Past Issues: CEO's Message—First Quarter 2015
Always Changing, Always Improving
(Updated Message from the Second Quarter 2013)
By Parnell Black, MBA, CPA, CVA
Chief Executive Officer
A lot has been going on with NACVA over the last three years, and, yes, we have made many changes. So much so, I continue to receive comments/queries like: “Is something going on at NACVA—it seems like every time I turn around, something new is coming at me?” “I can’t keep track of you guys anymore; I don’t know what’s going on!”
One must ask, why change? Change is necessary for growth, it prevents stagnation, and it fuels creativity, innovation, and promise for the future. It is required to stay ahead of our ever-changing business environment. And with it brings new life, new energy, and prosperity, especially for our members. We change because we believe it is in our members’ best interests.
There are many reasons for change—it can be a reaction to warranted or unwarranted pressure; it can be in impulse, fixing problems as they arise; or it can be a result of a well thought-out plan, incorporating a series of steps within a longer-term strategy. And those that know me—know I am not reactive or impulsive, and put considerable thought and careful planning into every decision. What you may not know is every major decision at NACVA is made by committee (i.e., Board, team, or task force). And often, we seek unanimous agreement before proceeding, because if there is a hold-out in obtaining a consensus that suggests the plan may need further refining.
There are two drivers behind the decisions we make: one is NACVA’s Boards and Committees, which are comprised of members who are elected to the Boards and volunteer to be on Committees. The other is internal—these decisions are made by staff members at Headquarters (HQ) who are a part of a team. Almost everything we do at HQ that is of any significance, affecting either our service to members or operations at HQ, is discussed, analyzed, and vetted extensively by a team before a decision is made. Teams at HQ can have as few as four staff and up to 15. The size of the team depends on both the size and needs of the project, and the effect/impact of the decision being made. And we have as many as two dozen teams at work each year. Once in a while, teams will be comprised of both HQ staff and members; one example of this is our Conference Planning Committee. It is important to clarify that HQ has one or two staff represented at all Board and Committee meetings; their role is to participate in discussions and to bring back decisions to HQ to be acted upon.
I know my staff sometimes express that we have too many meetings, but the fact of the matter is (and they know this), we make better decisions because of this collaboration. Plus, I doubt many organizations feel the team spirit we do. Everyone at HQ has a voice that is heard. This rule, if you want to call it that, also applies to our Boards and Committees. They have a powerful voice. I suspect that most people who have served on a NACVA Board or Committee would likely agree.
So, be it known, I do not work in a vacuum. Every decision, every change of significance implemented practically since our inception 25 years ago, was made by a Board or HQ team, and was done for good reasons based on a plan within a strategy that in the short- and long-term is in the best interest of our organization, and, more particularly, our members.
Here is a summary of changes, new products/programs/services, implemented in the last three years for the benefit of our membership:
|Approximate Date||Change/Program Implemented||Reason Why|
And this summary is just what you see on the surface. At HQ, we have redesigned all of our websites, rebuilt our CVA exams two times, rebuilt our MAFF exam, overhauled numerous internal processes, promoted and repurposed staff, completely redefined our marketing and public relations strategy, rolled-out with a few dozen new products, hired many new staff, and relocated our offices.
As you might expect, this is not the end of our evolution. We have set in motion more changes that will carry through 2015, and it all can be summed up in one phrase—We are always improving. I will add, we are slowing down, but this is all part of the plan. Three years ago, we set forth a strategic plan for changes necessary to improve and posture NACVA for the next decade. Most of this plan has been executed. I welcome your comments. Thank you.
Parnell Black, MBA, CPA, CVA
Chief Executive Officer