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Director’s Desk: Building the Future

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Angela Bole-Directors DeskBy Angela Bole, IBPA Executive Director

[Originally published in the January 2014 edition of IBPA’s Independent.]

It’s January, and New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. This is the month when you can’t find an open treadmill at the gym no matter how early you arrive. When more than one friend tells you, “I’m shutting down Facebook so I have more time for yoga.” When people offering guitar lessons find their schedules overfull.

And, of course, we’re following through on resolutions of our own here at IBPA headquarters.

In November 2013, the IBPA staff and board of directors met to discuss a strategic plan for the association. The plan has now been in place for two months, and many of the objectives are starting to materialize. It’s an exciting time and I’m thrilled to walk you through some highlights from the plan.

The Environment We Operate In

IBPA operates in an increasingly crowded and confusing marketplace.

Many sources are selling and providing services that speak to the needs of independent publishers and self-published authors. Being able to provide a clear message and value statement for current and future IBPA members is more critical than ever.

IBPA’s strategic plan was drafted, in part, to address this issue. As 2014 begins and we look forward to another year of opportunities for independent publishers and self-published authors, it’s important to appreciate the distinct value IBPA brings as your professional publishing association. In last month’s “Director’s Desk” I suggested that the IBPA community needs IBPA to exist because we provide the inspiration, education, and innovative programs that independent publishers and self-published authors need to compete with the traditional players.

In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, this kind of trusted guidance is more important than ever.

Our Internal Culture

IBPA provides a results-driven, supportive work environment that encourages staff to take personal responsibility for providing solutions to our members, without fear of failure. Following the Lucca Leadership model of transformational leadership, the IBPA staff works from the shared values listed below, with the idea that real growth—in work and in life—comes when these values are put into action:

— Health and happiness are everyone’s right, not just the many or the few.
— We belong to a single human family.
— We can cooperate, not just compete.
— Everyone can make a difference for the better.
— The essence of leadership is service.
— The ends and the means are the same.

We always:
— Tell each other the truth.
— Respond with grace.
— Stay above reproach.
— Mentor and learn.

Not a bad place to work.

Our Key Objectives and Strategies

IBPA has identified three key outward-facing objectives. These objectives broadly describe what the IBPA staff and board of directors feel we need to accomplish to be successful as your professional publishing association.

The degree to which we’ve been able to meet each objective will be discussed during upcoming board meetings. As necessary, the board will tweak these objectives to address emerging opportunities.

Objective 1:
Advance a program of thought leadership. We will position IBPA as a trusted thought leader in the crowded and confusing independent publishing marketplace. We will be seen as the “go-to” source of information on all things independent publishing.

What this means in English: We will continue working to make the IBPA Website an authoritative resource for everything that matters to independent publishers, who can cooperate, not just compete. Have you checked out our blog lately?

Objective 2:
Strengthen products. We will create and sustain products, services, and business solutions that are highly valued by our members and the independent publishing community at large. We will organize our products so our portfolio is easy to understand and digest.

What this means in English: We will conduct a survey of members to evaluate our current programs and products. We will revise programs and products where necessary and add new ones to fill any gaps that are identified.

Objective 3:
Grow membership. We will implement a program for membership retention and growth.

What this means in English: We will identify new groups of potential members and develop a plan to reach them. We will create and execute an ongoing membership renewal campaign. We will foster stronger bonds between IBPA and its affiliate associations.

IBPA’s Strategic Plan Is Your Strategic Plan

Throughout all the thinking, talking, and planning around IBPA’s new strategic plan, one thing was always certain: IBPA is at its best when it leads and serves from the simple mantra “Helping each other achieve and succeed.”

IBPA exists for its members; IBPA’s strategic plan is your strategic plan. We look forward to working with you in the year ahead to bring the promise to fruition.

Angela Bole-Directors DeskAbout the Author: Just before Angela became IBPA’s Executive Director, she was Deputy Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG), which fosters conversation and consensus across all sectors of the book business. Before that, Angela served for two years as BISG’s Associate Director and two years as its Marketing and Communications Manager.

Angela also serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of IDPF, the International Digital Publishing Forum.

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