By Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs, Senior Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, Tribal Youth Resource Center
Recently we posed a question to participants of strategic planning training about how their strategic plan guides their work. Tribes offered the following feedback about the benefits of developing strategic plans
- Having a communication plan helped to tailor their outreach and education efforts to parents and the general public. Additionally, their social marketing materials like brochures and newsletters increased engagement in the program.
- Action plans also helped to define activities, create and keep timelines and revise processes for the juvenile court to respond to youth issues more effectively. Action planning also helped to keep staff on track with future initiatives.
- Forming and maintaining partnerships as part of the strategic planning process increases capacity to serve more youth, for example in the area of treatment services.
Generally, strategic planning can help groups, organizations, schools, and communities come together to tackle a particular issue. Having a plan increases the likelihood of meeting shared goals and objectives and decreases the likelihood of burn out and mission drift. However, keeping a strategic plan on the front burner, so to speak, requires commitment and consistent follow up. Trying to achieve a program’s vision without a plan is like planning a trip without a map or clear directions about where to go and how to get there.
In terms of indigenous strategic planning, tribal/indigenous relatives have engaged in strategic planning for thousands of years. One example is indigenous people followed (and many still do) a Star Nation calendar and aligned activities according to when the sun passes through particular constellations. The mission was to be in alignment with the star nation relatives and the vision was all nations (plants, animals, winged relatives, humans) to be in balance and live in harmony with one another. The action plan included harvesting at appropriate times, not taking more than what was needed and sacrificing so that others may live.
Finally, strategic planning can guide decision making based on what is the best for all and not for individual gain. If you would like more information on strategic planning, visit our website www.TribalYouth.org, we’re here to help!