Keeping Health Forward’s strategic plan in focus

As 2016 winds down, we begin our annual blog series where Health Forward associates review highlights from our work this past year. Join us as we look back on 2016.

As the Health Care Foundation’s new vice president of operations/human capital, one of my many tasks was to update and report on progress of Health Forward’s strategic plan, which was adopted late last year.

The process of developing a strategic plan is challenging. It requires organizations to continuously consider the impact we seek based on our efforts; to engage staff and board to commit to measurable goals; to approve priorities for implementation; and to commit to revisit the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the organization’s internal and external environments change.

In short, it’s a lot of work.

But it’s work I believe an organization must accomplish, because a strategic plan is critical to success. In the best of times, it maximizes an organization’s work; in demanding times, it provides a north star among competing priorities.

So, with this in mind, my goal is to help Health Forward keep the strategic plan relevant and in focus. This is an important, living document that shouldn’t gather dust on a shelf; it is our road map that keeps us on a steady course.

I’m proud of the progress we made during 2016 toward reaching some of the initial goals in the strategic plan. We’ve developed our annual policy agenda, set evaluation expectations and priorities, and are finalizing a strategic communications plan. We continue to assess our internal staffing structure and evaluate roles and responsibilities to improve effectiveness.

We are engaging in conversations with our board and Community Advisory Committee to define governance roles and ensure there is efficient time for productive engagement in issue education and community outreach. And we’ve spent a great deal of time developing theories of change for the foundation and for each of our focus areas.

As I complete my first four months with Health Forward, I am refreshed to see we are refining our strategy so it remains adaptive and directive. Along the way, we will continue to discover best practices and strategies that are most effective for our staff and for the success of our mission.

I’m proud to be part of an organization that values self-reflection and learning.

Read more from authors in this series:

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