Strategy: Align Internal Operations and External Programming with District Values
We strive for excellence in all that we do and recognize that the internal culture we create is what enables us to achieve excellence. Values are meaningless if they aren’t reflected by behavior and so we must live our values if we are to achieve our goals. When our values are in tight alignment with our internal operations and external programming we increase our diversity, credibility, relevancy, and quality of program delivery. Our reputation is our most important currency. Keeping in alignment with our values at every turn will support our reputational value with clients, constituents, and partners, employee morale, and key decision makers.
We will “embed our organizational values into our internal culture and evaluate opportunities for continuous improvement”. Our organizational values begin with equity, being committed to serving all people, and so this strategy starts with the key action that we will “center equity in our administrative procedures and program delivery.” Over the previous 5-years, our equity initiative has shaped our hiring practices, led to our Cultural Ambassadors Program that delivers programming to low-English proficiency communities, integrated equity into data driven prioritization processes, and much more. While we’ve made great progress, we still have a long way to go on our equity journey. Over the next 5-years, we will deepen our commitment to equity by “moving from non-racist to actively anti-racist as an organization” and by “launching a training platform so District staff can engage in continuous education opportunities emphasizing our diversity, equity, and inclusion work.”
Integrity is another core value of ours: doing what we say we will do while upholding the highest standards of ethical behavior and being honest and transparent about it. Internally, to achieve this transparency and help us and our partners hold ourselves more accountable, we will “create greater efficiency in data and document management through a standardized and universal organizational system”. This will help us not only improve data management, but will facilitate better reporting, and better relationship management.
Being great stewards of the natural resources of Pierce County is also a core value of ours. To deepen our impact in stewardship we will “expand our stewardship capacity through a program needs assessment and increase capacity for work crew assistance.” Under this key action, we are targeting a 20% increase of the acres we have in active restoration.
As outlined in Strategy 7, collaboration is not only a core value, but central to how we work. While Strategy 7 expands upon how we collaborate with the community and our partners, collaboration is also key to our internal culture and operations. We have a suite of “Cross Program Teams” that help keep our staff out of the silos of their program teams, helping expand our efforts around sustainability, morale, equity, communications and more. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we will “refine our cross program teams and develop disappearing task groups as needed to help achieve strategic goals.”
While our reputation is our most important currency, we wouldn’t have the reputation we have without commitment to people as a core value. Continue workplace modernization initiative to ensure retention of staff. In addition to the ways that this strategic plan has shown our commitment to the people of this community, we are committed to our staff and creating a supportive, team-oriented workplace. To maintain this commitment, over the next 5-years we will “continue our workplace modernization initiative to ensure retention of staff,” including initiatives such as a pay for performance program and standardizing feedback loops for organizational and programmatic decision making.
Together, these efforts will help us achieve our final core value: excellence, always seeking to improve our practices in order to provide innovative solutions to ever-changing conditions. The previous strategies highlight how we will achieve excellence in our program delivery, but we will also “achieve excellence, integrity, and accountability as an organization” by: leveraging every dollar in rate revenue by 80 cents in grants and contracts annually; achieving good governance status from the State Conservation Commission; and receiving a clean audit from the State Auditor Annually.
Excellence is also achieved through continuous improvement in our strategic approach. While we are proud of the work our staff, program directors, board of supervisors, and community members put into this strategic plan, we also recognize the work is not done. As we move forward to implement this plan, we will continue to “evolve the District's strategic approach to focus on 5-year outcomes rather than our historic focus on short-term outputs.” It’s not simply that we want to see more trees planted, more acres restored, and more diverse communities served, we want to see these efforts effectively lead to cleaner water, more resilient communities, and ecosystems restored. Our commitment to our values will get us there.
- Staff satisfaction with organizational structures, systems and practices
- Staff capacity to practice equity in all spaces (program delivery, work relationships, etc.)
- Return on investment in shift toward becoming an outcomes-based organization
Center equity in our administrative procedures and program delivery
Develop a decision-making tool based on organizational values, which provides an analytical framework to objectively weigh and balance the different values, yet still allows for qualitative judgment.
Q3 2021 - Q2 2022
Begin tracking service hours provided by site location to establish base information about equitable distribution of services
Begin tracking demographic data as part of our event/workshop registration system to establish baseline information on whether we're achieving our equity goals
Standardize and train all staff in the use of and implementation of all new equitable practices
Focus recruitment of people of color on contracted volunteer leaders for workshop and program delivery
Embed our organizational values into our internal culture and evaluate opportunities for continuous improvement
Q1 2021 - Q4 2025
Create greater efficiency in data and document management through a standardized and universal organizational system
Q1 2021 - Q4 2022
Launch a training platform so District staff can engage in continuous education opportunities emphasizing our diversity, equity, and inclusion work
Move from non-racist to actively anti-racist as an organization as the next step in our evolution
Develop talking points for all staff to help communicate/respond to reactions to this effort
Refine cross program teams and develop disappearing task groups as needed to help achieve strategic goals
Q2 2021 - Q4 2021
Expand Stewardship capacity through program needs assessment and increase capacity for work crew assistance
Continue workplace modernization initiative to ensure retention of staff.
Q1 2021 - Q4 2025
Implement a Pay for Performance program.
Design and implement other modernization initiatives (e.g. work from home/work-life balance)
Standardize feedback loops for organizational or programmatic decision making
Finalized in Q4 2021
Achieve excellence, integrity, and accountability as an organization.
Leverage rate revenue by 80% of revenue from grants and contracts.
Q1 2021 - Q4 2025
Achieve good governance status from the State Conservation Commission
Receive a clean audit from the State Auditor annually
Evolve the District's strategic approach to focus on 5-year outcomes rather than our historic focus on short-term outputs.
Q2 2021 - Q3 2021
Align District conservation goals with broader Puget Sound regional recovery goals
District goals align with local watershed goals
- Create Communities of Action
- Protect and Restore Functioning Ecosystems
- Improve Conditions for Healthy Salmon
- Improve Water Quality
- Advance Agricultural Systems
- Promote Community-Based Food Systems
- Engage Community as Valued Partners
- Align Internal Operations and External Programming with District Values
- Create Climate-Resilient Communities