Need: Guidance facilitating strategic plan with Board and staff
Service: Strategic planning
Based in Dayton, Ohio and serving four southwestern counties, Choices in Community Living (CICL) provides lifelong person-centered, community-based residential homes and other services for people with autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Wanting to embark on a strategic planning effort, its Executive Director asked a peer who they had used.
In taking that recommendation, Executive Director Tom Weaver, appreciated The Yunker Group’s willingness to create a strategic planning process unique to his organization’s needs.
“I really liked the process that we came up with, which was to spend a little bit more time up front identifying some of the key issues and working to educate the board on those issues in advance of the strategic planning exercise. This gave the board a chance to ask detailed questions and really engage in a meaningful learning process. Then when we actually got into our strategy sessions, it was easier for everyone to grasp the issues and focus on what we were trying to do.”
From the perspective of outgoing Board President, Steve McHugh, the process was both effective and efficient. “I think it was a good exercise and a good use of our time,” observed Steve. “It certainly met my expectations and achieved what I hoped it would. The Yunker Group did a nice job.”
Both Tom and Steve felt Jim Yunker played an essential role in facilitating the process and keeping the group focused. Tom added, “Jim also did all of the one-on-one assessment interviews with key stakeholders, which was a really great opportunity to survey, learn, and gain consensus about key issues and what was important to everyone. I also liked that we didn’t just sit in a room for eight hours at a time. We stretched it out over time and had opportunities to really think about things and to reflect.”
Ultimately, Tom believed the process achieved its objective: “The strategic planning has given us focus. I continually refer to the outcomes at our board meetings, and there have been strategy and action steps taken as a result. We’re all more or less on the same page and have a clear idea where we want to go. And it really was the entire agency that participated – not just the board – so they’re all working with me.”
As Tom and Steve understand, it’s the follow-through that’s key. And that’s another reason Tom plans to continue working with The Yunker Group. He explained, “A lot of times you build these strategic plans, and they just sit on the shelf. Or you build these relationships with people like Jim and The Yunker Group, and they’re just a one-shot flash in the pan. I hope that’s not the case. I believe there’s great value in maintaining that relationship, and I hope that maybe a year from now we’ll be looking at revising and updating and doing another strategic plan – and I hope to engage Jim to help us with that, too.”