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Today our APMP board of directors is participating in a long-range planning meeting to look at opportunities and how APMP may better serve its members over the next few years. The board, made up of members and professionals like yourself, is participating in a retreat today to discuss in-person how APMP has evolved with the profession and how we plan to keep pace with its dynamic future. We also want to invite you to participate no matter where you are in the world (more on that, below).
The planning is being facilitated by one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected long-range planning consultants, Seth Kahan, and APMP was fortunate enough to secure his services. APMP last engaged in paid long-term planning support in 2011; and many of the plans set forth seven years ago have been met—or overwhelmingly exceeded—like growing our membership and our annual conference attendance.
So where do we go from here?
Two constant questions that are steering us today to determine what we invest in are:
- how will the investment enhance the careers and professional development of our members, and
- how will the investment grow APMP membership?
With these questions in mind, the board is hard at work discussing plans and developing targets for us to achieve together over the next few years. Our planning efforts are starting to take shape and are focusing on four main areas:
- Better Member Resources Through Industry Benchmarking. Members have been asking for industry-wide benchmarking information for a long time, and we’re talking about how we are nearly ready to deliver. Over the next 30 to 60 days, members in the U.S. will be invited to participate in a survey. The resulting report will give bid and proposal professionals (and their executive sponsors) insight into how their work matches up in the industry. The board will help ensure we have good participation in the survey in order to deliver an exhaustive and robust report. The board will also address how the results inform future programming. We have also just discussed how we will immediately follow-up the APMP U.S. Benchmarking Survey with an APMP Benchmarking Survey UK.
- International Growth. APMP is an international organization now, with rapidly growing membership throughout Europe. That means our programming needs to support members in that area and we are poised to do so. That has been a big part of this morning’s discussion. In addition, the board will investigate how APMP can serve international members outside of the United States and Europe.
- Practitioner Certification. There has been a lot of positive talk today about the January soft launch of the new APMP objective testing exam (OTE) to replace the essay-format Practitioner certification assessment. There will be a six-month transition period until we fully switch to the OTE in July 2019. The board will help APMP roll out the new exam in a way that meets the standards and needs of our members. Board members are excited about this program and can’t wait for members to bring it back.
- Small Business Support. The board has been talking about how we evaluate how we support entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of whom need training on how to pursue new business. If this association wants to lead the conversation on bids and proposals for all, the small business owners have got to be a part of the conversation. The board is looking at programs and education we can offer this sub-set of members (and potential members) in the coming years.
A lot of time and investment toward many of these efforts began in 2018, and the board will help us fully execute these long-range programs. I’ll be excited to report back after the meeting to share their full plans and ideas, but I thought it would be helpful for our members to want to learn what we are talking about today, while the meeting is happening.
If you have thoughts or ideas on programs or resources that are needed that you would like me to share with the Board, please e-mail me directly and I’ll let the Board know before we convene this evening. We’ve put up a flip chart called “What Members Really Want” and I would appreciate if you help us fill it.
Rick Harris, CF APMP, is the Executive Director of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals. During his tenure, the association has nearly tripled in size and now serves bid and proposal professionals around the world. He can be reached at email@example.com.