Case Studies

South Dakota Achieve

South Dakota Achieveis a large non-profit organization focused on finding ways for people with disabilities to achieve their dreams.  They offer housing, education, medical, speech/language, employment, and family support services.

Client Situation

Although South Dakota Achieve is a very well run and successful organization with client success, with the economic downturn over the past several years the CEO felt the need to create a strategic plan that would position the organization well into the future.  The senior leadership team were experts in their operational roles, but had very limited expereince in planning long term scenarios and goals and in managing a strategic plan.

Our Approach

From earlier work with the CEO, Lynda already had a good understanding of the organization, the leadership team and Achieve’s Mission.  Lynda worked with the CEO to conduct an assessment of the organization planning ability, culture, key challenges, and past successes and results.  A key challenge was to create a leadership team strategic planning workshop to train the leadership team about strategic planning while creating a plan at the same time - and to accomplish creating a good plan in the minimum amount of time.

Lynda designed a strategic planning 2-1/2 day workshop that involved pre-work for the team to make the best use of time in the workshop.  Looking longer term required revisiting the organizations Mission and Vision and required creating a set of leadership team values aligned with the current Achieve Values.  We utilized an Appreciative Inquiry approach to envision a positive future for Achieve and utilizing the pre-work provided by the team, the team defined key focus areas and/or initiatives with baseline measurements.  Lynda utilized a Horizon Roadmap planning process with the team, outlining the vision, key initiatives, desired outcomes, and key measurements for the next three years.  On the last day of the workshop, the team assigned leaders to each of the roadmap work stream.  They then created a communications plan and a planning review process to enable the Senior Leadership Team to manage the plan.

Client Results:

The results of the workshop were as follows:

  1. The Leadership Team learned the value of having a strategic plan and how to effectively create and manage the plan.  As a result, Achieve is much better prepared to succeed in the future.
  2. The Leadership Team enhanced their ability to work together to lead the organization, rather than just focusing on managing their individual areas.
  3. The Leadership Team created a good three-year Strategic Plan, with owners and measures for success.  The strategic plan was overwhelming approved by the Board of Directors and resulted in improved communications between the Board and the organization.
  4. The organization now has common tools, common vocabulary, and common processes for a strategic planning process for the future.
  5. The strategic plan increased enthusiasm, commitment, and alignment in the organization.

Client Feedback

“We just completed our review with our National Accreditation Body and one of their primary focuses was organizational systems; including our strategic plan.  We got HIGH PRAISE from our review team about the plan.  In fact, they commented that this was the best visionary plan they had ever seen.  We couldn’t have done it without your guidance and assistance, Lynda.  I just wanted you to be aware of the positive impact of your work with us.”

—Anne Rieck McFarland, President and CEO, South Dakota ACHIEVE

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