The JCS 2018 strategic plan has three overarching goals:
- Address Organizational Continuity, Capacity, and Professional Issues;
- Strengthen, Elevate and Optimize the Governance and Engagement of the Board of Directors; and
- Strengthen and Assure Financial Stability.
These goals and their related objectives address priorities identified during the consultants’ strategic assessment phase, as well as through board, executive, and strategic planning committee meetings.
Each goal includes a table that lists a series of objectives and related tactics (or action steps). At the June 2018 Board meeting, participants addressed the remaining details of the Plan, such as the Accountable person for a specific objective, the Responsible person for a specific objective, and the Start and End dates for a specific objective. The Accountable person has the ultimate responsibility for the objective, holding others accountable for achieving results, while the Responsible person is tasked with achieving the objective. In most cases, one person was identified as Accountable and a different person identified as Responsible for each objective.
The most effective strategic plans are those that are “living (dynamic) plans” that continue to be reviewed, adjusted, and updated over time. As such, the goals and objectives listed in the strategic plan are not exhaustive. Room exists to reduce or add objectives to most effectively achieve the three goal areas. Going forward, additional tactics should be developed for each objective, although the Responsible person can take on that responsibility as part of the implementation process of the strategic plan. The board should also seek to synchronize and prioritize goal areas and identify needed financial resources.
As highlighted in prior discussions and deliverables, RLA highly recommends that JCS focus on implementing the IT/Infrastructure and Communication & Marketing recommendations previously presented. These are not listed as separate Goals because the Strategic Planning Committee has wisely determined that these issues cut across all deliverables.
In working with the JCS Board and executive leadership, RLA has made a few observations. Through the strategic assessment process and the development of the strategic plan, RLA has noted that the JCS Board has become more cohesive and engaged; it is now much more actively involved in JCS policies. The Board has become more of a partner to the CEO, and is a stronger resource to which professional staff can turn for advice and guidance on key strategic questions and issues. The Board has also become more focused on actionable steps it can take to move JCS forward and understands that its success is tied to clear goals and realistic plans.
Goal 1: Address Organizational Continuity, Capacity, and Professional Issues
The JCS professional staff believes that when JCS operates at its best, it is a compassionate and caring organization focused on community. In its current state (e.g., how the organization identifies and supports key performers, or how it internally communicates strategic priorities), a few areas emerge that require attention. The objectives under this goal area aim to align JCS staff within a sustainability model to create a highly engaged employee team base.
Over the course of implementing the strategic plan, the board and executive leadership will want to achieve a shared vision in which staff believe JCS is the best place to work as measured by a tool that assesses an “Engagement Score” and benchmarks that evaluate JCS’ progress in achieving its Goal 1 objectives.
The Board and executive leadership desire to build a “high performance” organization by focusing on objectives that establish a strong succession plan for key personnel, realign staff structures to support continued efforts to scale JCS to impact a larger clientele, and focus anew on professional development and growth. JCS’ leaders seek to build greater transparency via improved internal and organizational communications, including among and between staff and Board members.
The Board and executive leadership also support a more intentional focus on identifying staff talent and building the organization’s mid-level staff capacity. The strategic plan calls for creating a talent and leadership pipeline by developing a supportive atmosphere for staff development and succession opportunities. In turn, this stronger approach to staff development will support efforts to improve operations across JCS’s major functional areas – such as health care, human services, and counseling – while providing the organization with opportunities for greater growth in programs and services. Focusing on objectives related to this area would also inform considerations related to the CEO search and succession plan.
Goal 2: Strengthen, Elevate and Optimize the Governance and Engagement of the Board of Directors
The objectives under this goal focus primarily on opportunities to elevate the Board of Directors from an entity focused solely on governance to one that is also strategic and generative. It includes objectives on building a thoughtful CEO succession plan and enhancing how the Board addresses risk factors.
By expanding its focus beyond governance, the board has embraced the opportunity to evolve into a more effective, high-performing body. A governance board generally provides operational oversight, supports the organization’s business plan, and tracks benchmarks. A high-performing board, on the other hand, will have the following characteristics:
- Board members engage more fully with the organization’s mission;
- Board recruitment has clear expectations, including details on:
a. Time commitment;
b. Fundraising expectations;
c. Identified factors for success; and
d. Term limits;
- Board members’ skills, roles, and tasks are aligned with both the organization’s needs and the members’ own interests. Board members apply strategic perspective and skills on the organization’s activities
- Board members and staff have a clear and explicit understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities, and expected contributions to the organization’s long-term success
- The board and staff have a shared understanding of the board’s involvement in the decision-making process and which decisions it should make
- Board leaders build meeting agendas around high-level strategy discussions.
By evolving into a more strategic and generative body, the board has a greater role in defining program and policy work while also tracking and measuring impact. It will have more opportunities to engage and drive system-change thinking, work as a partner to the executive team, and imagine what is possible for JCS.
Goal 3: Strengthen and Assure Financial Stability
The objectives under this goal focus primarily on JCS’s long-term financial stability and growth, its opportunity to raise new dollars, its capacity to manage fundraising campaigns, and its ability to build an enhanced brand.
JCS has reaffirmed its mission to improve the quality of life and self-sufficiency of the Jewish and broader communities throughout South Florida in accordance with Jewish values. Much of JCS’ future success depends on its ability to raise funds from current and future donors and funding institutions, especially as its current dependency on Claims Conference funding impacts the long-term viability of its health programs and requires raising replacement dollars. JCS’s leaders also recognize that the organization must capitalize on the opportunity to conduct a robust centennial campaign that could plant the seeds for an endowment.
JCS’s relationship with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation continues to be of paramount importance to the organization’s leadership and central to JCS’s direction. The relationship – and whether it includes or does not include funding support – impacts much of the future structure of JCS in all areas of the strategic plan. JCS and GMJF leaders are exploring collaborative fundraising opportunities and are passionate about reaching agreement on the organizations’ future relationship. Questions exist about what JCS programs and services the Federation may either jointly raise funds for or fully fund. As of this writing, the following specific issues are being addressed:
- Outlining a co-branding plan
- Developing a plan to identify, cultivate and solicit supplementary gifts to fund the Jewish Programs of JCS
- Collaborating on the identification and response to emerging community needs
- Collaborating on staff benefits such as health insurance, liability insurance, etc.
As JCS seeks to improve its fundraising acumen, it also recognizes that it needs to determine how to restructure volunteer and professional fundraising responsibilities to be able to simultaneously build annual fundraising and endowment campaigns (to be launched during the centennial celebration). In addition, JCS will need to assess the feasibility and viability of all of the organization’s current programs and services while capitalizing on newer services, such as Switchboard and Family Counseling, to develop new donor and funding relationships. How JCS markets these programs and services, how it brands itself in the Jewish and broader community, and how it engages the Federation in shared messaging, need to be addressed.