Once a clear vision for CMGP has been articulated, the vision must be translated into practical decisions and actions for the CMGP. If the vision represents the long-term goal of the CMGP, then a strategic plan describes how to best achieve that vision. Hence, the successful development and implementation of a strategic plan for the CMGP will provide functional criteria for decisionmaking and further shape the actions and activities that define CMGP on any given time horizon.
The committee strongly recommends that the CMGP undertake the development of a strategic plan. The committee further recommends that the CMGP obtain guidance in the formulation of this plan from its clients and collaborators and from third parties with experience in developing strategic plans. Regardless of the specific mechanisms employed to develop a strategic plan, the committee recommends that the final plan include provisions for:
attaining the long-term objective(s) embodied by the CMGP vision;
allowing the periodic development of near-term priorities for CMGP activities in the context of longer-term objectives (similar to the purpose of the current five-year plan);
implementing mechanisms for short-term (i.e., annual) decisionmaking that will ensure continued and steady progress of the CMGP toward its long-term objective (i.e., help the CMGP achieve its vision); and
encouraging a continuous evolution of a spectrum of projects and activities that will allow the CMGP to complete activities without stifling the creation of new activities.
Central to the ability of the CMGP to develop a defining vision of its role, craft a strategic plan for achieving that vision, and refine its approaches and near-term goals will be strong leadership at a number of levels. Strong leadership can provide impetus to the CMGP as it faces a number of challenges in the pursuit of its goals. Effective leadership must reflect the experience, needs, and perspectives of program clients, collaborators, and scientific staff. As with a well-constructed vision, strong leadership will instill a sense of relevance to the actions of every CMGP staff member and every action undertaken by the CMGP.
Conversely, a lack of focused and strong leadership can diffuse the impact of the efforts of the staff and greatly restrict the effectiveness of the overall CMGP. Because leadership is distributed across a number of levels, the failure of the CMGP to achieve its maximum potential cannot be attributed to the actions of