Dear SRS Members,
It was a pleasure to see many of you in person in Charlotte at SLEEP 2022. I hope you had an enjoyable and productive rest of your summer!
An initial focus of the first few months of my Presidency has been to lead a significant revision of the SRS strategic plan (this is the SRS’s third such plan). I would like to take this opportunity to describe the process of achieving this major, important goal and to present you with the final revised strategic plan, which will serve as a highly effective roadmap for the SRS in upcoming years.
A few months ago, we distributed a survey to over 100 of our members, including those serving on SRS committees and task forces, to help identify unaddressed needs of the society membership and to help prioritize those needs. We used this survey feedback as part of our discussions during three virtual strategic planning sessions held in July; across these sessions we systematically reviewed the degree of progress achieved towards each of our current strategic priorities and goals and mapped out what remained to be accomplished in order to meet those goals. As such, this was a deliberate and planned process, and I want to thank those who participated for their significant time and effort in this endeavor. The SRS Board of Directors met in August to review all the valuable input we had received and to determine the direction of the SRS for the next four years. We systematically discussed each of our current strategic priorities and goals, and how to expand or revise these priorities, and then finalized the revised plan.
Recently, I shared the revised strategic plan with our committee and task force chairs and vice chairs. I requested them to share the plan with their respective committees/task forces, with the goal of reviewing their current activities and matching them with at least one of the strategic objectives. I also asked them to consider whether there were any objectives within the mandate of their committee that were not being addressed, and to consider new activities and initiatives to address those objectives.
Below is our revised strategic plan, which I will describe to you in detail.
This structure begins with the formulation of a Mission Statement for the Organization and an accompanying “Central Challenge”. This is followed by identifying a set of “Strategic Priorities” for the Society that are driven by the Mission Statement and Central Challenge, each of which includes a set of “Strategic Objectives” that are to be achieved in order to advance that “Strategic Priority”. Lastly, a set of cross-cutting Priorities are identified that are relevant for all the “Strategic Priorities” and are intended to be considered in planning for achieving all the “Strategic Objectives”.
As I describe below, the Revision of our Plan represents a fine-tuning of the existing plan and not a drastic revision. Notably, the Mission Statement for our Society was expanded to add specific reasons for our purpose–-it was modified from, “The Sleep Research Society advances sleep and circadian science” to “The Sleep Research Society advances sleep and circadian science to cultivate knowledge and to optimize health and well-being”. The Central Challenge was modified from “Build a Robust, Diverse, Engaged, Sleep and Circadian Research Community” to “Grow and Foster a Collaborative, Diverse and Inclusive Sleep and Circadian Community”. The changes to the Central Challenge were instituted to prioritize working towards greater collaboration and inclusivity in our Society and to highlight our continued emphasis on diversity.
The Revised Strategic Plan includes a set of modifications to the Strategic Priorities, and also a reordering, such that former Strategic Priority B is now Strategic Priority D, former Strategic Priority C is now Strategic Priority B and former Strategic Priority D is now Strategic Priority C. This reordering allows Strategic Priorities A-C, which are all focused on our members, to be grouped together and broader Society initiatives, reflected in Strategic Priorities D and E, to be grouped together.
- Strategic Priority A was changed from “Strengthen Membership Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention” to “Enhance Membership Value, Recruitment and Retention”. The purpose of this change is to explicitly highlight membership value, in addition to recruitment and retention.
- Strategic Priority B (formerly Priority C) was changed from “Enhance Vibrancy and Breadth of Scientific Offerings” to “Enhance the Breadth and Depth of Scientific Offerings” to highlight prioritizing greater depth of scientific content.
- Strategic Priority C (formerly Priority D) was changed from: “Strengthen the Quality of Career Development Programs and Services” to “Expand and Bolster the Sleep and Circadian Pipeline In and Outside of Academia” to prioritize emphasis on the pipeline across all career sectors.
- Strategic Priority D (formerly Priority B) was slightly changed from “Maximize Impact of Advocacy and Outreach” to “Maximize Advocacy and Outreach” for conciseness.
- Strategic Priority E was changed from “Increase and Sustain Resources to Achieve Goals” to “Increase, Broaden and Sustain Resources”. This change underscores the need to broaden our sources of fundraising as part of our long-term strategy to sustain the elevated level of success we have achieved via our fundraising campaigns.
In addition, there are three cross-cutting Strategic Priorities in our Plan. We added a third cross-cutting Strategic Priority: “Increase Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Accessibility”. The Board of Directors felt that diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility are integral to all our activities. We only slightly modified the two other cross-cutting Strategic Priorities. One was modified from “Develop Strategic Partnerships Nationally and Internationally” to “Develop and Strengthen Strategic Partnerships Nationally and Internationally” and the other from “Increase Organizational Effectiveness and Adaptability” to “Support Organizational Effectiveness, Efficiency and Adaptability”.
Changes to the Strategic Objectives refining existing Strategic Objectives, adding new Objectives and reordering a few Strategic Objectives to prioritize these within its Strategic Priority.
- Strategic Objectives for Strategic Priority A – “Enhance Membership Value, Recruitment and Retention” were changed as follows:
- We retained all four Objectives but made wording changes to each Objective. The changes highlight membership value as an important consideration and further emphasize member recruitment and retention, and inclusivity. Our final Objectives are as follows: “Provide Benefits that Maximize Membership Value, Retention and Recruitment”, “Improve the Value, Impact and Transparency of Communication”, “Implement Innovative Recruitment and Retention Strategies Across Scientific Disciplines” and “Increase Involvement of Members in Society Leadership and Activities”.
- Strategic Objectives for Strategic Priority B – “Enhance the Breadth and Depth of Scientific Offerings” were changed in the following ways:
- We retained all three Objectives but made wording changes to each Objective. Our final Objectives are as follows: “Ensure SRS Meetings and Events Fulfill the Needs of Members Across Scientific Disciplines”, “Identify and Promote Cutting-Edge and Wide-Ranging Research” and “Develop and Disseminate Sleep and Circadian Education Resources”.
- Strategic Objectives for Strategic Priority C – “Expand and Bolster the Sleep and Circadian Pipeline In and Outside of Academia” were changed as follows:
- One of the former Objectives, “Expand the Pipeline of Sleep and Circadian Researchers” was deemed as of critical significance and was promoted in the Plan; it became the basis of the newly titled Strategic Priority, with an additional emphasis on focusing on all job sectors.
- One of the former Objectives, “Develop Domestic and International Training and Career Opportunities in Academia, Industry, and Government”, was replaced by “Identify and Develop Resources for Students and Trainees” to generalize this objective and to address the perceived need to focus efforts and resources on our most junior members in the pipeline.
- We added a new Objective, “Identify and Cultivate Mentorship, Coaching and Sponsorship Opportunities” to address the perceived need for enhanced mentorship and coaching to provide support to all of our members, and the need to increase sponsorship opportunities for all of our members.
- One of the former Objectives, “Expand Career Development Programs to Facilitate Transition to Independence” was generalized to “Extend Career Development Resources and Activities to Facilitate Advancement” to include members at all levels of their careers and across all job areas.
- Strategic Objectives for Strategic Priority D – “Maximize Advocacy and Outreach” were changed in the following ways:
- We retained all three Objectives but made wording changes to each Objective. Our final Objectives are as follows: “Sustain Intensive Engagement With Various Government Agencies”, “Develop Relationships and Collaborations with Non-Governmental Stakeholders”, and “Engage in Public Outreach and Stakeholder-Informed Education”.
- Strategic Objectives for Strategic Priority E – “Increase, Broaden and Sustain Resources” were changed as follows:
- We retained all three Objectives but reordered these to emphasize importance and made minor wording changes to two Objectives. Our final Objectives are as follows: “Explore and Develop New Methods of Generating Funds”, “Leverage Member Expertise as a Resource”, and “Increase and Sustain Fundraising Efforts”.
These changes were intended to maximize the capacity of the SRS Strategic Plan to continue to be a highly effective roadmap for our Organization for the next four years. I look forward to working with the SRS membership to implement this revised Strategic Plan during the remainder of my SRS Presidency.
Namni Goel, PhD
Sleep Research Society