Monday - All About Strategy

Monday morning began with a call to WOMMA board member and President-elect David Witt, to discuss committee assignments and my proposed method of sharing responsibilities during the year. Then it was a trip on the "L" into from O'Hare to downtown Chicago and brisk cold weather walk to WOMMA Headquarters for visits with Executive Director Kristen Smith and members of the WOMMA staff. I asked most of the people I talked to what they were currently working on and how they knew if they were winning. My hope is that in future everyone on the team will have the same answer and will be able to see the connection between their role, their work, and winning. 

Kristen and I made the drive back to O'Hare where we were joined in the Admiral's Club Conference Center by past WOMMA Presidents Ed Keller, John Bell, and Paul Rand; founding board member Pete Blackshaw; Brands Council Chairman Gary Spangler, and President-elect David Witt. This influential group of current and former WOMMA leaders were convening, at my request, to complete strategic planning work that was initiated in 2010. My intent was, in part, to focus our attention on creating a definition of winning.

After 5 hours of rewarding, but exhausting discussion and debate, we felt as if we were very close to the definition we were seeking and to the key strategies that would us get there. We chose words like sustained, growing, ethical, essential, remarkable, credible, and thought leadership as placeholders for our intended winning definition. We identified strategic initiatives that fall under the headings of ethics, growth, and innovation. And we once again renewed our commitment to a holistic approach to word of mouth marketing regardless of channel - online or offline. WOMMA is more than social media and we will continue to advance our association in a more comprehensive way.
We closed the day with a relaxing dinner at Harry Caray's restaurant (pictured above) where I was pleased to enjoy one of Chicago's finest steaks and a three olive martini. Now that's winning.

Tuesday - The Board Gears Up

The members of our strategic planning team were joined by the full board at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday and we conducted WOMMA business until 3:30 that afternoon. Included in the topics of discussion was an orientation on board responsibilities; a proposed task force for increasing awareness and programming for off-line WOM; a discussion on the merits of focusing on ethics, growth, innovation and pride; and the usual housekeeping and committee reports.  I came away feeling as though we had excellent conversations and strong foundation from which to build a winning year.

By 5:15 I was sitting comfortably in row ten on United flight 371 from Chicago to Seattle. The work of the prior two days had been tiring but very productive. An excellent foundation had been laid and the team, WOMMA's board and staff, were eager to compete. Unlike the Bears or the Bears QB, the WOMMA team was poised to win and won't quit until the goal has been achieved. . . Packers or no Packers!

And The Week's Not Over Yet!