This summer my little girl, Zoe, kept seeing
a "monster" outside the living room windows at night. We finally
figured out it was a stray opossum who had decided it liked the
taste of good dog food.
Zoe called it "Posmos" -- and, at first, it was cute
and an amusement. Then it started waking us up regularly at about
1 a.m., primarily because our beagle would start howling and barking
every time Posmos stole his food.
Besides the sleep depravation, I was concerned our
beagle or some neighbor dog would kill it (or it would kill the
beagle), so I started trying to figure a long-range solution. Animal
Control said that I would have to catch it, and then they would
pick it up. Thanks a lot!
For several nights, I tried to jump out and catch
it with a sack, but Posmos proved to be very light on his feet --
and could see better in the dark than I.
several nights of poor sleep, I awakened once again to Posmos' scratching
and our beagle's barking. When I looked outside I could see that
this time Posmos had found the gold mine; my son had left the lid
open to the plastic chest where we kept the dog food. Posmos was
sitting in the chest on his haunches, merrily picking up the food
with his paws and eating like he was at some great marsupial banquet.
Suddenly, I realized I had a trap! All I needed was
something to spring it. Then my eyes rested on one of my son's stray
baseballs. As stealthily as possible, I crept outside without attracting
I didn't want to hit Posmos, so just as I threw the
ball, I yelled. Posmos ducked down, the ball hit the lid, and it
sprung back and closed. I rushed over, locked the lid and sat on
top. Mission accomplished.
I slid back into bed looking finally for a good night's
sleep. Just as I began to drift away, my wife whispered "That poor
thing is going to suffocate."
I spent the next hour making sure Posmos had air
and water. Planning is everything.
It is said, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
Certainly, that was the case with catching Posmos.
But if necessity is the mother, then "Innovation"
may be the father. At least it is an important part of any plan.
In August, AAPG's Advisory Council and several invited
guests met at the request of AAPG President Steve Sonnenberg to
conduct strategic planning for AAPG. A special committee was convened
in 1991 and 1998 to conduct long range planning. Many of their recommendations
have been initiated, so Steve felt it was time to develop a full
The timeline of the plan is designed in six parts:
- Survey of member's thoughts on the industry,
our association and their futures (see June EXPLORER).
- Initial meeting to discuss core purposes
of AAPG and basic strategic objectives (August meeting).
- A four-month period to test ideas with
- Final development of strategic plan and
action items at AAPG's Leadership Conference in February 2004.
- Implementation of action items.
- Evaluation of results.
The Advisory Council members first discussed this
status of AAPG and industry. Next, they discussed "Core Ideology,"
defined by the "Core Purpose" of the association and the "Core Values"
of its members.
Next, the group started discussing and evaluating
four planning horizons.
- The first planning horizon is the envisioned
future for the next 10 to 30 years. This step involves looking
far into the future and defining a "big audacious goal" for the
- The second involves defining critical
factors for the next five-to-10 years. The Advisory Council discussed
assumptions about the future and started recommending strategic
- The third horizon is detailed strategic
planning for three-to-five years. It involves goals and strategies
to reach those goals. It also involves organizational strategy.
- Fourth is action planning for the next
one-to-two years. This is basically an immediate business plan
to implement all of the above.
Although the timeline for this plan is designed to
last one year, strategic planning is really a continuous effort.
You will be hearing and seeing the results of the plan as they unfold.
The important thing is to make AAPG more proactive.
In capturing Posmos I was reacting to the situation.
I couldn't leave him in the chest, so I needed a plan to see if
he could be saved. The next day I called Animal Control. They said
they were closed on Monday (I guess there are no wild animals on
that day), but said I could release him into the country (at least
that's what they would do).
We released him in the country, but we had a hard
time getting him out of the box. I guess the security of a nice
warm place with food and water is hard to give up.
The purpose of the strategic plan is security and
benefits for the association and its members. Implementation is
the key to any plan, so we are looking forward to developing the
strategic plan and making sure that it is used for the benefit of
AAPG members, their respective industries, and the security of the