Our Current And Future Roadmap

The new AAO President, Dr. Brent Larson, addressed the AAO House of Delegates on May 7, 2018.  He focused his message on the AAO’s new strategic map. This article captures much of what he presented.

 As your Trustee, along with all AAO leaders we continually ask, “How do we make the AAO the best that it can be. How can we best advance our member’s success? How do we decide what is best?”

In order to accomplish this, we have to choose our priorities carefully. In our rapidly changing world and in this disruptive orthodontic environment, it’s so easy to be pulled in many different directions, but as we all know there is a finite limit to our resources.

We must focus firmly on what is truly important for AAO members to thrive.

So what are OUR priorities? What are the mission-critical long-term needs of our members? 

In my view, the most important resolution recently passed by your AAO House of Delegates (the AAO’s Policy making body) is our new Strategy Map. This map AAO Strategy Map 2018 will guide our decision-making going forward.  This new strategic plan and its accompanying map, places emphasis on goals that speak to the very heart of what our association is and should be.

How did we get here? There was an intentional process of broad stakeholder input to determine how we should focus our energy and resources to serve the profession, to support our members, and to inform the public.

These stakeholders included engaged members, unengaged members, delegates, council members, many residents, new and younger members as well as vendors, manufacturers, and industry consultants. The plan that resulted – the strategy map – simply and elegantly focuses the energy and resources of the AAO in a direction that AAO members demand we go. A new mission and vision, as well as new values, goals and objectives now exist.

As with many strategic plans you have seen, ours begins with a mission statement…the answer to the important question “Why do we exist?  So, why does the AAO exist?” Together we have decided that we exist…“to advance our members success through education, advocacy, and research that drive excellence in patient care.”

You’ll note that the focus is on the member and the patient, not the organization – an important distinction.

In addition to a clear mission statement that commits us to advance our members success…any strategic plan must also have a vision statement. This vision describes what we, as an association, want for our future – it defines where we are going. AAO’s leadership must have a strong vision that we can articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.

AAO’s vision is simple, focused, and certain. It answers where we want to be and inspires each of us to move in that direction. Our desired future is one where… All orthodontic care is provided by qualified specialists who successfully address patient needs.

 This is a wonderful vision…but Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” To accomplish this, we must take action with concrete goals and objectives. These goals and objectives will always come first and act as the AAO’s priority.

The stakeholders at the global strategic planning session felt strongly that knowing our core values be part of what we are and where we want to go.  Core values are what we really hold dear.  You’ll see these stated values ingrained in our goals and objectives. What are our core values?

  • Our Members Come First
  • We are Inclusive
  • We are Data-Driven
  • We Seek Active Engagement
  • We are Ethical

The stakeholder members and leadership felt that is vital that we agree on who we are and these core values will inform every decision we make going forward.

So what are our goals and objectives?  These are the AAO’s absolute priorities.  They are the heart of our new strategic plan.

Goal 1….Promote and defend our specialty. What could be more basic and vital? This includes continued emphasis on consumer awareness, other advocacy efforts, and a focus on maintaining our strong traditions of education and ethics.

Goal 2….Engage and Delight our Members. We want to get our members involved and provide them with what they need to be successful – no matter what stage of their career they are in.

Goal 3…Drive Transformation and Innovation. This is the goal that recognizes that we live in disruptive times and that times of change are also times of great opportunity for those that are prepared. We want to empower our members to take advantage of the opportunities that exist and not to be afraid of the future.

Together, we must make sure that these priorities come first. When we agree on the right priorities, powerful change is possible. When we have the right priorities, we are managing our time and dollars intelligently…allowing us, as an association to get a lot done…more than you might think possible.

As your Trustee I want you to know that I am committed to these goals and objectives.  We now have a defined roadmap.

Please feel free to connect with me at any time at or my cell 315-569-8219.

John Callahan, Trustee, Northeastern Society of Orthodontics