Letter from Our CEO: Strategic Planning, the Council, and You | May 2018
I’m extremely pleased to let you know that the National Health Care for the Homeless Council has launched its strategic planning efforts to help guide our efforts over the next few years. We have established a Strategic Planning Committee that purposely unites people of various disciplines and diverse levels of experience with the Council. What every member has in common is that they are a strategic thinker and have a deep knowledge of the health services and needs of people experiencing homelessness. The first task of the committee was to engage a consultant to help guide our strategic planning process. Through a rigorous and competitive process, the Council has engaged La Piana Consulting, which specializes in strategy and strategic planning.
Many years ago, I asked my cousin—who spent his career as an instructor of military strategy and tactics in the United States Army—to summarize the goal of strategy and tactics. Without hesitation, he replied, “Get the high ground.” Among the benefits of getting the high ground is that you can see further. From the higher vantage point, we can see the landscape, get a better idea of where to go and how to get there, and discern approaching threats well before they get to us.
Many of us are in the trenches daily, using tactics to address the immediate needs of the patients, policies, or administrative hurdles directly in front of us—and we do that well. Strategy is a little different. The dictionary defines strategy as a “method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of an overall goal or solution to a problem.” If our overall goal is to prevent and eliminate homelessness, as well as to secure health care and housing for everyone, then we need an overall strategy to reach that goal.
To create a good strategy, we need good information, and the Council is turning to you for much of that information. In the coming weeks, we will ask you to give input about what you think are the most important issues the Council should address—and how we should address them. For those attending the 2018 National HCH Conference & Policy Symposium in Minneapolis, you will also have opportunities to give your input to the Council.
Thank you for the work you do every day in the trenches, and thank you in advance for helping the Council to get the information we need to think and plan strategically to better achieve our goal of meeting the needs of people experiencing homelessness and eliminating homelessness.