Strategic Alignment

By Natalie Dillon, Director, Yolo County DCSS

During the January CSDA Board and Membership meetings I talked about a focus on strategic alignment for the Association. Strategic alignment is the process and the result of linking an organization’s structure and resources with its strategy and business environment. What that means is that CSDA will be moving toward better defining the roles and responsibilities of the Board, committees, and membership. Each play an important part in creating a high functioning organization. Strategic alignment enables higher performance by optimizing the contributions of people and processes to accomplish defined objectives, meanwhile minimizing inefficiencies and misdirection of effort and resources. This is done by focusing the energies of each group on a specific set of roles and responsibilities and eliminating redundancy or duplication.

We have already begun on this process by developing our Vision, Strategic, and Business Plans. This sets the foundation for our strategic alignment. From a governance standpoint, we are working on the review and reconciliation of the CSDA committee structure, comparing that to the vast array of committees and workgroups DCSS has deployed. This will help us better align our committees to the various roles and responsibilities that belong at that level. And finally, once this work is complete, we will modify the bylaws to ensure consistency and alignment between our strategic direction, our structure, and the resources we have in place to do the work.

At the end of March, the CSDA Board participated in a training session entitled “High Performance Governance.” The day was facilitated by Robert Nelson of Nelson Strategic Consulting and specifically addressed – Creating the Vision Intentionally, Designing the Future, and Achieving High Performance Governance. Much of what we learned will translate into changes in how the CSDA Board functions. Boards of Directors are not naturally strategic – they’re usually tactical thinking. Strategic boards are the result of strategic leadership – that is a style of leadership that requires information gathering, sharing, careful, agenda development, and specific tools that facilitate focused thinking to a clear outcome. From this change in the Board focus and realignment of committee and Membership responsibilities, we will have more meaningful Membership and Annual Meetings and a more productive organization.

Many experts say it usually takes two to three years for an organization to transition to the strategic model. Transitioning to be focused on strategic issues will take education, understanding, and processes that will facilitate these issues. We will be following up with additional information, material, and training.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with us as we look to the future and build on our Association goal to become “the voice of child support nationwide”.