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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

HAS NAPPS LOST ITS WHY?


This post is my perceptive and opinion based on years of first hand experience "inside baseball" analysis.


A few newsletters ago the Administrator Gary Crowe wrote about what he believes NAPPS is and what it does and how it does it.  From my perspective he was telling the members what was important and how things are supposed to work with the association as it relates to the members rights and responsibilities.

Whether you are or disagree with his assessment is not really important, what his message told me is that he and several others of the inner circle of NAPPS leadership over the years have lost sight of “why” NAPPS is important and was founded in the first place.  Notice I did not say they lost their way.  You would have to have a clearly articulated plan and an idea of how you intend to execute on that plan in order to have lost your way.  Without an idea of where you are going and how you hope to achieve your goals and objectives you can’t lose your WAY.

I contend that everything that NAPPS does and doesn’t do should flow from or be the result of its WHY.  Why does NAPPS exist?  Why is NAPPS important? Instead it appears to me as evidenced by the Administrators message and the messages of the leadership everything has become about WHAT and HOW.

In the early years of NAPPS it did have a very clear sense of WHY; not anymore.  NAPPS the brand, NAPPS the organization has lost some of its appeal, it is no longer as special as it once was, it no longer commands the respect and stature it did years ago.   It has lost its WHY.
Let’s face it, there are many process server directories in print and online, some arguably do a much better job providing their members and subscribers with real and meaningful value.  Members and non-members alike have gravitated toward other directories and forums to educate themselves, share ideas and network with their peers.

NAPPS can no longer differentiate itself and its brand from the others as the leader in the industry.  This was not always the case.  It was once like APPLE (the company) everyone wanted to be a part of it, everyone wanted to be associated with its brand.  Being a member of NAPPS differentiated you as a professional.   Unfortunately that is not as true as it once was.
If you were to ask an avid skier, cyclist or fly fisherman and someone asked you why you participate in those activities, you will likely answer that question be demonstrating your passion for that activity.   If you ask a NAPPS member why they are a member or a board member why they want to serve I contend that they will not be able to answer you with the same passion and enthusiasm as the fisherman, cyclist or skier.

I contend that the reason is because in part NAPPS has lost its WHY, its reason for existing, its focus on what is truly important, the reason the organization was started in the first place.  NAPPS was about preserving and protecting the private process serving industry.  That was its mission, its core reason for existence, its purpose.

Today, NAPPS has become about differing segments of members fighting over the pie.  Fighting over money, board seats, it has become about the personalities that are unwilling to set aside their egos for the good of the organization because they fear they are losing control.  If NAPPS is good at anything lately it is good at reacting to threats and even that is debatable.  It certainly is not looking for opportunities to ensure we as an industry remain relevant.

NAPPS was created with a clear set of objectives, its purpose or why was to ensure that private process and their role in ensuring the due process right of litigant was protected.  Simply put the WHY was always about making sure that private process servers remained relevant.

If you accept my premise and if any of it resonated with you, I content it is time that NAPPS found its WHY.   Once found, NAPPS should hold a strategic summit with leaders from all the state chartered associations to discuss and adopt a new or refreshed purpose or WHY.   With the WHY formally agreed upon our leaders should then go about defining a clear set of short and long term objectives that flow from that WHY.  Then and only then will NAPPS be able to measure it success against something meaningful.  In order to effectively execute on the goals and objectives NAPPS needs to make sure that someone  is ultimately responsible and accountable for producing results that get us from where we are today to where we want and deserve to be tomorrow.

Unfortunately in the last few years the leadership and management structure not only doesn’t support or embrace that kind of accountability and transparency, it resists it.  The time has come for NAPPS to reexamine its WHY and get back to what is important and why it was created in the first place.   This kind of commitment requires courage and leadership.  It requires willing and able participants who are truly invested in bringing NAPPS from the cusp of falling from greatness.

Let’s hope that this coming year doesn’t become a repeat of the last few where the agenda included constant fights over minutes for no good reason, kicking out a duly elected board member, issuing sanctions against those that dare to ask difficult questions and demand more accountability and the constant disregard for our established published policies.

Based on what I saw this last weekend there were a few glimmers of hope but overall it appears that this year will be about hunting down and lynching those that have been critical of NAPPS and some of its leaders.  One of the attendees this weekend actually called for hangings.  If the goal was to create an angry irrational mob then the leaders succeeded.  If that is what we can expect NAPPS it is truly doomed to fall from greatness.   It is time to heal and rise of above the BS and put this ugly chapter behind the organization.   It can’t afford to waste another year; the status-quo will not carry the day.

By Jeff H. Karotkin