By Heyden Enochson
The Power of Trust

Sure, strategic planning can be a catalyst to great organizational growth. That being said, a strategic plan is useless unless those who are directly connected are involved.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services in Nevada did just that. Bringing together nearly ten distinct entities Animal Services realized it was time to tackle past organizational changes by engaging, aligning and restructuring for the future. 

With direction to initiate a process with all stakeholders and the general public to identity and evaluate new organizational structure options for the Washoe County Regional Animal Services, the challenge became creating a new structure that could easily be transitioned into and wouldn’t affect their current service levels.

Transparency and Trust

Engaging stakeholders can be difficult. Very difficult.

One of the most important ways to get your stakeholders involved in your strategic planning process is to be absolutely transparent. Being transparent and up-front about problems you are trying to address, what you are trying to accomplish, and what input you need from those who are involved, you have the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with your stakeholders; something no amount of money or planning can buy.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services did just that; in their meetings, they were very clear with all of their stakeholders. They genuinely asked for the input of the public and all of the managing government entities, allowing them to build a trusting relationship.

Putting Together the Puzzle Pieces

Think of stakeholders like puzzle pieces; without them, you’ll have holes when you put together your organizational puzzle. Before you can create a strategic plan, it is vital to involve those who are influenced and affected by the organization. Strategic planning and implementation can be invaluable in growing and changing organizations, but you must build a relationship with your stakeholders to bring together all of your puzzle pieces to create a cohesive plan.

Washoe County Regional Animal Services involved all of their key stakeholders to piece together their organizational puzzle. Without this engagement, they would have had holes in their new organization. They didn’t create a traditional strategic plan, but followed similar paths to success during their restructuring process, ultimately allowing them to become a new department of Washoe County.