Management Minute

Happy New Year!

2011 proved to be a very interesting year and I can only imagine what 2012 will bring. What do we know about 2012? We know that advocacy for Title V will be challenging in an environment rife with pressure to cut federal expenditures. We know that there will be continued need to describe the role of Title V as the Affordable Care Act is implemented. And we know that state MCH programs will need to network, learn and share what is working with peers nationwide to do their work as effectively and efficiently as possible. Those are a few of the things we know.

However, the thing that I am the most certain about is that 2012 will bring even more uncertainty and change than we saw in 2011. And that can be pretty unsettling! For those of us who are self-proclaimed control freaks, uncertainly is a difficult thing. We like to plan, we like to program and we like to have our route laid out on the map so that we can move forward along our projected path. With so many unknowns, that planning is difficult. Uncertainty is hard.

And yet, the uncertainly 2012 brings also leads to opportunity. Not knowing what our future funding or programmatic work will be allows us to approach problems in new ways, gives us the chance to develop options, and allows us to be creative and innovative. Uncertainty calls on us to think about various scenarios, ponder alternative courses of action and compels us to imagine doing things differently. Change has its costs and those can be difficult to bear, but it also brings benefits and opportunities.

Clearly, 2012 is going to push us out of our comfort zones. How will we respond? We have the choice to hunker down, circle the wagons and defend the things we care about the most. That is certainly a valid and expedient response given all that we face, and all that we could lose. But we also have the choice to open ourselves up to possibility, to think creatively about our work, and to address those things that we know are important in ways that might not have been possible in the past.

There was plenty of change and uncertainty in 2011 and despite all that we experienced a great deal of success. How? We adjusted, we planned for a number of different scenarios, and we kept ourselves open to the possibility of doing things differently, readjusting our course and trying things in new ways. With the experience of last year (and many, many before then), we are well prepared to face whatever challenges 2012 may bring. I look forward to working together with you all to move AMCHP and state Title V programs forward. So, Happy New Year! Here’s to all that we will accomplish and learn!