Formed on July 1, 2013, the Lancaster City Alliance (LCA) is the culmination of two vital Lancaster City organizations consolidating into a single, more powerful force. The James Street Improvement District (JSID) and the Lancaster Alliance joined forces into a single community-service organization. Together, the JSID and the Lancaster Alliance offer 30 years of experience in community and economic development.
LCA has an “ear to the ground” and an ability to facilitate bringing people together to find solutions. With an authentic approach to their mission – they really believe in the city – their network gets things accomplished. They knew of North Group’s strategic planning services and were referred to us by a friend.
LCA needed to clarify their role in the future of the city and develop a strategic plan whose goals had the support of a wide group of people.
They needed to successfully consolidate two organizations, making sure all stakeholders would be involved in a process of designing what the new single organization looked like moving forward.
We created a strategic planning process to help two organizations find common ground and unity of purpose.
Listening is always the first piece of strategic planning. We listened to what Bob Shoemaker, President and CEO, knew he needed. Bob organized a six person consolidation team in order to include and keep engaged members of the two former Boards. We encouraged this collaboration, holding three small group meetings for easier individual input, then bringing two boards together in a large meeting.
We facilitated conversations to receive a wide range of input from board members of both organizations and staff members, as well as with public officials with whom the new organization would need to work to accomplish its mission, including Lancaster’s mayor, a state senator, a state representative and county commissioners.
We helped the client meld former mission, vision and values statements into a new one. We facilitated integration of leadership as the President and CEO had been with the Lancaster Alliance and the EVP/ COO had been with James Street Improvement District.
The process included regular and ongoing dialogue with the client, with flexibility and some re-creating along the way. This approach of involving client and stakeholders ensures buy-in and actual use of the new strategic plan.
LCA found a way to write a plan that they could confidently share with the public. Sending it out in a newsletter contributed to their accountability. With LCA as facilitator, the product is “getting people to have courageous conversations” so they can explore solutions.
With diverse and wide reaching focus areas, someone was needed to bring people together to have conversations. This is where LCA comes in. They were able to clarify their role.