Letter From The ASA President - Proper Prior Planning

Dear Industry Colleagues,

Last month I stressed the importance of decision-making as it relates to the successful operation of our businesses.  Although we will never be free from having to make difficult decisions, we can all agree that a detailed and robust business plan can help to limit the number of those decisions that we have to make.  Thomas Edison once said, “The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration.”

I was reminded of Edison’s quotation during ASA’s recent strategic planning sessions, conducted during ASA’s Winter Board of Directors meeting in February. Nearly 70 volunteer leaders, representing ASA’s various committees and executive councils for each of ASA’s divisions, were on hand to assist in program planning for NetworkASA 2011 and to discuss the association’s strategic goals and objectives.

Led by Jean Frankel of Tecker Consultants, ASA’s Board of Directors was challenged to think short-term as well as long-term about what issues the industry may face, as well as how to position the association to better serve its members in the future. A large group discussion was followed by breakout sessions that specifically engaged ASA’s VMD, IPD, Plumbing, Young Executives and Hydronics divisions. Each of these divisions was asked to review, update and evaluate progress toward ASA’s current strategic plan. Divisions each developed strategies and action items and reported back to the group.

As a participant in this planning process, I was greatly impressed by not only the amount of hard work by each group, but also by the concise direction that was provided.  The groups each reflected one another’s thoughts on many aspects, and here are just a few examples of some common objectives:

  • Encourage buying group participation in NetworkASA 2011.

  • EDUCATE, EDUCATE, be a recognized voice and ATTRACT MEMBERS!

  • Drive ACTIVE membership participation.

  • Encourage members to GIVE BACK!

  • Be a source of timely and reliable PVF critical intelligence.


Although these may seem like basic objectives, let me assure you that the strategic planning discussion covered very specific methods on how to achieve each of them. I asked the question in my January letter, “How does ASA plan on accomplishing its mission?” Interactive planning sessions like what I just described are one prime example. Two more specific examples that immediately come to mind include ASA’s upcoming Legislative Fly-In, to be held May 3-4 in Washington, D.C., and the ASA Young Executives division’s Spring Forum, to be held May 23-25 in Kohler, WI.

The Legislative Fly-In is a unique opportunity for ASA members to personally meet with decision-makers in Washington to educate them on the critical issues facing our industry. The Spring Forum will feature Rick Johnson, a 30-year veteran of the wholesale distribution industry. His presentation is titled, “Strategic Leadership During Economic Recovery.” You won’t want to miss the opportunity to attend or send one or more of your employees to these valuable events. Please visit www.asa.net for more details.

In closing, as we look to the future of our association, we need to remind ourselves to continue to build and balance the relationship between ASA, the buying groups and national distributors. This relationship building will come with two key elements: time and proper planning. These, coupled with ASA’s four core strengths of Education, Advocacy, Benchmarking and Networking, will allow us to Deliver the Mission moving forward!



   Bill Kenny

Kenny Pipe & Supply



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