Serving as president gives me opportunities and challenges that are interesting and certainly rewarding. This winter, I’ve been involved in a series of strategic planning sessions for NDFU, insurance, technology, and credit unions. I have seen some amazing concepts develop to address how we serve society.

In each of these planning sessions, we do the routine review of mission, vision, strategic pillars and goals. In some cases, we are setting timelines and looking forward three to five years. This process sometimes leaves me wondering if we can truly achieve our expectations and outcomes or are we simply dreaming of a future that is unachievable?

I tend to look back at past planning sessions to determine if we truly are achieving our goals.  While I cannot say we are 100% on target, I am comfortable saying we are completing a large portion of objectives, and the ones we are not generally are due to outside forces that may or may not be in our control.

The interesting connection in these sessions is similar themes that almost always include avenues to help members, to be an asset to society, to enhance the organization and those around us. While lofty goals, it is refreshing to see that our work together leads us to want to make everyone better, not just a select few.

I wonder if our nation should hold a strategic planning session. Bring opposing views to the table. Try to eliminate selfishness, greed and hypocrisy from the political posturing. Hold a session focused on enhancing all of society rather than our own small corner of the world.  

Interestingly, with all the bad news statistically our world is better overall today than it has been in the past. Listening to news and social media outlets, one would never guess this is the case. If we are better statistically today, we should strive for further enhancements. 

If you have ever been part of a planning session, I am positive the outcome was not “we are fine” or “we should do less.” Every session strives for a better future.  

I challenge each of you to participate in our democracy. Expect leaders to deliver and enhance our nation and the world. Avoid the selfish and negative approach. We are all better when everyone is better.

— NDFU President Mark Watne