We are pleased to announce that we are assisting Virginia Industries for the Blind (VIB) with their strategic planning effort.
VIB is is a division of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and provides employment opportuniities for Virginians who are blind or visually impaired in two manufacturing plants, eleven base supply stores, and six service locations. They have diverse contracts with federal agencies through the AbilityOne Program (e.g., contract management and closeout services for the U. S. Army), contracts through State Agency agreements such as the Virginia Court Debt Collection Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Virginia Employment Commission, and manufacture items as diverse as mattresses for the U. S. Navy and state colleges and universities and reflective vests for the Virginia Department of Trnsportation.
Given the improvements in assistive technology and more ambitious expectations of young people who are blind and people who lose their sight after gaining work experience, VIB is exploring ways to attract workers who are looking for more than traditional product manufacturing. In fact, some of VIB's experienced contract closeout employees have already been hired by the government, which is quite a successful outcome for those people.
We look forward to helping VIB plan the modernization of its business to meet the evolving needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.
Ursa Major's approach to strategic planning services is (1) tailored, (2) informed, (3) collaborative, (4) effective, and (5) focused. We regularly team with International Leadership Consulting / Catoctin Consulting and provide an experienced team to facilitate consensus on goals, objectives, strategies, performance measures and targets, and reflect the business knowledge of the organization and its stakeholders that participate in the process.
- Tailored. We understand the specific needs of the organization, and tailor the methodology to meet their needs.
We have extensive experience with a number of frameworks, including brainstorming, creative problem solving, the Balanced Scorecard, performance-based budgeting and the logic model.
- Informed. We analyze the current state of the organization compared with existing strategic and business plans, and the external environment, review perforamnce results, and interview key stakeholders to conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and possible goal areas. We may do data mining or trend analysis of performance data or conduct gap analyses.
- Collaborative. We conduct design meeting(s) with the organization's planning team and plan group and stakeholder participation to develop buy-in through facilitated collaboration. We tap into existing experience of diverse stakeholders and obtain cross-organizational input.
- Effective. We have an extensive set of field-tested tools and templates and may develop strawman plans to speed the process. We use non-threatening techniques and small group work to draw out those who may be reluctant to speak, honor everyone's participation, and focus the discussion. We use technology where appropriate.
- Focused. We design and facilitate meetings and workshops to achieve objectives. We document meeting results and support the organization in implementation, assessment, and performance management.
When we undertake an organizational assessment, we select the appropriate tools and techniques to meet the specific objectives. We may use interviews, surveys, assessment instruments, and/or facilitated workshops.
Our team includes several consultants with PhDs who specialize in survey research and ensuring the validity of results. We design instruments and administered surveys using a variety of techniques, including web-based and email surveys.
We have conducted analyses and studies covering a wide variety of objectives and methodologies – program evaluation, strategic planning, need assessment, communications research, marketing research, segmentation, demographic research, concept tests, customer/patient satisfaction, qualitative research, and litigation support studies.
For example, we recently met with department managers and key staff of an organization trying to automate its case management functions, to determine how to "break the logjam" and help them get their implementation on track. We identified key "critical path" requirements to be researched with vendors and applied project management techniques to bring structure to the process going forward. We are convinced that the right solution will greatly reduce redundant work, improve planning and scheduling, and overall allow the organization to continue expansion with less stress on its staff. We really enjoy the chance to help take an organization to the next level!