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Strategic Planning at NACE International: Third in a Series

Last month, we defined ideology as a body of beliefs that guide individuals or large groups.

To define our core ideology, the NACE International Board of Directors recognized that we must answer three questions:

Why do we exist in the marketplace? That is, what is our noble cause; our core purpose?

How are we supposed to behave with one another? That is, what are our cultural beliefs and core values?

What is it that we do? That is, what is our mission?

Cultural Beliefs and Core Values

Since we discussed “Why we exist?” last month, we can now consider “How we are supposed to behave with one another?” The board spent long hours answering this question. Directors took online surveys, participated in workshops, and debated outcomes in board meetings. In the end, the board created a description of our cultural beliefs and our core values.

Cultural beliefs describe how people individually and collectively interact with one another to get things done. We would hope that if organizational psychologists were to visit a local section meeting, an area conference, committee meetings at Corrosion Technology Week, and our flagship CORROSION conference, and mingle among staff at our regional and headquarters locations, they would describe NACE as follows:

Our Cultural Beliefs

NACE has dedicated members and staff at all levels with great expertise and technical skills, working collaboratively to maintain and grow a community of professionals who:

• Engage and collaborate in a participatory environment to provide direction and strategy for the association

• Provide the expertise and required knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide world-class programs and services

• Demonstrate commitment and compassion to keep NACE operating in accordance with our core values

Core values are an important component of our cultural beliefs. There are many values that our members share, but our core values rise to the top. They represent the litmus test against which all actions and behaviors should be measured.

To identify our core values, the Board broke into four teams. Each member was asked to write the names of three people, past or present members or staff that manifest what they felt were the true fundamental values that make NACE the wonderful association it is. Under those names they created a list of values that all three individuals shared. The teams of five then got together. Each member shared their list of names. Only values that were shared by all of the group’s most admired members and staff survived to the next step.

The entire group of 20 repeated the process. What came out of the session were four values that are at the core of our association:

Our Core Values

• Dedication—passion to the cause, driven by our core purpose

• Vision—thinking and planning for the future with imagination and wisdom

• Collaboration—working well with others, inside and outside the association

• Professionalism—competent and expertise-driven; engaging the people who have the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to accomplish the goal at hand

Our cultural beliefs and core values clearly define “How we should behave.” We’ll address the third and final element of our core ideology next month.

Note: This article is maintained as part of an ongoing series of posts on the NACE web site.

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