July 2014



As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - August 2004

Forward planning must be based on valid information, not merely on feelings or intuition.

2004-2005 ASSE President Gene Barfield, CSP

Critical Elements of Strategic Planning

In the July issue, I highlighted several process improvement expectations that ASSE leaders believe will enhance the Society and add value to the profession. This month, let's discuss elements of strategic planning that are critical to our continued success.

As I noted last month, knowledge-based strategic planning is critical to the success of the Society and the profession. Knowledge-based strategic planning is forward planning based on valid information, not merely on feelings or intuition. Such information is discovered through analysis, surveys, research and valued input from you. Without knowledge of the events or variables that can cause a strategy to veer from its intended goal, you are relying on “gut feelings,” “wild guesses” and emotion to formulate a plan. Successful planners work from the principle of “I know” rather than “I think” or “I feel.”

To help ASSE regions and chapters enhance their strategic planning efforts, ASSE will be publishing an electronic “how to” strategic planning manual. Chapter representatives, region leaders, board members and Society staff will use this manual to increase their knowledge of the planning process and ensure that everyone is speaking the same language and working with the same set of instructions. The manual will also be made available online to all members, as it can be a great tool when planning the direction of an SH&E management system.

We are also compiling ASSE's strategic plan into one document so that we can better monitor and communicate progress toward and achievement of goals. Each of the Society's four councils has assigned elements of ASSE's eight strategic goals. These goals are directed at accomplishing our mission and vision statements as approved by the House of Delegates. To ensure that all stakeholders understand what projects and activities are being implemented to achieve these established goals, the consolidated document will specify the strategic elements which have been defined for each goal. This will help ensure that we are an efficient organization, united in direction and able to respond proactively as needs change. In addition, the “measurables” of the individual strategic elements will be assigned to a representative who will be accountable for the results of activities pursued.

Next month, I'll discuss how we can improve communications with our management teams at work. They speak a different language—one of money and profitability—that SH&E professionals must be able to use in order to be viewed as valuable corporate contributors. Until then, have a continuing series of safe days.

Gene Barfield, CSP