Every organization embarks on the process of strategic planning. This is an important opportunity for leadership to define the vision and goals that drive the work of an organization going forward.
You may ask, “Where can we center equity in the process of strategic planning?” At Converge Consulting, we specialize in strategic planning consulting grounded in racial and intersectional equity (R.IS.E.).
Our Emphasis on an Equitable Process
At Converge, our strategic planning process involves three phases: (1) Research & Discovery, (2) a Vision-Building Retreat and (3) Strategic Plan Development. First, a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) is created composed of staff, board members and potentially key organizational partners. We recognize the SPC as the organization’s experts and engage the SPC for guidance and thought partnership throughout the process.
Through a collaborative discovery process, we develop a set of key questions to include issues of equity: How does leadership incorporate the voices and experiences of staff into the planning process? If an organization is refining the mission, vision, or values, how do staff currently experience these things? Could leadership be more diligent about cultivating a more authentic work environment?
We address these questions through a range of research methods, including surveys and interviews. The key to be intentional about centering R.I.S.E. in strategic planning is through data collection. Data should always be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender identity.
We always ensure that staff feels safe to be fully transparent and authentic within interviews. It’s crucial to examine the willingness to give feedback. To center on race equity specifically, Converge is always mindful of the input from BIPOC staff, especially if the experience differs from white staff.
The Value of Ground-truthing
Next, Converge will facilitate a Vision-Building Retreat to be a “ground-truthing” moment. The word “ground-truth” refers to an honest revelation of reality informed by empirical data. When racial equity is concerned, many organizations are often blindsided by their practices, especially when there are gaps between these practices and their proclaimed organizational values.
The ground-truthing process re-engages vital stakeholders (i.e. staff, interviewees and focus group participants) to ensure that our analysis and subsequent strategic plan “rings true.” Converge will present what we have accurately captured from surveys, interviews, and meeting discussions.
In consulting, the ability to ground-truth with clients is critical because only truthful information can help organizations and leaders reflect and improve. Converge staff commit to speaking the truth because we know it can best serve our client partners.
Our R.I.S.E. Strategic Planning consulting service will help your organization embark on an honest and transformative journey. We encourage all organizations to reflect on the importance of embedding equity in strategic planning, emphasizing its process and outcomes.
If your organization is ready to start strategic planning grounded on racial and intersectional equity, contact Converge Consulting today!