ReGeneration Resources


State-wide strategic planning initiative

Case overview

The Vermont Department of Health, Tobacco Control contracted with us to lead a statewide effort to develop a strategic plan aimed at reducing tobacco use for those for whom “proven practices” were not working. The work was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our task was to design and lead a process that would first select a few groups disproportionately affected by tobacco use, and then develop a strategic plan to address those disparities.

Key challenges

• Different special interest groups all wanted to be selected
• Stakeholders were located over a broad geographic area
• Stakeholders had little experience in strategic thinking and were more “action oriented”
• Stakeholders came from very different organizational cultures

Our approach and the outcome

First, we convened the group and, after some initial team building work, we had the group develop criteria for selecting groups to work with. Having criteria developed and having reached consensus on accepting the criteria helped groups that were not chosen from feeling slighted. The group also agreed that long-term plans would be developed for all groups affected disproportionately by tobacco.

We scheduled meetings every three weeks and had plenty of good food on hand to encourage participation. Seven meetings were scheduled in different locations across the state. We adjusted our normal strategic planning process to keep it simple and useful to the stakeholders.

When the group realized that many of the barriers to success had to do with cultural differences between the groups selected and the Vermont Department of Health, building cultural competency became a part of the strategic plan. The work was accomplished in seven half-day meetings and the plan was rolled out statewide.

Letter of support

Family Business


  ..... Strategic