Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reconstructing how the MFPI Vision was crafted

The workshop, facilitated by Ms. Susan Quimpo was one of the most productive academic exercises I have done. A conference which combined a subject matter where one is passionate about with work stream is surely an enjoyable activity. It was two days and a half of fun and work at the DAP Center and Tagaytay Picnic Grove in Tagaytay on 4-5 December 1999.

Butch Sebastian, then president of MFPI assembled a small group that subjectively represented the sentiments of the community. Composing the group were seasoned, hardcore and novice climbers, delegates from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with varying opinions and perspective on climbing. Completing the team was relatively easy then. Participants were pre-selected although the invitation was open to all via egroups posting. At the session, present were Butch, Regie, Jong, Beth, Lolong, Reina, Eric, Jude, Arnold, Ding, Bebot, Ricky, Kat, Wena, Yay, Val and Chito.

It started by asking in an open discussion “Who are we?” guided by these key questions:
What do we do? What do we enjoy doing? What is our role in the community? Who are our leaders? What is our unique contribution? What do we do best? What do we value? What do we retain? What do we change? How do we treat each other? How are people recognized formally and casually? What is our image of success? How do we handle the good times and the bad times?

Then it led to clues on how we can be better members molding an imagined future or a vision. From here, honest-to-goodness assessments were discussed on “Where we are right now.” Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats guided us. Questions asked were: What forces are influencing the group? What changes are we going through? What influences our values? What empowers us? What dis-empowers us? What don’t we know? This forum provided the opportunity for each one to contribute in shaping the vision.

Having established an imagined future, we proceeded to defining it. Participants were individually given paper and colored pens to visualize in drawings the vision as described. Outputs were presented to the group and posted for further appreciation. Truly, visions are better rendered visually than verbally.

We then synthesized all the salient points to move forward answering the big question, "How does success look like for MFPI?"   The most relevant contributions and suggestions to create a set of practical goals and actions were highlighted. Goals were integrated into the group’s daily activities. Programs were developed and action plans made.

These then were now crafted in words in a final long session. Everyone must agree to each word and punctuation of the statements.

The result is what we posted in this article. Does it need revisiting? Read for yourself.

Slides courtesy of the late Dr. Raymundo S. Punongbayan

5 December 1999, a motley group of climbers was invited by then MFPI President Butch Sebastian to craft a Vision Mission for the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Incorporated (MFPI).

Seven years ago, the vision was defined against the backdrop of what were then in the popular mindsets of the climbers:

-With a desire to climb complemented by a commitment to the preservation of the mountain eco-system
-With a sense of adventure tempered by a due regard for safety
-Whose enjoyment of the climb is bounded by a healthy respect and sensitivity for fellow mountaineers and the local communities they encounter.

We saw then a Philippine mountaineering community aware of both their right and duty to be responsible mountaineers leading to the statement of the mission-to promote responsible mountaineering by setting standards for climbing behavior ensuring:
-Our commitment to the preservation of mountain eco-system
-Development of skills necessary for safe enjoyment of climbing
-A healthy respect for fellow mountaineers and local communities

Over the past years, we saw the climbing community engaged in activities which were not directly taken into consideration then. Among them were:
-Number of climbers has grown in leaps and bounds re-classing the recreation from an extreme activity to a mainstream one which media gamely picked up.
-Competitive adventure sports which were not in fashion before gained acceptance and participation from the climbing community. Climbers provided a pool of winnable participants in either local, regional or international races.
-Expanding sights not only in tropical climbs but alpine as well.
-Opening up to the possibility that the Pinoy given the training and logistical support can climb the roof of the world.

Mission Vision practitioners say that a hard and fast rule to process check its relevance is to challenge whether the vision has been achieved, the stakeholders still share the missions’ sentiments, end result is doable taking in account a tangible goal, an execution plan, a visionary leader and more importantly is a shared purpose.

Consider that in spite of major developments, climbers still have a high regard for safety although un-quantified, there is still a consciousness to preserve the mountain eco-system although it appears not to high in priority and even with the differences in views amongst clubs, members, climbers and the manner to run the federation, there is still a considerable respect for the diversity of opinion. There are those though who clamor for wider representation. Some vouch for a stronger lobbying presence, geographical division and of late international accreditation. While there is a mention on building skills, one noted the absence of physical fitness in the framework.

Is it time to re-visit the Vision Mission? Popular sentiment of the stakeholder which is composed of the member clubs, the individual members, incumbent officers, suppliers, and communities we affect and the support groups we tap can give tell-tale indicators. All of them have stakes to protect. Each one has its own priority. Indifference, apathy, resignation at one and involvement, commitment, contribution at the extreme end offer hints is to whether the sentiments are still shared. Are the stakeholders getting more or less involved with the mission?

What I know is as we root for the first Filipino climber or the first Filipino climber or the first Filipino team to step foot on the peak of Mt. Everest, the climbing landscape has been changing immeasurably. Maybe so, it is time. Unless the community now has turned its affiliation somewhere else and just leave the MFPI to where it is.

What’s in your mind matters. What do you think?

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