Sunday, December 16, 2012


Word has reached us from inside the dark corridors of 25 Broadway that JFNA professionals and, no doubt, some consultant(s) (but with no lay leader involvement) will spew out yet another "strategic plan." This will mark, by my count, the sixth so-called "plan" in the 12 years since the merger -- not one of the prior five "plans" has had a single positive impact on JFNA or a single benefit to the federations -- there is no reason to believe that this one will produce any more than the prior five.

Whether for better or worse, this will mark the first time in my experience that any Jewish communal organization will have published a plan produced without lay involvement -- even the worst of the prior plans was a work product that bore the stamp of professional and lay leader alike. This one will spring forth to the JFNA Executive wholly without the input of any lay leader -- the JFNA Executive Committee will be asked to approve something in which none of them had any input.

So, what's to be done with this...thing? I would respectfully suggest that JFNA's lay Chairs immediately appoint a Planning Committee of federation lay and professional leaders sending the so-called "strategic plan" to that Committee for intensive review and, as necessary, modification, rejection or approval. For JFNA's professionals to believe that something they drafted should be approved without study by or real input from the organization's Board members and community professionals would be the ultimate surrender of fiduciary responsibility.

Now, there is every possibility that now that word is out that there was never any intent on the part of this professional group to do anything but seek approval of a document without prior Board review or input, some flack will emerge to announce that of course, it was always staff's intent that this "plan" be subjected to a Committee process. Or, perhaps, they'll deny that there is any "plan," deferring the spew to a later date.  If you believe any of that, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.



Anonymous said...

Isn't this typical of failed/failing organizations? You have nothing going so you dummy up a "strategic plan" and then these professionals plead for more time to implement it even as they keep on doing all the same things. It's really pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Although you, Richard, and most of your readers can predict the responses, a quick rather short survey can easily gage federation wants in the areas of FRD, planning, networking, short term consulting, Personnel, Govt relations and conferences. From there a work plan that separates the essential from the frivolous can be created with lay involvement in weeks not months. With a JFNA commitment to remaining focused, even a budget neutral JFNA would gain acceptance sans cuts sans additional expenditures.