This year the SIMA board of directors progressed toward anticipating and planning for the future by deciding to become visionary leaders. This means more than just undergoing the typical process of assembling a strategic plan. We have a strategic plan and routinely report updates on the projects and programs within the plan. This is much more of a cultural change with the potential to be transformational.
The board and professional staff leaders spent two days this fall determining the long-term vision for the future — not only for SIMA but also for the entire snow and ice industry — for 5, 10 and 20 years from now. In 20 years, who and what types of equipment and materials will be plowing snow and melting ice? What will our customers be like and seek in a service provider? What types of technology will impact our work? Will there be a true disruptor that will dramatically change snow services (think Uber or Lyft for taxi cabs)? These were some of the questions we addressed collectively and discussed, debated and for which we anticipated solutions. It was a profound couple of days and a good experience for all involved.
This is a marked change from the beginnings of SIMA. When you are a fledgling association with limited resources, you look and act differently than you do when you start to mature and have sustained growth. The industry has also matured over time. There are more educational opportunities, higher levels of sophistication, collective best practices and collaborative sharing of knowledge. That collective, often bound in an association, makes everyone better. SIMA is growing up, and we are now thinking long term.
With visionary thinking, this question can be applied to for-profit and non-profit business: “If, through advancing our mission, we could have impact we always desired, what would this success look like in 5, 10 or 20 years?”
Coming to a collective vision
The answers aren’t easy. The process can get messy. There are gray areas, debating and making tough choices. What it results in is more time devoted to issues that truly impact snow and ice professionals. We are thinking about the member benefits and resources that SIMA expertly provides — the items that you would miss most if you were not a member. The outcome of this is a collective vision. When a group of diverse stakeholders agrees to a collective vision, the results can be incredibly powerful and potentially transformational.
The SIMA board of directors and I look forward to the ongoing process of improvement and helping snow and ice companies grow through their membership.
Martin Tirado is chief executive officer of SIMA. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-236-9951.