This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a former member of our team.
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” At CCMU, we want to go far, and our recent strategic planning process is the perfect example of how we embrace this sage advice.
Our board and staff knew that 2014 would be a pivotal year of change for the medically underserved. State and federal health reforms were on track for implementation. Critical conversations about inequities in health and additional reforms to our health care delivery and payment systems were scheduled. We thought this would be an ideal time for us to check in on our vision, mission, and strategies to position us for the changing environment.
For many years I made my living facilitating strategic planning for nonprofit organizations, so to say I like strategic planning is an understatement. It is always a bit like exercising – it’s hard and usually exhausting, but it’s also clarifying, and in the end you feel great about it.
Because we believe that we go farther when we go together, our process started with a series of stakeholder interviews conducted by an independent consultant. We gained invaluable insights from these conversations about our strengths, our weaknesses, and where those who know us best saw opportunity for growth. Specifically, stakeholders had high praise for our fidelity to our mission and our unwavering pursuit of our work. They also identified five distinctive strengths of our work:
- Leadership – CCMU is a credible, knowledgeable, balanced, and effective leader.
- Powerful Communications – CCMU provides concise, relevant, and accessible information to a variety of audiences.
- Effective Advocacy – CCMU has high-level visibility and credibility in state policy circles.
- Community Engagement – CCMU is a trusted supporter and go-to resource for communities around Colorado.
- Convening and Collaboration – CCMU has the ability to bring significant thought leaders together and create conditions for effective engagement and collaboration.
One of the hardest parts about any strategic planning process is figuring out how to translate a lot of great ideas into a framework that builds on the current strengths and activities of an organization and accommodates all of the new energy and opportunities that emerge when you are thinking big about the future.
Our board of directors played an invaluable role of pushing the process and holding high expectations, until we got our new framework just right. And, in late August, the board approved a new strategic framework to guide our work for the next three years. Core to this framework is a refined mission statement: We create opportunities and eliminate barriers to good health for medically underserved Coloradans.
Over the last two months, CCMU staff have shared the framework with over 30 of our partner organizations to update them on our work and to explore where our new plan overlaps with their work. As we look toward the final months of 2014, the beginning of 2015, and the full implementation of our plan, we hope we’ll find intersections with your work and—together—make progress toward our vision of a future where all Coloradans have the opportunity to live a healthy life.