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t a g l i n e s A A M V A R e s t r u c t u r e s t o P r o v i d e V a l u e , M e e t M e m b e r N e e d s

someThing happeneD on The Way to AAMVA’s recently celebrated 75th Anniversary in Orlando.

That “something” was the association experienc- ing its first reduction in force since…well, since as far back as any current AAMVA staffer can remember. Of course, state motor vehicle agencies are no stranger to downsizing, or right-sizing as it is sometimes called. As recently as this past summer, the California De- partment of Motor Vehicles was forced to furlough approximately 1000 state motor vehicle employees. And if the economic downturn continues, they won’t be the last.

For many in the motor vehicle community, this change at AAMVA Headquarters was not unlike Cali- fornia’s. But while financially and strategically neces- sary, it was also professionally challenging.

Some AAMVA employees, whose positions were eliminated in August, also played a significant role in the content development of MOVE. And we will miss their colorful contributions to this award-winning publication.

But there is opportunity in adversity. And AAMVA, like many other organizations, is seiz- ing this opportunity to rededicate itself to strengthen- ing relationships with its core constituency: the ju- risdictional membership. In fact, frequent PR WEEK contributor, Erica Iacono, proclaims in her latest headline, “A down economy should prompt more in- vestment in client service,” (Sept. 22, 2008).

The AAMVA Board agrees. As the world in general, and motor vehicle agen- cies in particular, come to grips with the crashing fi- nancial market place, sky-rocketing gasoline prices and a fledgling highway trust fund, the association, with the guidance of its Board of Directors, a recently completed environmental scan of the organization and a communications audit, is refocusing its cus- tomer service efforts to provide the best member value possible.

Over the next ninety days, the senior leadership of the organization will use the aforementioned infor-

36MOVE | Fall 2008

mation as the bedrock for its ongoing transition into the “New AAMVA.” The tide has turned, a new sail has been set and AAMVA will not be returning to the old normal. Instead the association is moving to define, and exist, within a new normal.

As the association moves forward into the “New AAMVA” here are a few key things it promises to deliver.

Less is more. As a professional association, AAMVA must stay in touch with delivering only what its mem- bers want—this means prioritizing what it does on your behalf. And since four cannot do the work of seven, head- quarters staff must realize they cannot be everything to everyone. This means the association may not have the staff necessary to respond to every request. Or it may mean that with existing resources, it may take staff a lot longer to find and answer or research a question.

Communications need to become aligned. In the future, AAMVA’s communications with the member- ship and the Board need to be instep. And the asso- ciation’s senior leadership will need to create a new conversation with the membership so it clearly un- derstands what services you want and need, rather than acting upon what it thinks you want and need. This also means taking a look at AAMVA’s current communications vehicles as a result of the recent communications audit.

AAMVA’s world is its members’ world and the members’ world has changed. In recent years, finan- cial pressures in the world have affected the AAMVA membership, and therefore, affected headquarters staff as well. This has led to a greater sensitivity in how, and where, we use all our resources.

AAMVA will operate by business metrics. This in- cludes more overall financial discipline and making more money than it spends and balancing the associ- ation’s annual budget without dipping into reserves.

If AAMVA does all the above, it will be taking steps toward a strong future and will become a stronger leader capable of building stronger partnerships and relationships internally, with the membership and with stakeholder groups. M

Tell us your stories! Send your stories and anecdotes to move@aamva.org; fax to (703) 522-1553; or mail to AAMVA, Attn: MOVE, 4301 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22203. If we print your story, we will send you an AAMVA gift!

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