President's Message: What next? The need for a strategic plan

This fall, OGR’s board of directors will embark on the development of a new three-year strategic plan for our great organization. Arguably, there has not been a time in our 92-year history when purposeful and thoughtful planning has been needed in our industry more than it is now, and OGR is ready to do its part to help us all ensure we are able to continue to be the best of the best when it comes to providing exceptional funeral care.

Mary F. SteeleAs the country and world prepare to dig out from the challenges of 2020, it can become easy to lose ourselves in the perceived desperation to survive. Let’s instead use the noise around us as a motivator to show that the Golden Rule isn’t just a name or catchphrase, it’s fundamental to the way we do business.

As OGR plans for the years ahead, we will learn from yesterday without dwelling on it. I hope each of you are able to do the same in your own funeral homes as you look to 2021 and beyond.

Success does not happen by accident. You need to plan. Each of us has the opportunity to do just that, regardless of where we think we’ve been or the weight we’ve felt on our shoulders these past several months.

The funeral care industry is not the same as it was 92 years ago. Some may argue it’s not the same as it was just six months ago. The services we provide and the way we provide them have evolved significantly.

Think about it: How many of us were actively considering online streaming of funeral services for our families just 12 months ago? With countless streamed services now under our belts, how many of us will likely include streaming as an optional add-on for any service from now on? Dare we ask, what else could change in the way we provide services over the next 12 months?

Questions the board will consider:

  • How are those we serve changing?
  • What are our key strengths?
  • Where do we struggle?
  • What threats are we facing and anticipating?
  • What practices or services have run their course and could be retired to make room for new ideas?
  • Among all the noise and competition, what is our unique value proposition?
  • What are our true priorities and goals?
  • What is likely to get in our way and what can we do about that?
  • How will we know if we are succeeding, even incrementally?

Your OGR leadership understands there is risk involved with change, and please know we are not looking to make changes merely for change’s sake. But we appreciate that in order to be sustainable and relevant as an organization for another 92 years, we need to be willing to take a hard look at who we are and what we need to be for the next century of membership. We need to learn from our past but focus on our future.

John F. Kennedy once remarked, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” Perhaps it is time for us as an organization and as an industry to get a little uncomfortable and take action that can help us determine our own future.

Yours in service,

Mary Flynn Steele

This message originally ran in the Fall 2020 issue of The IndependentClick here to read the entire issue.

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