Fig. 1 The five strategic domains and five essential components identified as critical to achieving the AAOS mission.


Published 7/1/2014
David D. Teuscher, MD

Developing a New Strategic Plan

Vision 20/20 takes the AAOS into the future

In March 2013, the AAOS Board of Directors appointed a Strategic Planning Project Team, which I chaired. We were charged with developing and documenting the AAOS’ future strategic direction in a new multiyear strategic plan, “Vision 20/20.”

We adopted the following strategies for achieving our charges:

  • Assess current and anticipated forces of change on the environment.
  • Within the context of this environmental assessment, review the current AAOS strategic plan (vision, mission, and goals) and identify possible areas of modification.
  • Assess AAOS current competencies and strengths, and identify potential opportunities and threats, as well as gaps requiring attention.
  • Solidify the AAOS’s desired position in musculoskeletal care.
  • Develop strategic positioning recommendations, including modifications to the current mission and vision that will enable AAOS to enhance its brand and reputation and to expand its impact globally.

Following multiple discussions with numerous stakeholders during an 11-month period, we presented “Vision 20/20,” a 6-year strategic plan. The new plan includes revised mission and vision statements, new core values, strategic domains, essential components, and objectives in 2-year increments along with strategies to achieve those objectives.

The final plan was approved by the AAOS Board of Directors on March 10, 2014.

The project team held several meetings—both face-to-face and by conference call—between March 2013 and January 2014. In all of our deliberations, we used a consensus-based approach to develop the proposed plan.

Recognizing the importance of seeking input and direction from key stakeholders and partners, we sent a Request for Information (RFI) to the following constituencies in April 2013:

  • AAOS past presidents
  • Current and former Board members
  • Council/Cabinet/Committee chairs
  • Board of Councilors (BOC)/Board of Specialty Societies (BOS)
  • Regional/Specialty/State Society leadership
  • Leadership Fellows
  • Candidate, Resident and Fellow Committee
  • Resident workgroup
  • Staff Senior Management Team (SMT) and their teams

We received 45 responses from individuals and organizations. While a wide net was cast, the number of responses was nevertheless staggering in comparison to similar RFIs, with many respondents expressing appreciation for simply being asked to provide input.

Most respondents thought that the current strategic plan was fine or offered only a suggestion or two to enhance it. However, others offered extensive comments on the Academy’s mission, vision, and goals. Former AAOS Medical Director William R. Martin III, MD, was especially helpful, due to his experience in a similar exercise when he served as chair of the Federation of State Medical Licensing Boards.

To ensure the greatest stakeholder input, the project team hosted a symposium during the 2013 National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference. The 110 participants—representing the Board of Directors, the BOC, the BOS, the Leadership Fellows, state and specialty societies’ executive directors, state society leadership, and residents—were divided into five workgroups. Each workgroup made productive input and presentations to the entire symposia, resulting in excellent written reports.

With the help of AAOS Lay Board Member William Best, the project team conducted a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. We used the information gathered from the RFIs, the symposium, and the SWOT analysis, as well as the 2012 Member Needs Assessment (hundreds of pages of data in total) as the background for our discussions and plan development. During this process, we quickly came to the following conclusions:

  • Areas of high priority include, but are not limited to:
    • residents, who are future fellows
    • quality
    • advocacy
    • international activities
    • professionalism
    • partnerships and collaboration
  • “Unity” and “diversity” as separate goals were determined to optimally be embedded throughout the strategic plan as equal aspects of the core value of collegiality.

We did not discuss education at first because the Council on Education was developing an education/publishing strategy. Once that was completed, it was incorporated into the plan.

As the project team’s chair, I presented status reports on our work to the AAOS Board of Directors during its June, September, and December 2013 meetings. A February 2014 webinar detailed the draft report status and prepared the Board for the final draft presented at Annual Meeting in New Orleans. These presentations generated suggestions from several Board members, which were incorporated into the plan.

As part of the process, the staff SMT reviewed the initial and subsequent drafts of the plan and drafted the plan’s objectives and strategies. An iterative process was used, meaning that the SMT’s drafts were sent to the project team for review and suggestions. The SMT considered and enhanced these comments and suggestions, and the cycle was repeated. The project team found the SMT’s involvement was critical to the overall development of the plan.

Plan structure
In determining the structure of the strategic plan, the project team reviewed similar plans from several medical and nonmedical organizations, as well as other types of business literature. In addition, the team considered suggestions from staff who had experience in developing strategic plans for other organizations.

Mission and Vision Statements—Based on this information, we reviewed the definition and characteristics of mission and vision statements and developed the following:

AAOS Mission Statement: Serving our profession to provide the highest quality musculoskeletal care.

AAOS Vision Statement: Keeping the world in motion through the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.

Core Values—We also determined the need to create “core values,” which we believe are essential and enduring tenets of an organization. They are a small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value to the members, staff, and volunteers of the AAOS.

Based on our discussions, the project team developed the following core values that reflect our inviolable guiding principles:

  • Excellence: Develop, encourage, and reward the highest standards in all of our endeavors.
  • Professionalism: Be accountable for the highest professional, clinical, and ethical standards to our peers, our patients, and the public with integrity and transparency.
  • Leadership: Champion the development and advancement of future leaders, through example, education, and experience in our organization, our practices, and the world.
  • Collegiality: Embrace diversity and unity with our patients, our profession, and our stakeholders.
  • Lifelong learning: Commit to professional education by advancing the science and art of orthopaedic medicine for the needs of our patients.

Strategic Domains and Essential Components—The project team also identified ‘strategic domains’ and ‘essential components.’ We defined strategic domains as areas of focus that have a high level of importance and/or priority for AAOS members. Essential components are critical to the successful achievement of the AAOS mission and vision and resonate through some or all of the strategic domains.

Based on our discussions, five strategic domains were identified as critical to the successful achievement of the AAOS’s mission and vision (Fig. 1), along with five essential components (listed in alphabetical order).

The AAOS mission, vision, core values, strategic domains, and essential components are the foundation of our plans for the future and will be a part of everything the AAOS will do. A summary can be found on the AAOS website ( and available to the public.

Goals, Objectives, and Strategies—Vision 20/20 also includes goals, objectives, and strategies, which are part of an expanded version of the strategic plan that will be used by the Board, staff, and lead volunteers in guiding the AAOS. These goals, objectives, and strategies were developed in 2-year cycles; short-term goals should be achieved in 2016, midterm goals in 2018, and long-term goals in 2020.

Although leadership will formally evaluate overall progress with every 2-year cycle, the Board will monitor progress throughout each year and modify activities and/or direction, based on environmental changes.

Tactics and Tasks—Tactics and tasks are staff-derived and are not part of the detailed strategic plan. They are operational in nature and may change often as the environment changes. Tactics and tasks are for management’s use and will guide staff’s work on an ongoing basis.

The AAOS Board of Directors recognizes that the Vision 20/20 plan it adopted is a living document with the capacity to be modified based on changes in the environment along with input from AAOS members. Because it is you—the member—whom we serve, we look forward to your comments on “Vision 20/20.”

David D. Teuscher, MD, is the AAOS first vice president.

Additional Information:
AAOS Strategic Plan: Vision 20/20