The History of Red Angus – And Steve Haines’ Initial Involvement
(Red Angus Association of America) – Pages 102-103 – Dr. Bob Hough @ 2004
Strategic Plan 2000
Perhaps the greatest legacy of Melvin Leland’s Presidency is the Strategic Planning Process, which, when completed, outlined the direction of the Association for the next decade. To ensure the success of the effort, the Board budgeted $18,000 for the process, and Gilbert identified and hired Stephen Haines to serve as the facilitator. The Core Planning Committee consisted of Melvin Leland, Lelad Leachman, Howard Bobbitt, Gini Chase, Spike Forbes and David Klindt, as well as Red Angus employees Dick Gilbert, Mona Price of the registration department and magazine editor Dora Hilburn. The group met twice in the fall of 1993, producing a document to be further reviewed by the remainder of the Board and staff, as well as the membership, by conducting regional meetings.
Announcing the Strategic Planning Process to the membership, Leland wrote, “Our Board is presently involved in developing a Strategic Long Range Plan. This process will require dedicated commitment and discipline from the Board, the staff and the membership. We hope to chart our future direction and formulate a strategy and timetable for program development and implementation.” Referring to the planned regional meetings to gather membership input, he further explained, “Our planning core committee has now completed three intense days of its development and will do considerable more between now and January. I hope as a membership that you won’t take this process lightly, but rather use it as an opportunity to input the future for Red Angus in the year 2000. Developing and implementing a long-range plan is actually more a process of managing change. Failing to manage for the future increases the risk of ending up without one. Our future plans and management need to always keep our function as a breed in perspective and never forget that the consumer ultimately drives the train. Yet, as Will Rogers once said, ‘Even those on the right track will get run over if they don’t move.”
The planning committee developed Six Core Strategies that were given to the Board and membership to review. The Core Strategies were:
- Improve our long-term financial and leadership stability through continuous, proactive implementation of the Strategic Plan.
- Improve existing programs, customer service, communication and relationships among staff and members.
- Develop and implement new programs and services that will enhance the value of our breed and breeders.
- Implement an education program to increase the skills and industry knowledge of our staff and members.
- Assist our members in their marketing of Red Angus cattle, both by providing specific marketing services and by improving the industry awareness and acceptance of Red Angus.
- Pursue and develop alliances with other red breeds and international Angus registries.
Some of the priorities within these core strategies included:
- Build a financial reserve.
- Establish an appropriate entity to receive charitable contributions and administer scholarships.
- Implement Total Herd Reporting.
- Streamline all registration processes.
- Provide for more electronic transfer of information.
- Develop promotional literature for prospective members.
- Expand the number of EPDs reported.
- Define research and development opportunities and priorities.
- Determine feasibility of breed-wide sampling of carcass traits by ultrasound.
- Develop specifications for a marketing program.
- Determine requirements for and, if appropriate, recruit a Marketing Coordinator.
- Develop an identification and certification program for feeder and/or fed cattle, and a carcass merit program.
- Establish breed alliance committee.
- Maintain our desirability as a partner breed by focusing on the strengths and services of the association and the cattle.
Starting in the spring of 1994, the plan was explained in a series of articles in the American Red Angus Magazine by Dick Gilbert. When introducing the Strategic Plan, Gilbert wrote: “This document is the dynamic blueprint for the growth of the Red Angus Association of America through the end of this century. It is the product of 6 months of intensive discussions by the Planning Committee members, feedback from regional meetings and correspondence with individual members. We have been fortunate to have enlisted the services of Stephen G. Haines of Strategic Management Group as our planning consultant and facilitator. Steve has the rare ability to stimulate an intensive examination of his client’s hopes and aspirations without inserting his own solutions. His guidance and encouragement throughout this process have been a major contribution to the quality of this Plan.
We now have a vision of where we want to be, an assessment of where we are now, and a set of criteria to measure our progress. We have defined the values that describe how we do business and developed a list of strategies and priorities to move us from where we are to where we want to be.
The future is uncertain. We will always be faced with change, so we need to manage change rather than react to it. This planning process has provided us with a system to lead, manage, and change the Association in a well-planned, integrated manner based on our strategies. This systems approach also provides a management process that will change the way we do business day-to-day. The priorities from the plan become the priorities for our annual budgets, assuring that we focus our resources in those areas that move us toward our vision.
A plan is of little value by itself. This document is the first step toward creating a high-performance, customer-focused organization that will benefit all stakeholders – our members, our employees, the board of directors, and all those with whom we do business. I encourage each of you to take part in making our future happen.”
Although the Board did not officially accept the Strategic Plan until their May 1994 meeting, parts of the plan were implemented as early as January 1994. (And the Red Angus Strategic Management System continues to this day – Red Angus Association of America is the premiere cattle association in the USA.)
Note: Red Angus continues with this yearly Strategic Management System and Cycle as of 2005. They are now clear leaders in the industry.