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Strategic Planning for an SWCD in Central Minnesota

An SWCD in central Minnesota hired Kanati to develop a strategic 5-year plan to guide the District with structure and purpose. The comprehensive plan focused on the organization’s operations, finances, business development, staff training, customer service, and overall growth and efficiency.

Key deliverables:

  • Identify critical gaps: the constraints they needed to overcome to ensure success.
  • Inspired action toward plan: By empowering key leaders and project managers to drive action toward goals.
  • A commitment to implement framework: Developed a reasonable and achievable pace around implementation for the SWCD to institutionalize progress.

Development of the Strategic plan

The development of the Strategic Plan was an undertaking that was long overdue, over which time the county has seen drastic changes. The county used us as an outside consultant to gather information and insight to evaluate the current condition of the SWCD and develop a plan to propel the district into the future with a clear direction and strategy for success.

  • Interviews: Everyone in the organization was interviewed from the Supervisors on the Board down to the part-time office assistant. A standardized list of questions was used to open discussion and dialogue to gather insight into the organization, how everyone’s role contributes to the outcome.
  • Observation: Time was spent at the Wright SWCD office observing staff in their working environment. The use of space, the flow of information and the general atmosphere of the office.
  • Strategic Planning Retreat: Four out of five Supervisors and all staff were present at this retreat. Through a variety of group activities, they created SWOT Analysis’, marketing and outreach plans, updated mission statements, individual self-assessments, updated office layout, and an idealistic District. The input of staff from this retreat was instrumental in development of this strategic plan.


The staff put together idea boards on how they wanted their SWCD to be reconstructed. Kanati applied their expertise and knowledge in developing strategic plans with the input from the SWCD’s employees to restructure their organization down to the very office layout. Deliverables that directly impacted employees included ways to improve work/life balance and employee engagement, handbooks and onboarding processes, mentoring programs, and opportunities for professional development. Kanati also provided the organization with a plan to increase funding streams in areas of growth, how to promote awareness and services provided by the SWCD to the public, a goal planner with steps of action for marketing, education, outreach, and ways to engage new customers.

The plan strategized the organization’s mission and created an interactive agenda surrounding it to achieve their vision. Kanati was able to successfully develop these strategic components by first understanding the organization’s values and using an integrated approach when considering what will offer the most cohesiveness for employees. Exercises in transparency, inclusiveness, and team building helped bring the organization closer and was an opportunity for Kanati to observe the team’s methods of communication, strengths, and areas for improvement. As a result of the thorough plan provided by Kanati, The SWCD has a system in place with a timeline to follow that allows them to function as a whole with direction and efficiency.


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