Having provided animal control and welfare services for decades, LA/SPCA was well versed in the issues at hand, but needed clarity around how to make strategic choices, and the criteria it should use. This is one of the strengths of our Real-Time Strategic Planning process, which helps organizations identify and use their competitive advantages as a lens to focus strategic decision making. Using this methodology, LA/SPCA identified two key competitive advantages:
- It has a positive reputation due to the professional and skilled services it provides
- It offers a comprehensive scope of services
The organization’s leadership committed to make decisions consistent with sustaining and leveraging these competitive advantages. Additional decision-making criteria – related to mission, capacity, and finances – were also identified and approved by the board of directors.
With this foundation in place, LA/SPCA management worked with a board committee to make explicit the interplay between the animal control issue and the newly established decision-making criteria. For example, they noted that providing animal control services enhanced LA/SPCA’s competitive advantage of offering comprehensive services, including proactive programs like spay/neuter and microchipping as well as reactive services such as investigating reports of abuse or retrieving abandoned animals. After the committee completed its analysis of how animal control either did or did not meet the decision-making criteria, the strategic answer emerged naturally. After many years of uncertainty, the board of directors easily adopted the committee’s recommendation to reaffirm its commitment to animal control.