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Week 4: Strategy for the Soon-To-Be Graduate by Dayl Eccles
April 25, 2013
 
I always liked making food. There was something magical that happened when you took base ingredients, with different properties and scents and flavors, and combined them together to create something satisfying to your palate. It’s an experiment where if my food turns out burnt, I gladly accept it anyway. I understand cooking; I don’t need books or papers telling me how I should accomplish my end goal of “meal”. Baking, however, has always turned out miserably. You have to follow the recipe exactly, and even then you can’t predict how altitude or making your flour packed will affect the end product. All of the recipes have to be tested and perfected by someone else before the recipe is distributed for replication by others. Most of all, baking doesn’t provide room for me play with the pieces to see how the individual components work.
 
This way of approaching the world translates to my experiences here at AACP, an organization with a carefully defined Mission and Vision. I am simultaneously drawn to finding out exactly how the individual workers contribute to the big picture, and yet want to accomplish this goal without ever having to physically look at the structured plan. I have been able to accomplish many things in my life without a structured set of goals or plans, after all. When I was charged with the big picture task of suggesting ways for global pharmacy to be integrated into the Strategic Plan, I gladly began combing through the Operational Plan’s details.
 
Without background on how the Strategic Plan was developed, however, it was difficult to understand the rationale of how current tasks in the Operational Plan were prioritized and chosen. I was curious how it worked so arranged a meeting with Jen Adams, the Senior Director of Strategic Academic Partnerships, who was familiar with AACP Governance; I did not have any intention of gaining a desire to incorporate the skill of Strategic Planning into other organizations I am involved with, though.
 
As Jen described the history of AACP’s Strategic Plan, I was able to begin connecting the dots from the smaller tasks to the actual Mission and Vision. Knowing how Strategic Planning has a whole field of consultants and a dedicated staff member in many organizations, I began to realize that this method of planning was a way to keep associations from drifting away from their purpose. Planning in a strategic way reminds you of the big picture while you accomplish the small tasks, and is something I see can being utilized even on a personal level. When it comes to my involvement with pharmacy organizations or to making myself cookies, this week will remind me to take a moment to remind myself that the recipe is written that way for a reason. Taking a moment to define the small parts will accomplish the goal at the end.
 
Dayl Eccles, PharmD Student
University of Washington

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