps the fate of the past president position will be easier to predict once the new CRPA strategic plan is in place. The current plan covered 2014 to 2019, which means we should be seeing a new plan within the next year. This is where I hope to see one cycle eliminated in favour of another.
Strategic planning is a cycle in and of itself, and a very valuable one at that. A plan that analyzes all available data and includes a predictable cycle of review and renewal allows an organization to move forward, address their problems and issues, and ultimately become better than they are. In this way, our next five-year strategic plan, which is currently being developed, should direct us away from recurring concerns and keep us from second-guessing (or third-guessing?) organizational changes. To quote another popular book/television series, our next strategic plan should help CRPA “break the wheel.”
Coincidentally, one of the projects I’m working on this summer (as part of my “real” job) is a five-year strategic plan for the radiation safety department at the hospital where I work. It reminds me very much of the very first strategic planning exercise I went through, which happens to be the aforementioned 2014 to 2019 CRPA plan.
I had just joined the board as a new director, which meant there was a lot of information to soak up. Fortunately, there were many other people on the board who had more experience in strategic planning, and I was able to learn a lot in that process.
Fast-forward five years, and now I’m making use of that volunteer experience and the lessons I learned to help me in my current work project. There is a cycle in gaining experience from volunteer work and applying it in one’s professional (or at least, paid) career, and back again. This knowledge transfer is probably one of the most tangible benefits of volunteering with CRPA.
So, I’d encourage all of our members to get involved in the strategic planning process. The association stands to gain significantly from new and varied ideas, and those involved would acquire very marketable work experience. I myself plan to help out however I can. Although, to be fair, I think I should focus on meeting my editorial deadlines first . . . 🙂
1. A reference to the television series Game of Thrones.