On February 20th, the council and committee convenors gathered to reaffirm the strategy for the NZSA and to set goals for the 2017 year. This built on the work out of the strategy day held in 2016 where key actions and initiatives for council and committees were identified and a dashboard established to enable tracking of success against these objectives.
The objectives of the strategy day were to
- Get to know each other and better enhance connections
- Understand the output of the recent risk workshops and the member survey
- Brainstorm what the NZSA needs to be doing for the benefit of our members
- Formulate and subsequently articulate our strategy under the four pillars, working towards the creation of a formal document of our strategic direction
- Develop actions which will support the achievement of the strategy
The day was broken down into four main sections covering the Risk Workshop Insights and our four strategic pillars (Capability, Collaboration, Communication and Influence).
Anagha Pasche from the ERM Committee took us through the journey council went through to identify and assess the key risks the NZSA faces. An initial list of more than 50 key risks that NZSA members and the actuarial industry face were grouped into common themes with a final list of 25 ranging from loss of relevance of the profession to loss making events. These were then assessed for both likelihood and impact. The key risks for council to focus on were those rated as having high impact/medium likelihood, high impact/high likelihood and medium impact/high likelihood.
Anagha and Treasurer Anne Lord then used this list of key risks to estimate a reasonable fund for the Society to hold against these eventualities. Research into the approach and risk management framework of other societies helped form the basis of target surplus estimates.
This was a particularly important exercise as the Society’s funds have been gradually increasing time without a clear plan for its use. With the target surplus now more clearly understood, Council will consider suitable projects and initiatives for long term gain to the profession which may be suitable candidates for use of excess funds.
In small groups we discussed what key capabilities members of the Society needed now and in the future. Possibly surprisingly in a session on capabilities for actuaries, very few technical specialisations came up in the subsequent sticky note posting – instead there were considerably more mentions of personal and communication skills as being necessary for the survival of the profession.
Each attendee was permitted two votes to cast for which were the most important for the Society to focus on. Two items were selected, each quite ambitious and covering a broad area – the Social Investment Approach and soft skills. To ensure achievement of these goals, each was assigned to a Committee/Interest Group and the council member responsible for that portfolio.
The session began with a little cross committee speed-dating. We paired up and had two minutes to discuss how our two committees could work together and what we could do for each other. Once the buzzer sounded we moved on to find a new partner. This was a fun way to quickly establish different ways we can collaborate and each person came away with some useful insights and actions for their committees.
From focusing on internal collaboration we then identified the external bodies committees are already collaborating with and who else we should be forming relationships with, and in particular show we can work more closely with the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. This was a useful discussion and feedback session prior to Andrea’s meetings with the Institute in March.
Communication and Influence
The group split into two with one to discuss communication (more internally focussed) and the other influence (more externally focused).
The communication group discussed the purpose of communication to members and the various mediums through which we can deliver this, along with some great suggestions for future newsletters. The communication goals from last year were to launch the new website and move to a digital newsletter, both of which have been achieved. The focus going forward is to further develop content for members which is both relevant and timely. The group also had a lively debate about whether the NZSA is ready for social media.
The influence group talked about use of the media, who we were trying to influence, and the importance of our brand.
The day was a great success and the consensus was they should be run more regularly to maintain focus on the strategy and continue to build relationships across the committees.
We finished the day on the sunny balcony of the Fort Street Union bar with other Auckland members of the NZSA. The Wellington contingent (and a few of the Aucklanders) melted a little in the heat but overall it was nice to catch up and reconnect after the Christmas and New Year break.