ISA Spring Leaders Meeting and the Building Blocks of Success

This post is authored by Rick Roop, president of ISA 2015.

For this blog post, I want to review ISA’s Spring Leaders Meeting (SLM), which was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, 13-14 June 2015. This annual meeting is attended by Executive Board members; geographic, operational and technical assembly members; department and division directors; staff; spouses and other special prez-msg-201507guests.

The purpose of the SLM is to gain a deeper understanding of Society operations and assess the mid-year progress achieved on key ISA objectives. Through targeted presentations and lively discussions and interaction, participants receive the insights needed to make informed decisions and set priorities for ISA moving forward.

Some important Society actions served as the building blocks for the SLM. Given the significance and relevance of these actions, I want to draw attention to them in the first part of my post. A key event occurred in March 2014, when the ISA Executive Board approved ISA’s formal strategy with input and deliberation from ISA volunteers, staff, industry leaders and key stakeholders. Once again, these five strategic goals are Data, Content, Coolest Delivery, Cybersecurity, and Advocacy.

During the January 2015 Executive Summit, ISA held a working session to flush out detailed action plans for each of the five goals. ISA CEO and Executive Director, Pat Gouhin, appointed staff leads to accumulate volunteer input and to submit plans with timeline and budget implications to the Executive Board. Jim Keaveney, ISA President-Elect; Jon DiPietro, VP-Strategic Planning; and I reviewed the plan overviews with staff at ISA headquarters in RTP. These overviews were presented to and supported by the Executive Board at the board meeting in March.

At the same time, Executive Board members moved to self-designate themselves as either a Champion or a Liaison for each of the five goals. An Executive Board Champion works with staff and is responsible for holding other volunteer leaders accountable. An Executive Board Liaison participates on the ISA Goal Team to offer perspective and to help promote goals while working toward completion. The staff leads have been collaborating with Executive Board members, as well as appropriate committees, to help achieve these goals. Regular meetings in RTP, facilitated by Tony Fragnito, ISA’s Director of Finance and Administration, are held to review progress and to discuss opportunities and challenges.

Ensuring a year-long commitment to goal attainment,
recognizing the positive results achieved to date in 2015

At the kick-off session at the SLM, Jim Keaveney and Jon DiPietro spoke about ISA’s strategic planning process—and how very important it is that ISA has established its long-term strategic objectives and has in place a formal, organized pathway upon which to achieve them.

Vital to the Society’s progress toward meeting its goals is ISA’s Strategic Planning Department, which is continually working to coordinate the implementation of plans and ensure accountability among all parties. This involves year-long effort and commitment.

In fact, Jim and Jon explained the formal stages that ISA will follow throughout each year in order to sustain positive momentum toward goal achievement. The stages are outlined below.

  • In January of each year, meetings are held to assess progress and re-confirm the value and importance of each strategic goal
  • During the second quarter of the year, staff obtains input objectives and budget requirements from ISA departments and committees
  • At mid-year (currently), staff considers the draft budget and—with input from volunteer groups –makes certain the guidelines of the Manual of Operations and Procedures (MOP) are met.
  • Lastly culminating at the Fall Leaders Meeting (FLM) in October where final objectives and budget drafts are presented to the Executive Board for approval.

The SLM also provided an excellent opportunity for staff leads to provide updates on progress made to date in 2015 toward goal achievement. In order to achieve ISA’s five overarching strategic goals (Data, Content, Coolest Delivery, Cybersecurity, and Advocacy), progress must be made toward attaining several “sub goals.” Each staff lead formally restated these sub-goals and highlighted progress to date toward reaching them. In addition, an average completion percentage across all sub-goals was determined. Click here to view (in PDFs) the progress achieved to date on all five ISA goals and download the corresponding PowerPoint presentations delivered by staff leads at the SLM.

It’s important to note that progress is not expected to be linear for each of the outlined objectives. I mention that because the staff leads are managing to a detailed project plan that factor in dependencies, task owners, resource requirements and other parameters.

In all, it was very impressive to recognize all the positive results that have been achieved so far this year. It was also exciting to experience the passion of the staff leads as each spoke about his or her goal and the progress being made toward completion.

I am very proud of the efforts put forth by the goal teams and the results shown at the SLM are indicative of their dedication and hard work.

Let’s all work together to support these efforts and capitalize on our forward momentum. I look forward to updating you on our continued successes as the year continues.

About the Author
Rick RoopRick Roop has been a member of ISA since 1983 and established the Society’s Evansville, Ind. and Terre Haute, Ind. Sections. Rick has held a variety of ISA leadership positions including district vice president and chairman of the Council of District Vice Presidents, Power Industry Division board member, and he has also served as chairman of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Investment Committee. Rick worked as a senior instrumentation engineer at Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company (now Vectren). He then joined Hoosier Energy, REC, first as an instrument and electrical engineer, and later as general manager at the company’s Frank E. Ratts Generating Station. Since 2012, Rick has held the position of vice president, senior portfolio manager and owner of Donaldson Capital Management, an Evansville, Ind.-based SEC-registered investment advisory firm with $1 billion in assets under management. Rick earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering technology from Murray State University and a master of business administration degree with an emphasis in finance from Indiana State University.
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A version of this article also has been published in ISA Insights.

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