The Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) traces its history back to the
early 1950s. On January 12, 1951, The National Society for Business Budgeting
first met in Milwaukee, WI. In 1963 that organization changed its name to Budget
Executives Institute, and moved its base to Oxford, OH. The group again changed
its name to Planning Executives Institute (PEI) in 1968.
While the mission of PEI was heavily slanted towards financial planning, another
organization called the North American Society for Corporate Executives (NASCP)
was formed in the mid 1950s. Based in San Francisco, with sister organizations
in Chicago, London, New York and Los Angeles, the group focused on the
theoretical aspects of corporate planning and long-range planning (as the art of
strategic planning was characterized). Companies such as Rand, SRI and Lockheed
dominated the prevailing thinking of the time. The terms "long" and "budgets"
tended to hold back growth of these early organizations and were abandoned in
later organizational realizations.
In 1985, PEI and NASCP merged under the name of The Planning Forum (TPF), an
organization that grew in international stature until it became a chain of 60
North American chapters and 8,000 individual members worldwide. The Planning
Forum's three most important benefits to its members were: (1) its annual
international conference which, at its zenith, attracted over one thousand
attendees, (2) its own strategy journal, Planning Review, which developed an
international reputation, and (3) its 60 chapters for local programming and
networking, and its training of chapter presidents and officers.
During these years, very active chapters developed in San Francisco and Los
Angeles in response to the need was a forum to get together and share
experiences. It was during the 1980s that Dr. Stan Abraham (ASP's president for
2003-2004) and the late Sumner Alpert became actively involved in building the
Southern California chapter of the Planning Forum. In those days, chapter dinner
events and meetings were held in the Transamerica building in downtown Los
Angeles. In the early 1990s, the Planning Forum's headquarters relocated to
Oxford, OH from Chicago, IL.
In 1995 the organization once again changed its name, this time to the Strategic
Leadership Forum (SLF), seeking to expand its target audience to include
corporate executives and CEOs. The SLF maintained its network of local chapters,
but contracted its national oversight with the Chicago-based
association-management firm, Bostrom & Associates.
The Association for Strategic Planning evolved from the surviving Southern and
Northern California chapters of the SLF. The first organizational planning
meeting was held in July 1999, and was attended by a number of people long
involved in strategic management, including Sumner Alpert (deceased), Dr. Stan
Abraham, Dr. David Crain and Janice Laureen. The following mission was adopted:
“To encourage the development and practice of strategic-planning processes by
corporations, entrepreneurial businesses, and not-for-profit organizations by
fostering and disseminating the latest ideas and techniques for formulating and
Official papers were filed and, from that time forward, the group hosted monthly
dinner meetings at a restaurant located near Los Angeles International Airport.
A dedicated board of directors built a solid infrastructure for the group. Every
effort was made to build membership, increase member benefits, run itself
professionally, and stay solvent.
Notable presenters to the Los Angeles group included Professor Cornelis de
Kluyver (Dean of the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University); Jose de
la Torre of UCLA (now the University of Miami); Peter Schwartz, Chairman, Global
Business Network; Dr. Kevin Clancy of Copernicus Marketing Consulting; and the
CEOs of Trader Joe's, Earthlink, Applied Materials, The Disney Channel, XDrive,
and Frederick's of Hollywood.
In 2001, ASP organized its first annual conference, New Strategies for a Rapidly
Changing World. Chaired by Dr. Stan Abraham, the event attracted high-profile
keynote speakers including Dr. C.K. Prahalad, Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of
Business Administration at the University of Michigan and cofounder and chairman
of PRAJA, and ranked number eight on the Financial Times' 2001 top-50 business
gurus worldwide list, Dr. Bill Rouse, CEO, Enterprise Support Systems, Jim
Bandrowski, President, Strategic Action Associates, Dr. Richard T. Pascale,
former professor at Stanford Business School and Oxford University, and the late
Dr. Peter Pekàr, Jr., Director of Strategic Alliances at Houlihan, Lokey, Howard
The second annual conference - Exploiting Strategic Alternatives: Strategic
Conversations about the Central Focuses of our Times - organized by the late Dr.
Dick Goodman and Peter Schwartz, author of the best seller, The Art of the Long
View, featured an innovative format for learning and sharing of new information.
The conference attracted 100 paid registrations, double that of the first year.
The 2003 conference - Strategy in Action: Driving Results through Strategic
Thought and Action, organized by Jim Wilson and Noal McDonald - welcomed over
150 people to hear keynote speakers Dr. C.K. Prahalad, Rob Kautz, President and
CEO of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, and Drs. Elizabeth Gibson and Andy Billings,
coauthors of Big Change at Best Buy, who, with Shari Ballard, Senior VP for HR,
recounted a major turnaround at Best Buy, Inc., along with seven exceptional
break-out sessions and speakers. Also featured at the conference were six vendor
booths and conference sponsors Fluor Corporation, GEO Group Strategic Services,
Y-Change, Inc., The Boeing Company, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and the Stern
Since then, national conferences have continued to be held in Southern
California, attended by an ever-growing number of professionals and students.
The 2004 conference was co-sponsored by Pepperdine University, Graziadio School
of Business and Management, and focused on Strategy in a Turbulent World. Over
130 attendees heard a wide range of presentations and panel discussions. There
was no conference in 2005, as the board decided to move from fall to winter
meetings. The next conference was held in February 2006, and the venue moved to
Long Beach, CA. The focus was on Lessons from Practice, and added over 40
professional presentations, in five tracks, from practicing professionals to a
program which featured keynote speakers Dr. W. Chan Kim and Dr. Miland Lele. The
number of conference attendees, exhibitors and sponsors continued to grow. The
2007 conference retained and refined the multi-track format and the Lessons from
Practice theme. Michael E. Raynor was keynote speaker, and a panel of senior
industry planning executives shared their perspectives with over 230 attendees.
ASP also organized a series of post-conference workshops, which proved very
At each of these conferences since 2004, the Association presented the Richard
Goodman Award for excellence in strategic planning. Award winners included large
and small firms, non-profit organizations, universities and government
organizations. At the 2007 conference, Dr Stanley Abraham was presented the
first ASP Distinguished Service Award for sustained contributions to the
As word spread of ASP's success in the Los Angeles area, inquiries were made
from individuals in Northern California and San Diego. In 2003, organizational
meetings were started in these areas which were quickly followed by events and
programs, leading to enhanced exposure for the group in the business community,
as well as many new memberships.
In 2004 ASP revised its constitution and created a national board that oversees
chapters and helps new chapters get started. The mission of the organization was
To help individuals and organizations succeed through effective strategic
thinking, planning, and action.
On this basis, the Los Angeles Chapter formally became an active chapter in
October 2005. Later that year, the Northern California and San Diego Chapters
were chartered as active chapters.
In subsequent years, additional chapters were formed by dedicated leaders around
- The Dallas Area Chapter received a provisional charter in October 2005, and became an active chapter in November 2006.
- The Metro Detroit Chapter received a provisional charter in March 2006
- The Boston Chapter received a provisional charter in April 2006.
- The Minnesota Chapter received a provisional charter in June 2006
- The Orange County Chapter received a provisional charter in June 2006, and became an active chapter in April 2007.
- The National Capital Area Chapter received a provisional charter in July 2006
- The Heartland Chapter received a provisional charter in October 2006
- The Chicago Chapter received a provisional charter in January 2007
- The Phoenix Metro Chapter received a provisional charter in February 2007.
In 2006, ASP formally incorporated in California as a national organization, and
restructured its governing documentation accordingly, replacing the initial ASP
Constitution with a formal set of Bylaws.
In 2007, the ASP board significantly expanded the national awards program, and
established the Council of Chapter Representatives, in accordance with the
Bylaws, to promote effective communication with chapter leaders.
The organization has benefited from the sustained participation of several
Corporate Members, including Boeing, Toyota, Countrywide Finance and the US Army
Research, Development and Engineering Command. Other organizations have
contributed in-kind support to ASP's operations.
ASP takes strategists back to where they started in the 1950s: a group of local
professionals seeking forums to get together and talk, sharing ideas for
developing the art and practice of strategy development and implementation.
Stan A. Abraham
David W. Crain
E.R. "Riggs" Monfort
August 2004 in Los Angeles, California
Revised October 2007 Stanley G. Rosen, Janice Laureen and David W. Crain