Unsupported Browser

We've detected an older browser version that will not give you the best experience while using The Atlas. Please consider revisitng this site after downloading one of the alternatives below.

Scalable Strategic Plan Model Ensures Alignment & Efficiencies for 30 Buncombe County Departments

Asheville, NC, USA
Vital Clarity

Government Champion

Performance Management Director

Cost

Initial:
12 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2019

At a Glance

The Performance Management Department wanted to evolve its role and scope of services to fortify enterprise-wide efficiencies. Using a strategic planning process that elicited foundational consensus led them to designing a business planning model that achieved organizational alignment in all 30 departments.

Problem Addressed

The Performance Management (PM) Department had developed a reputation for being resourceful, responsive and committed to supporting each department's ability to function effectively. It had also raised expectations for service delivery beyond its originally intended scope and had, unwittingly, become "all things to all people."

With a new executive leadership team in place, it was the ideal time to redefine their optimal strategic role.

In addition to upgrading the scope of their support role as project and process experts they wanted to:

• Further strengthen organizational trust in the PM department's value proposition and deepen rapport with the new leadership team,

• Redistribute specific functions and related projects to appropriate departments,

• Design a scalable and consistent planning model for all county departments, and

• Ensure ongoing alignment with the Board of Commissioner's Strategic Plan.

Department Director Rafael Baptista expressed: "The team knew this was an opportunity to fulfill the department's mission of collaborating across boundaries to foster a thriving community through effective strategy and innovation."

Buncombe County used/is using Vital Clarity's strategic planning approach to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Key aspects of Vital Clarity's strategic planning process that were ultimately adapted for County-wide application:

• The Performance Management Department engaged Vital Clarity to design and facilitate their departmental strategy using participative, consensus-building methods and approaches to accomplish their objectives.

• New leadership participated in the department's planning sessions to align and confirm expectations; the planning group adopted a partnership mindset and fostered a sense of esprit de corps.

• A series of brainstorming sessions that enabled them to explore historical patterns, re-examine and schedule the implementation of essential priorities, and identify projects to be redistributed to other departments.

• The neutrality and guidance of the facilitator gave them the ability to step back from day-to-day tasks, focus their attention on creative possibilities, reflect on their options, and coalesce their best thinking.

Additionally, Rafael Baptista, Department Director said: "Gaining clarity about our role and scope of services positioned us to successfully design a planning structure and process that aligned goals, initiatives, actions and budgets of all 30 departments with the county's broader goals."

Outcomes

  1. A strategic plan that established a clear departmental identity & direction, informed by leadership's expectations, that leverages the breadth of their skills, practices, and resources.
  2. Performance Management Dept. designed a consistent, robust, replicable business planning model for all county departments based on the foundational strategic planning process.
  3. Clear, traceable alignment of 30 county departmental business plans with the Board of Commissioner's Strategic Plan.
  4. The participative & honoring nature of the strategic planning process reinforced a precedent for effective communication and working relationship with new leadership.

Lessons Learned

  1. This kind of transformative process takes intentional, deliberate, ongoing effort to nurture and sustain. As a department team, we had our eyes open about the level of commitment needed.
  2. Involving new leadership in the planning sessions was invaluable and can be an opportunity to evolve processes, procedures, roles and responsibilities.
  3. Gaining clarity about role and scope set the stage for success with a major, enterprise-wide initiative.
  4. The maxim "Change is healthy and necessary" applied here. Aligning all department plans was a stretch, and we strengthened relationships & upgraded performance measures as a result.

Who Should Consider?

Any department, municipality or county group wanting to experience the trickle-down benefits of gaining heightened clarity related to role and scope of work.