Reaching IFT’s Ambitious Goals
Many of us have a book to which we return again and again. For me, that book is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a parable about change and how to adapt to the many changes we experience in our lives. There are four main characters who all deal with change very differently. I reread this book at least once per quarter, often more frequently . . . whenever I start to feel stressed by the changes occurring around me. There are at least two key lessons from this book that also apply to IFT and our journey to achieve the vision of our Strategic Plan.
The first lesson is that change happens. Change happens whether we plan for it, anticipate it or ignore it. Change is inevitable. Change is seldom easy. For IFT, change is mandated by our Strategic Plan.
In accordance with our Strategic Plan, we have made great strides in changing and modifying our organizational structure to become more nimble, less bureaucratic, and more responsive to member needs and ideas than we may have been in the past. Without going into a lot of details, I want to emphasize that we are not making changes for the sake of change, but to realize genuine improvements as we look to the future and contemplate what it will take to remain relevant 5 and 10 years from now. Only by getting out in front of our changing world can we make the changes we want to make to thrive, not the changes that we have to make to survive. So we intend to lead change, not follow it.
Nowhere in our organization is change more strongly mandated than in the assessment of our finances. In the past few years, our industry, our organization, and our world have changed dramatically, and we must change to meet new challenges. Corporate consolidation is shrinking the size of technical staffs, reducing the number of our potential exhibitors, lessening attendance at our meetings, and negatively impacting our revenue. And I think I can safely state that no international organization is as flush today as it was before 9/11. So we’ve had to take a critical look at our budgeting to make sure our long-term goals remain viable, and we’ve made adjustments designed to keep us out in front of this challenge and our goals intact.
The second lesson is to anticipate change. Nowhere in our organization is that practiced more effectively than with our Nominations and Elections Committee. These men and women are charged with identifying the people who will lead our organization in the years to come. This is not an easy task. Recently, at the urging and recommendation of the Leadership Development Task Force, we have made some changes in our procedures for identifying future leaders. As a result of the hard work of this task force, the nomination process now requires that all potential candidates complete a Personal and Professional Data Information Form to assist the Nominations and Elections Committee in its identification of future leaders. I encourage you to consider serving your organization as an elected officer by filling out one of these forms for yourself or by encouraging others to do so. More information about the new process can be found on page 89 of this issue.
Change often results in the achievement of greater things than would have been possible without the change. It is certainly our goal to achieve great things:
• To be an indispensable resource to our members.
• To be an advocate for sound science worldwide.
• To advance the profession of food science and technology.
• To be the “go-to” resource for non-members.
These are ambitious goals. They will be achieved not by accident but only with a purpose and a focused mindset. It will also require that we continually question our priorities, our programs, and our results. We must also remember to honor those traditions and heritages that have helped us to be successful up to this point. It is not an easy assignment—but then, if were easy, anyone could do it! IFT needs your help and your support to reach these ambitious goals.
by ANN HOLLINGSWORTH
IFT President, 2003–04
President, Better Built Foods