Recalibrating Our Compass

Michael Cornelison, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

In my experience in ACFAS leadership there is one thing in particular that has stuck out to me when I consider the governance structure of other organizations with which I've been involved: the ACFAS "Strategic Compass” (link to be updated). This document consists of the strategic framework that defines and guides the work of the College.
The title in itself has intrigued me -- more than just a "plan" to direct an organization and its board, staff, committees and general membership, the "compass" will keep each of these elements on track and pointed toward its intended destination.  Indeed, each committee is specifically charged to follow the goals, strategies and tactics that are relevant to its area of focus.  This effectively ensures that a committee's projects and ideas are aligned with the College's overall direction.
The Board of Directors reviews the Business Plan at least annually, and every few years engages in specific strategic planning exercises in order to ensure that the Compass is up to date.  This year, the Board took a much deeper dive, undertaking a much more extensive overhaul of our entire strategic planning structure.  The reasons to do so were several, including: to ensure the plan aligns with the needs of the members, the College can optimally encompass new endeavors in leadership training, research, diversity and advocacy, to better direct committees as their duties evolve, and to better define and clearly state the College's core values that should drive putting all elements of the strategic plan into action.
Looking through the past activities of ACFAS, it may not be that difficult to figure out what core values have driven the College. However, it may not be so easy to keep them in strong focus when paving the path for the future. At this past summer's strategic planning session, the Board took the effort to identify and define them. They include: Educational Excellence, Ethical Integrity, Innovation, Diversity & Inclusion, and Strategic Governance.

A focal point of the Compass are the strategic goals. Within each goal are several specific objectives and well-defined strategies to achieve them. Collectively, these compose the business plan that the Board of Directors utilizes for effective oversight of the College and set alignment of staff and volunteer activities.

1. Deliver trusted, innovative scientific education to members at each stage in their career.
2. Increase the public and health care communities understanding of and appreciation for ACFAS members as foot and ankle surgeons.
3. Support and advance research that improves foot and ankle care to optimize patient outcomes.
               4. Represent the specialty through professional advocacy to improve the quality of patient care.
               5. Recruit, develop and support a robust community of exceptional foot and ankle surgeons.

In the coming year, ACFAS staff, with the Boards direction, will be completing the process of incorporating the new strategic plan into the existing business plan structure.  This is no small undertaking, and my deepest thanks to the ACFAS staff, Board of Directors, and all others involved cannot be overstated.
Our Strategic Compass is a “living” document.  As the practice of foot and ankle surgery evolves and advances, our College strives to not only keep pace, but to prepare for future challenges and opportunities, both seen and unseen.  Our continuous re-evaluation of our strategic plan, including significant updates like the one currently being undertaken, helps to ensure that we will be successful in doing so.