In his book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins talks about what makes a great company. His first line in the book is, “Good is the enemy of Great!”
I think that Collins is saying it is often easy to be satisfied with the status quo when everything is going well. Sometimes I think it takes a greater effort to move from good to great than it does poor to good.
In the Association we wrestle with these concepts constantly. AAPG has a number of good programs, but we also have a very complicated list of programs – some of which need improvement. The question is, “How do we make those programs the best?”
The answer is usually to focus on core values and listen to the membership about their needs.
Communication is a key element to improvement.
I recently traveled to the Asia-Pacific Region to meet with Joe Lambiase, the AAPG Region president, and the Region council. I also met with Adrienne Pereira, AAPG’s Asia-Pacific office managing consultant in Singapore.
On the way to Singapore I stopped in Japan and Malaysia and met with members, students and industry representatives. It was a great trip and I learned a lot by listening to the needs of the membership.
I also met with the presidents and officers of two AAPG’s affiliated societies – the Geological Society of Malaysia and SEAPEX. Both have good programs; it is important for AAPG to coordinate and communicate its programs with the societies to make sure we do not overlap.
In the Asia-Pacific Region, the leadership and staff are considering what is “best” to provide to our membership, the larger petroleum community and even the general public. AAPG Distinguished Lecturers are well received and the program is considered excellent; however, there is a need for more lecturers. As a result the Executive Committee is considering expanding the mission of the Visiting Geoscientist Program so we can reach more people in the area.
Professional development is another area of opportunity. AAPG is looking for its “niche” in the Regions as we discover needs for education. It appears our best tools will be Geoscience Technology Workshops and e-symposiums. We also will examine opportunities to develop and co-sponsor regional geoscience meetings.
In addition, there appears to be a need to develop chapters or “professional groups,” especially in areas where there are no affiliated societies. The AAPG Executive Committee has approved this in concept and we are in the process of developing a set of guidelines.
After I returned from Singapore I traveled to Wichita, Kan., to give a talk to the Kansas Geological Society. There I had the opportunity to talk to several members about the needs of the membership, and to consider the best programs AAPG can provide to the Affiliated Societies and Sections.
In fact, my meeting with Affiliated Societies, both in the Regions and Sections, is part of a program instituted this year by President John Lorenz to have AAPG’s leadership and senior staff visit society meetings and consider the needs of the membership.
In “Good to Great” the author states that you must answer three questions:
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- What can you be the best in the world at?
- What drives your economic engine?
These are great questions to consider as we look to expand AAPG and take it to the next level.