Round River Consulting LLC, (RRC) was retained by the Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (The Authority) to design a strategic planning process that engaged board members, staff, stakeholders and the community. Prior to this strategic planning process, The Authority had focused exclusively on developing plans to meet Ohio EPA recycling goals. The Round River Consulting team worked with board and staff members to shape a larger more comprehensive vision and mission that positioned the Authority to be a leader in integrated waste management.
RRC began by meeting with the Strategic Planning Committee to clarify process and roles, followed by fifteen 45 minute interviews with a representative sample of board members and every Authority staff. The common themes and issues that arose from those interviews were reported in an Emerging Issues Document TM which served as a framework for launching the strategic planning process.
The Strategic Planning Committee explored the issues presented in the Emerging Issues Document; clarify critical issues facing the Authority/emerging strategic areas of focus; generate ideas for how to act upon the strategic areas of focus; begin dialogue on mission and vision; and make strategic decisions regarding the Community Listening Campaign.
RRC worked with Authority staff to finalize the questions utilized in two community forums for community leaders and residents that included small group table dialogs. Five stakeholder meetings were also held with leaders from diverse organizations ranging from the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce to waste haulers, Summit County Metroparks, the Akron Zoo, social service agencies, hospitals, and schools. A Community Listening Campaign Report was written compiling the information and themes from all the meetings.
Based on the work of the Emerging Issues Document and the Community Listening Campaign Report, RRC facilitated staff and Board meetings to modify the mission, clarify strategic priorities and corresponding objectives.
In addition, RRC facilitated a staff meeting to develop the framework for the Draft Operational Plan. Finally, a draft report was shared with the project committee and staff to review the documents; identify areas for clarification/revision; prepare for Board presentation. The Board adopted the Strategic Plan as written.
The Authority now has an inspiring, compelling and challenging vision to work toward a "zero waste community" with a mission that clarifies its role as the entity that manages an integrated waste management plan for Summit County. Prior to the planning process, its role was largely seen as a tool to implement recycling goals as established by the Ohio EPA. The tactical plan provides a clear roadmap to the staff to produce concrete measurable outcomes.
Strategic planning is a powerful tool for engaging board members, staff, and community stakeholders in a way that creates ownership and commitment to act collectively to create and implement the plan. The vision that emerged became aspirational and offered a new compass for the Authority’s activities. (“Zero Waste Community”) The mission gave a more comprehensive role for the Authority and the goals and objectives provided a clear roadmap and timeline for programming, activities, and resource deployment.