Academic journal article Business Economics

Strategies for NABE's Long Term

Academic journal article Business Economics

Strategies for NABE's Long Term

Article excerpt

NABE has engaged in a major "roadmapping" exercise to develop its strategies for the long term. Its goal was to determine NABE's purpose, values, direction, and the means of achieving its goals. Four major initiatives are presented and discussed; and the importance of continuing professional education is emphasized, as is the critical role of NABE members' participation in its activities.

Business Economics (2014) 49, 207-210.

doi:10.1057/be.2014.34

Keywords: NABE, national association for business economics, strategy, continuing education

Let me begin with a brilliantly written passage (and one of my favorites) from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where--"said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"--so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Like Alice, we often ask ourselves: "Which way should I go from here?" And the Cheshire Cat's response--that it depends on where you want to get to--is advice we at NABE have taken to heart.

So, today I am going to do something that may be totally out of character for a NABE Presidential Address--I am going to deliver remarks that actually fall in line with our annual meeting theme, which coincidentally speak to the Cheshire Cat's advice. That theme is "Beyond the Business Cycle: Strategies for the Long Term" While I confess to having some influence in developing that theme, I promise you that it was not selected for the sole purpose of adding relevance to my remarks today.

As I have gotten older and gained experience (I am now living through my 11th business cycle, according to the NB ER), I find myself less eager to drop the newest data point in my model, less anxious about every FOMC twitch, and more forgiving of one poor quarterly earnings report. Rather, I am more focused on our country's future, its global competitiveness, its fiscal security, and our strategy in dealing with these issues.

A year ago when the various NABE conference committees met to decide on themes I encouraged our chairs to think less about the present and more about the future--the long-run in economist-speak. We all agreed that business leaders, policymakers, and economists had all become too preoccupied with the short-term performance of the economy. Perhaps that was due to the recent recession, perhaps because the short term is always easier to think about and to forecast. But clearly, it was the right time to refocus our critical thinking on future challenges.

I am going to pivot here now, because a number of talented economists at this conference have addressed these concerns for the U.S. and global economies. Instead, I'm going to focus inward--on NABE--and our own "strategies for the long term."

This year, our conferences, our conversations, and our membership were laser-focused on the long term. So NABE leadership asked ourselves: Wouldn't it be poor form if we ourselves fell into the easy trap of short-term thinking? I'm happy to say that we didn't. Instead, we undertook a major planning effort--I have dubbed this "NABE's Roadmapping Exercise'."

We developed a roadmap to help identify and clarify initiatives, both ongoing and future ones, and to guide the NABE Board of Directors and staff.

Our goal was to answer the questions: What is our purpose as an organization? And, taking a page out of Alice in Wonderland again: Where should we be going, and how do we get there?

As someone who has participated in a number of strategic planning initiatives with various organizations, I can state confidently that the best time to take on an exercise like this is when things are going well. …

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