Home Photo Galleries Resume  RVC Columns
2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2008 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2007 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2006 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2005 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August Blog Links
October 2008 RVC Column

(Written and posted 9/8/08)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for October Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

When I spoke about the Governance Project last month, I asked for ideas and feedback about the strategic planning process and specific goals that you would like to see the American Mensa Committee (AMC) include on our list of priorities. This month I will continue on that theme.

First, we need to identify what the important issues are. Here is a list of suggestions:

1. What model of governance can American Mensa adopt that ensures the following:

* Compliance with all relevant laws and requirements
* Clarity of authority and accountability
* Appropriate expectations of today's volunteer
* Effective and timely decision-making
* Transparency and confidentiality
* Trust between and among key stakeholders?

2. How can Mensa determine which programs/services need to be reinvented and which need to be sunsetted?

3. What are the unique and relevant benefits of membership?

4. How will Mensa develop new revenue streams?

5. How can Mensa improve the public image/perception of the organization and its members?

6. How can national ensure that the reality of the Mensa member experience matches expectations?

7. How can Mensa capitalize on web technologies to create new dimensions in the member experience?

8. What can we do to eliminate confusion between the American Mensa and the International Mensa brands?

9. What kind of pricing strategy should Mensa pursue?

10. How can Mensa build a better understanding of what its members want?

If you have additional suggestions, please send them to me at rvc8@us.mensa.org, and I will make sure that they enter into our discussions. Once we have identified our top choices from among the list of issues, here is the process that Tecker Consultants has recommended to the AMC for our strategic planning purposes:


1. Informing the issue - answer 4 questions: (staff prepares background, group adds information - either as large group or in small groups)
a. What do we know about our members/prospective members/customers - needs, wants, and preferences that is relevant to this decision? Or what do we wish we knew?
b. What do we know about the "capacity" and "strategic position" of our organization that is relevant to this decision? Or what do we wish we knew?
c. What do we know about the current realities and evolving dynamics of our member's marketplace/industry/profession, that is relevant to this decision? Or what do we wish we knew?
d. What are the ethical implications of our choices?

2. Identification of choices - what alternatives or choices do we have in formulating our response to this issue? (small group work) If any policy or motion develops from this work, capture it and then proceed to step #3 at next meeting.

3. Advantages and disadvantages of each choice (staff prepares, group adds information - either as large group or in small groups)

4. Craft a motion summarizing the dialogue. Move that the Board direct staff, or some work group to study choices, provide a written report to the Board by a certain date. Clarify what information should be included. Clarify the choices impact on certain factors such as human and financial resources and achieving strategic outcomes.

When we get together in November, the AMC will first work on our strategic plan, and then use the above process on one or more of the mega-issues. If the AMC agrees to go down this road it will be a very different way of doing business for us, but it is the way that business is done in the 21st century and I am looking forward to it. The Strategic Planning page on the AML web site will be a good place for you to keep tabs on our progress. Look for it in Inside AML under the tab for "AMC &Appointees."

Finally, it's not too late to plan to come to all three Regional Gatherings (RGs) in Region 8 this fall. I'll be in Reno for the RG from October 3-5; Biggest Little RG information and registration are available on the Northern Nevada Mensa Web site at http://northernnevada.us.mensa.org/. Sacramento Regional Mensa always puts on a terrific RG, and the 25th Gold Country RG - High Q Silver....Away will take place from October 24-26. Contact Rod Baker at drrodbaker@juno.com for registration information. Another excellent choice is San Francisco Regional Mensa's RG, Brilliance By the Bay, which is on tap from November 28-30. Details and a registration form are available at http://www.sfmensa.org/rg.html. Hope to see you there!