Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as a shared vision.
A roomful of dynamic and talented people can generate tremendous energy and fantastic ideas. However, without a common mission and vision it can be a challenge to transform that energy into progress. That was the predicament facing the members of the Council for Women. The Council needed clarity. It needed a work plan to rally around. It needed a strategic plan.
Danielle Carman, Executive Director for the Department of Administration’s Council for Women & Youth Involvement, understood the challenge and contacted OSBM for assistance because OSBM offers strategic planning facilitation services.
About the Council for Women
The 20-member Council was established by statute more than 45 years ago. Appointees serve staggered, two-year terms. The composition of the Council is defined in G.S. 143B-394 but the legislation doesn’t spell out responsibilities or goals. The Department of Administration (DOA)’s Council for Women & Youth Involvement supports the Council and its efforts, which are focused on advising the Governor, the Legislature, the Secretary of DOA, and other state agencies on women’s issues.
The Council had previously established mission and vision statements. However, given the two-year terms of the members, many of the current Council members were not a part of their development. And no recent effort had been undertaken to identify how those statements should be translated into action by the Council.
“The Council for Women is uniquely positioned to provide advice and influence policy that relates to women in the state. And there is no dearth of issues for the Council to tackle,” explained Danielle Carman. “To take advantage of that role, we needed to bring our members together and make sure we were all working from the same place with the same goals in mind.”
Back to Basics with OSBM
The Council invited OSBM facilitators Jonathan Meyer, Ben Agsten, Jaclyn Arnette, and Jessica Robinson to lead a strategic planning workshop. Before the workshop, the OSBM team sent members a pre-workshop survey with questions about the Council’s purpose and vision.
“When we work with state agencies on strategic planning, we counsel them to begin their strategic planning process by reviewing their mission and vision statements. These are the concise, coherent statements that answer important questions like ‘why do we exist’ and ‘what do we want to achieve.’ Without these basic building blocks, it’s difficult to identify the most salient goals the organization should pursue,” explained OSBM's Jonathan Meyer.
The pre-workshop survey revealed a lack of consensus around the Council’s mission and vision. The team shifted gears. They plotted out a day-long workshop full of real-world illustrations, discussion starters, and breakout exercises to help identify common themes and build consensus around mission, vision, and values the members could commit to as the underpinning of their work.
After the workshop, the OSBM team refined the day’s findings into new mission, vision, and values statements for the Council. They also made recommendations for next steps Council should take to develop a strategic plan using the survey data, along with the new mission, vision, and values statements.
What’s Next for the Council of Women
The groundwork of building consensus around the mission, vision and values puts the Council in a better position for their next steps.
“Without OSBM’s help, we might’ve missed the lack of consensus and conflicting notions about what the Council was and should be,” says Ms. Carman. “Taking a step back and thinking about the big picture of what the Council is, together, will help us create a coherent strategic plan.”
The Council will begin that process at their next quarterly meeting.
About Strategic Planning & OSBM’s Role
OSBM supports state agencies and their strategic planning efforts, providing guidance and training for each biennial strategic planning process. Agencies must submit their final strategic plans to OSBM. In addition, OSBM offers facilitation and consultation services, upon request.
Several state agency leaders who help create and/or measure strategic plan progress are members of OSBM’s Performance Management Community of Practice.