A mission-driven organization had enjoyed a decades-long history of success, and the new chief executive officer (CEO) and board wanted ensure it would remain relevant and continue to serve its constituents well into the future. Fifteen years had passed since the last major strategic planning effort, and in that time there had been significant changes in the external environment and internal operations. One of the biggest changes was the emergence of commercial competitors for a number of services, which posed a substantial risk to the organization’s funding base. In addition, most of the senior leadership was retirement-eligible or nearly so, and the organization lacked a slate of ready successors. The board charged the CEO with refreshing the vision and defining a strategy to ensure the organization was positioned for the future.
Camden Delta worked with the leadership team to define the charter and strategic imperatives that should be addressed in the planning effort. The process was structured to involve a significant portion of the staff, including a core team of seven high-potential staff members who would develop the strategic plan and a broader group of long-tenured staff who would lend their insights and expertise along the way. We kicked off the project with an exercise that looked back at the events of the past decade, to ensure participants gained a common understanding of the organization’s past successes and challenges.
Camden Delta facilitated multiple working sessions in which participants analyzed the current state, considered potential future scenarios, and identified strategic options that should be evaluated. The project culminated with the core team presenting their findings and recommendations to the executive leadership team, and creation of a two-year road map for implementing their recommendations. Throughout the project, Camden Delta consultants coached project participants and provided feedback to the organization about their potential as future leaders.
The project team produced a set of findings and recommendations that identified and addressed systemic issues and challenges from inside and outside the organization. Their recommendations ranged from internal governance process changes to services that should be discontinued to ways of leveling the playing field against commercial competitors. Taken as a whole, their recommendations represented a major organizational transformation.
Participants reported that the project gave them a much broader view of the organization than they were able to gain from their everyday work. The executive committee was delighted to have a visual road map and timeline for implementing the recommendations. The chief executive officer was extremely pleased with the process and outcomes. In addition to building a solid plan, he had accomplished his goal of building broad support for needed changes. The insight gained about future leaders will be leveraged in making future assignments and developing succession plans.
Camden Delta proposed a strategic planning process that would involve a group of high-potential future leaders in assessing the organization’s current state, identifying the trends and forces that would shape the future, and developing a strategic plan. Our solution addressed not only the strategic planning needs, but also provided a hands-on action learning project that developed future leaders strategic thinking skills.
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