- Posted by Famcare
- On June 26, 2017
- 0 Comments
If you’ve been following our 30 year stories, you have probably gotten the notion that I’m kind of a dreamer/visionary type and a risk taker. I attribute these qualities to several things. First, I am pretty much wired this way and always have been. Second, I grew up with a lot of Disney influence, with my family being surrounded by the most amazing creative people who worked within the Disney enterprise. The gentleman who designed all of the Disney Parks, the creator of Donald Duck and the individual who replaced Walt when he passed away, and the person responsible for Disney films, were all close family friends. And my third influence was that of my incredibly creative and talented Mom. “Imagineering,” the process of engineering our dreams into reality, became embedded within me.
Because of my love for innovation, adventure and Imagineering, Strategic Planning has been a perfect fit. As the Family Care Network was moving towards its 25th anniversary, I can honestly say that our discipline, even obsession, with Strategic Planning has played an invaluable role in shaping, guiding and driving the fulfillment of our dreams!
Here is my very short version discussion about Strategic Planning. Simply said, it is a Disciplined Effort to produce fundamental Decisions and Actions that Shape and Guide what an organization Is, What it does and Why it does it!
Why we do it – it serves as a “Roadmap” to our future, consisting of three distinct elements: 1) Formulation of the organization’s future activities in light of changing external factors, 2) Development of a competitive, effective strategy to achieve the mission, and 3) Creation of an organizational structure which will deploy resources to successfully carry out its competitive strategy in fulfilling the mission.
With 25 years of Strategic Planning success, this was the year I chose to really improve the process by fully implementing “Adaptive Strategic Planning.” Given the ever-changing, dynamic world in which we work, I needed to employ a more effective planning process. Instead of the old approach of “making a plan and sticking to it,” which led to centralized strategic planning around fixed time horizons, Adaptive Planning is “setting a direction and testing to it,” treating the whole organization as a team that is experimenting its way to success. It was a bold move, a seachanger that I will never regret.
Adaptive Strategic Planning has proved itself to be a powerful, effective tool to carry out Imagineering!
Enough of the “academics” of strategic planning, 2011/2012 was a great demonstration year of putting this planning to work. For a long time, we had a strategic objective to be able to secure our own administrative headquarters. Towards this end, we ventured down many dead-end paths, but this did not thwart our efforts. In a traditional strategic planning process you would normally set a number of linear objectives, (i.e., target cash at hand, space requirements, a budget, geographic location, financing available, facility planning process, et cetera) each triggering a separate set of activities. In our adaptive process, it was quite different.
People knew about our desire to have our own administrative headquarters and were often making suggestions or attempting to help us. One of those folks was our company attorney and very good friend, Neil Tardiff. Neil and I had talked about this on several occasions, particularly about some property he was involved in developing. Unfortunately, when the economy tanked so did his development plans.
One day, I received a call from Neil asking to set up a meeting with a local developer who had acquired land out of a bankruptcy. Coincidentally, I had also received a proposal from another friend, Rudy Bachman, the owner of Specialty Construction Inc. (SCI) concerning some land he had heard was becoming available, with some estimates on what it would cost to build the size of building we thought we needed. With nothing to lose, one of our Board members at the time, Dick Morris, and I met with Neil and his developer friend. To my surprise, we were joined in this meeting by the developer’s Executive Administrator, also a longtime friend of Dick and I–providential.
During our meeting I was able to fully describe the Family Care Network and how we serve the community, and what I anticipated our property needs would be. We viewed a track map of the development, identified a lot which Neil and I thought would work best for us, shook hands and left with the understanding that they were going to “think about it.” Mind you, we never discussed price.
No sooner had Dick and I sat down over a cup of coffee to debrief about our conversation, than I received a call from Neil. His developer friend offered to sell us the parcel we liked, at his cost, and possibly cash back to us part of the transaction as a donation! WOW! WOW! WOW!
I ADAPTED our strategic plan rapidly and agreed to buy the property. To add intrigue to the story, our CFO, Bobbie Boyer, was on a long vacation and was unavailable for consultation. During our ensuing discussions, I learned that this was the property Rudy from SCI had spoken of and that he had an ongoing relationship with this developer. I soon engaged the services of MW Architects, SCI and Carol Florence from Oasis to pull together this project. Needless to say, Bobbie returned from her trip to a big surprise!
My point here is that our Strategic Planning process created the vision, while our adaptability allowed us to seize an immediate opportunity. There is so much more to this story, and it truly was “miraculous.” But what is important is that having our own administrative headquarters gave us 10,000 square feet of much needed additional space at less than the cost of what we were paying in lease and rental fees. It allowed us to serve our clients more effectively, with less cost, under one roof, with parking available and a much-needed conference/training center. Never underestimate the power of Imagination!
By the end of 2011/2012, we were steeped in facility design, the permitting process and financing. But most importantly, we served 1,473 children, youth and families through 13 programs with a 92% success rate. We averaged 150 employees per month, utilized 88 foster families, and had 630 volunteers donate 16,428 hours, while 2,198 individual donors and businesses financially contributed to our efforts.