A public retirement system, a Mosaic retainer client, had implemented a formal strategic planning process and methodology over a decade ago to ensure the board of trustees and staff had a mechanism to plan for the future business needs of the system. The system was well-regarded as a success story by the legislature, key stakeholders, and other interested parties both within the state and nationally for its actuarial practices, funding, and financial health. Although the board was pleased with the hard work that had been done, its philosophy was always to be proactive about being the best that it could be.

As a result, the board wanted to spend dedicated time with its staff and board consultants to engage in strategic planning discussions with the intent of developing a new ten-year vision. Being inclusive to understand the views and preferences of stakeholders, and seeking input from all of the system’s employees, were identified as key drivers of the success of a new ten-year vision. Mosaic was asked to design and implement an approach to accomplishing these objectives through a formal cycle of strategic planning.

The Work
Mosaic worked closely with staff to design and implement multiple stakeholder surveys to gauge the needs and preferences of members, retirees, and the board’s advisory committee. Ideas and sentiment from all the system’s staff as well as key board consultants were gathered through formal and informal surveying. Mosaic then engaged the executive staff in a structured, multi-step process to complete a comprehensive overview of the system’s external environment, as well as an analysis of the system’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The compiled information was presented to the board, staff, and board consultants for a facilitated, collaborative discussion. Mosaic also led the group of leaders through a visioning exercise, where they were asked to re-examine the mission, vision, and core values statements. A critical part of the discussions included asking the board and staff to build consensus around the definition of success for the strategic plan.

The Results
Mosaic translated the direction from the discussions and analyses into a new five-year strategic plan for the system that included the following:

  • Refreshed mission, vision, and core values statements
  • Four key system goals that are based on the identified and prioritized critical issues to address, strategic advantages, challenges, and opportunities
  • Performance measures that align with the consensus definition of success

New organizational processes and reporting mechanisms were discussed and implemented. The strategic plan was influential in shaping the board’s work plan; motivating, developing expectations for and assessing staff performance; setting and internally communicating the organization’s priorities; and externally communicating with stakeholders and constituents.

Board members reported a high degree of satisfaction with the process. The discussions not only helped them fulfill their role as system fiduciaries to engage in strategic planning, but to do so in a way that aligned with their philosophy of continuous improvement, inclusiveness, and collaboration. The refreshed strategic plan is more visible within the organization. Members, retirees, advisory committee members, and staff appreciated the opportunity to have their views heard and reflected in the development of the organization’s future direction.