Looking Ahead: Our Priorities for 2019
Happy New Year to you all!
On behalf of my board colleagues, we hope that 2019 is the best yet for you and that your facilitation goes from strength to strength.
Every year, the board gathers in January to reflect on the year that’s gone by and to focus on the year ahead. This year, we had the meeting at our farm in Uruguay which meant we could have a very intensive three days together in a very cost efficient way. We all felt we had a very productive (and fun) time together and I’d like to share with you the direction and initiatives we will be focusing on with your help.
When we distilled all of our planned activities for 2019, three key themes emerged:
1. Professional Development Pathway - ProPath. We made some really good progress in 2018 with our first CPF Emeritus and CPF Master accreditations being awarded as part of our pilot…..and this is just the beginning. We are committed to ensuring that all the elements of ProPath become mainstream in 2019 including the launch of the ‘IAF Endorsed Facilitator’ level for those new to the profession. You will also see our mentoring program come to life in the early part of the year too.
2. Ambassadorship. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, we have made enormous strides in creating regional and local leadership of the profession through our chapters and meet-up groups. What we are committed to in 2019 is helping these groups, and individuals too, have the resources to promote both facilitation and the IAF. For example, we are developing short videos that can be used by members to introduce facilitation to potential clients and other branded assets so you can make a real ‘splash’ when promoting the power of facilitation.
3. Explore, Adapt and Engage! The world of facilitation is moving on at pace and we want to be stay abreast of the changes we are seeing around us to stay one step ahead. We are committed to taking a good look at our website with a view to making it more user and mobile friendly; exploring our partnership strategy so we can connect with like-minded organisations for mutual benefit and engaging with you, our members, on what you see as the future of our profession and how we might best adapt.
We have 15 initiatives, which I’ve outlined below that will bring these three themes to life. Of course our association relies on the contribution of volunteers and so if you would like to play a part in any of these exciting projects, please contact me directly or your Regional Director.
#1 Engage Membership on Future Focus for IAF
The world of facilitation is expanding massively. ‘Facilitation’ is being used in a range of contexts including group process facilitation, facilitative leadership, virtual facilitation, graphic facilitation and facilitating change to name just a few. We think it’s time to engage in a dialogue with our members on whether we stay as we are or whether and how we might adapt as an association. One project we intend to start very soon is taking a look at our Code of Ethics with Kimberly Bain taking the lead.
#2 Re-design IAF website
Website technology has evolved significantly since we launched our website some four years ago. While our current site has served us well, we think it’s time to look at how we can adopt a more contemporary look and feel for the site and make it more user and mobile friendly. If you have expertise in this area, we’d love to hear from you.
#3 Creating Videos
Jeffer London, our Director of Marketing and Partnerships, is putting the finishing touches to two videos that explain what the IAF is all about and the benefits of our Professional Development Pathway (ProPath for short) so members can use these resources for their own marketing purposes.
#4 Establish Ambassador Program
Following from #3 above, we are also establishing a network of brand ambassadors who will be coached on how to use the IAF brand in a powerful way so that it is strengthened. If you are interested in volunteering and helping out in any of these initiatives or on-going programs, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can connect you with the right project leads.
#5 Implement Professional Development Pathway
We’ve made big strides in this area already with our first ever CPF Master and CPF Emeritus receiving their credentials in 2018 as part of a pilot. This year we will make this a mainstream offering for all of those who are eligible. Gerardo de Luzenberger, our newly appointed Director of Professional Development, will also be putting in place the IAF Endorsed Facilitator designation as an entry level offering.
#6 Advocate for Buyer Recognition of IAF Competencies / Values
We are in contact with the EU to establish our competency framework and ethics standards as the de facto norm for facilitation. We hope that by the end of the year this is in place as it will help members seeking contracts in the public sector. We’d love to hear from members in other regions who can help lobby similar agencies.
#7 Multi-lingual Translations
As an international association, we are keen to reflect the languages of our members whose first language is not English, in our communications. This year we will be exploring how we can take steps towards translating some of the information on our website and how communication channels can be translated into other languages to reflect our growing member base.
#8 Implement Member Retention Strategy
Whilst our membership is steadily growing, which is great news, our retention numbers are a little less than the benchmark for other associations. Regional Directors are going to work on more direct contact with those who are due to renew or whose membership has lapsed. We are also going to be a little tougher on those who are no longer members, have not re-certified and who still use the CPF designation for business benefit – something we think is unfair to our loyal association members.
#9 Implement Digital Badges
Technology is available for digital badges to be issued to members including those with credentials such as the CPF. These badges can be used on websites and platforms such as LinkedIn to indicate membership status. The beauty of them is that they are managed centrally so that when a member doesn’t renew or re-certify the digital badge will no longer function. This will help to eliminate the problem outlined in 8 above.
#10 Explore Options for Peer to Peer Communication Platforms
Last year we explored the idea of having a closed Facebook or LinkedIn group that was tightly linked to membership, however this hasn’t been progressed due to the complexities of managing member-only access on these platforms. We’ll be taking a look at other options to enable you to easily connect with other members locally and around the world.
#11 Automate Expense Reimbursement
An internal process improvement initiative to make it easier for members such as CPF assessors to claim reimbursable expenses.
#12 Design Bursary Program
Last year, our former Treasurer, Tony Nash, set up a bursary fund to receive donations and bequests from people who would like to make a financial contribution to promoting the power of facilitation. We received some funds in 2018 and Julia Donohue, our incoming Treasurer, is going to create a policy and mechanism for making good use of the bursary funds we receive.
#13 Maintain Partnership Strategy
As some of you may already know, we have partnerships in place with the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). This year we are going to take a look at our partnership strategy so we have a little more structure and direction rather than just responding to requests as and when they pass our way. We started a project last year to sign up corporate members of the IAF. We’re committed to finishing this work and hope to have some corporate paying members by the year end.
#14 Implement Mentoring Pilot Program
A key part of the Professional Development Pathway is offering members access to mentoring. Much work has been done in building this behind the scenes and we now have a large group of mentors ready to get going. We spent some time at the board meeting exploring the pricing mechanism. Now this has been agreed, you will see communications coming out in the first quarter with clarity on how to get involved in the programme.
#15 Revitalize the IAF Journal
This is an academic resource that has been dormant for several years. Keith Ryall, our Secretary, is going to investigate the level of interest in revitalizing the more academic side of what we are about. Once again, if you would like to be a part of this work, then we’d love to hear from you.
And for those of you thinking ‘what about all the existing programmes we offer’, well, we’re keeping our foot on the gas for those too. So you will see more CPF’s, Facilitation Impact Awards, Hall of Fame Nominations, International facilitation Week, our IAF Global Conference in 2020 and much more.