Success Story

Non-profit

The Opportunity

One of the critical steps in any strategic planning project is to gain a concrete understanding of the organization as it is today: its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. As part of a one-year strategic planning project for the Charlottesville, Virginia area (Region Ten) Community Services Board (CSB), Zelos helped its new leadership team gain a better understanding of the current state of the organization before it mapped its future. Strong data about current functioning served as the basis for a realistic and achievable strategic plan.

The Zelos Approach

Zelos studied and analyzed existing data, interviewed of key stakeholders, and created and analyzed a staff feedback survey. We interviewed consumers and key stakeholders, using focus groups and telephone or face-to-face interviews, and obtained feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, as well as perceived opportunities and threats.
Region Ten CSB serves six localities in and around Charlottesville, with multiple sites across a broad geographic area. The staff survey reached all 700 of the CSB staff. Almost 40% of staff responded to the electronic survey, giving feedback about their experience as employees of the CSB, and their understanding of current challenges and opportunities. Staff feedback demonstrated variations across sites, localities, and programs. The Board also provided feedback about current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, from their unique perspective.

This environmental scan helped the CSB to learn more about its current functioning, from both internal and external customers. This set the stage for successful planning for future scenarios.

Results

Community informed, staff informed, Board informed

Because of this step in the process, more than 400 consumers, staff, and key stakeholders actively participated in the strategic planning process, developing buy-in from the onset. We identified several key program areas as essential community resources.

It's not always easy to take difficult feedback

Because of how we collected and presented the information, the organization’s Strategic Planning Workgroup responded well to the collected feedback; they were receptive and properly concerned about areas in which challenges were noted; they were energized to work toward positive changes in these areas.

Grounded in reality

When complete, the final strategic plan was grounded in the reality of the organization’s environment and current state, and thus is realistic and achievable.