[nfbmi-talk] mcb long term plan august 2003

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Sun Apr 25 23:21:35 UTC 2010

Through 2007
August 29, 2003


The Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) began a quality systems design process to redefine how MCB serves the community.  Commission staff received training through the Capital Quality Initiative (CQI) at Lansing Community College.   In January 2000, Director Patrick Cannon and the MCB Executive Management Team directed a newly organized Vision 2020 Process Design Team with a charge to create new quality systems for MCB.


The Process Design Team worked for two years in an inclusive process to learn the priorities of customers, partners, stakeholders, and agency staff.  The Process Design Team held meetings around the state to provide Commission staff, customers, partners and stakeholders with opportunities to dialogue regarding the quality process.  Recommendations were gathered and published on the MCB 2020 listserv, which was created for the purpose of sharing information in the MCB community.  The first set of recommendations was presented to the Executive Management Team in the summer of 2001. 


The Process Design Team learned that the Commission for the Blind should create a customer responsive service delivery system.  In order to provide such a system, the team recommended a number of “tilting strategies” and values that place emphasis on building relationships.  The Team recommended four strategic initiatives focused on developing customer responsive services:


1.  Visioning ideal systems and services

2.  Strategic thinking and planning

3.  Implementing quality systems

4.  Continuous learning approach


These initiatives were identified and proposed as an ongoing context for further development of the MCB strategic plan.


The Vision 2020 Process Design Team was expanded to include managers, supervisors and others to form the Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team.  In the fall of 2001, the MCB PAQ Team formed six focus design teams.  These teams worked with customers and staff sorting through gathered information in order to identify the vital priorities for a short-term plan.  Additionally, the PAQ Team used all customer and staff contributions to create a long-term strategic plan.


The Michigan Commission for the Blind community is grateful for the effort of so many who have given their best thinking to this process.  


What follows is our long-term strategic plan.  What we have learned is that strategic planning is a continuous visioning and learning process that will require the effort of everyone in our community in order to meet the challenges of the future.




The MCB motto is “Changing lives, changing attitudes.”  The philosophy of MCB envisions a world where people achieve self-sufficiency and independence within a society that understands and accepts blindness.  This reflects our intent to become a place where all of our actions model what we expect of society. 




There are seven principles and values that encourage customers, staff, partners and stakeholders to be mutually involved in the ongoing process of strategic thinking, designing, and planning for the future.  

The principles serve as roadside markers on the journey to full inclusion of people who are blind and otherwise disabled.  The goal is leaderful empowerment, independence, accountability and full inclusion into the mainstream of a global society.  The MCB PAQ Team formally adopted the following “Tilting Principles and Values,” as a reminder to keep people at the forefront of our thinking.


1.    CUSTOMER RESPONSIVE SERVICES:  Systems are the single most important result.  Everything implemented in MCB must be designed to achieve the goal of creating a customer responsive service system.


2.    TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS:  These values are at the core of everything we do.  Every action taken will build trust and enhance relationships among all who participate.  We must ask ourselves:  does the proposed activity build trust?


3.    INVOLVING AND INFORMING EVERYONE: This is the process of sharing all the information all of the time.  It creates a pool of new ideas and strategies shared with all constituents and communities.  It fosters a world that fully includes people who are blind in all aspects of society. 


4.    VISIONING AND TEAM LEARNING:  MCB stakeholders are focused on the future, creating new capacities to meet the ever-changing needs of people with vision loss.  Team learning creates the energy and knowledge to keep customers and staff at the cutting edge of the latest information and technology.  


5.    IMAGINING INNOVATIVE POSSIBILITIES: Creating a whole systems mindset helps us foster holistic thinking, collaboration, and team building.  We consciously explore possibilities and develop strategies for customer responsive services. 


6.    DIALOGUE CIRCLES: This is a process that encourages positive conversations in an open organization.   In dialogue circles, participants come to the table as equals and listen, learn, share and ask questions.  This process helps us focus on increasing agency capacities to serve our customers.


7.    TILTING: This is a symbol that reminds us to tilt toward customer responsive services.  The stakeholders are shifting their peerospectives from vertical to horizontal, from exclusion to inclusion, from client to customer, and from customer to partner.




This list of six strategic goals provides the direction for all stakeholders to follow as we work together to create a seamless service system for our mutual clients.  


1.    LEADERSHIP RESULTS: Strengthen the values and mission to assure that all needed services are being provided either by the Commission or in collaboration with other partners.


A.  Strengthen partnerships with the Department of Education, the School for the Blind, the Library for the Blind, and Camp Tuhsmeheta.  Enhance services for blind children and adults consistent with Public Act 260.


B.   Continuously improve and implement customer responsive services.


2.    PLANNING AND ORGANIZATION: Plan, organize, staff, and position the agency to deliver the best possible quality services.


A.  Use alternative human resources such as creative staffing methods, interns, volunteers, and service clubs, as ways to supplement and augment staff to serve more people.


B.   Develop collaborative opportunities with partners to mutually improve service delivery.


3.    RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT:  Secure adequate budget, staffing, and technology resources to deliver exemplary client services.


A.  Increase MCB’s share of Michigan’s federal funds for rehabilitation.


B.    Increase state financial support.


C.   Secure foundation grants and substantial gifts to supplement state and federal funds.


4.    CUSTOMER RESPONSIVE SERVICE SYSTEMS: Establish an improved customer responsive service delivery system, which is user friendly and effective to staff and customers. 


A.  Continuously improve the processes for staff recognition, increased teamwork, pay equity, flextime, and meaningful work that will ultimately benefit clients through improved morale and quality services.


B.   Improve accountability and timeliness of agency services.  Staff, customers, partners and stakeholders will increase communication and understanding of mutual expectations and responsibilities.


C.   Continue staff, customer, partner and stakeholder involvement in the design, development and implementation of policies.


D.  Increase capacity of ALL programs to serve all customers who need independent living skills.


E.   Develop a formal tracking system for better data collection to evaluate all programs and improve customer responsive services.


F.    Develop improved methods of determining client satisfaction with agency and partner services.


5.    TECHNOLOGY AND PROCESS MANAGEMENT: Increase the application of appropriate innovative technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of people and systems, and the full inclusion of people who are blind in the mainstream of society.


A.  Provide premier technology training and equipment that allows customers to develop competitive skills, to enter into employment, and to fully participate in employer training and other job activities.


B.   Provide state-of-the-art hardware, software and training that allows each MCB employee to optimize productivity.


C.   Support collection, processing and dissemination of data and information that allows decisions to be made throughout the agency that will respond to changes and developments inside and outside the organization.   Provide internal and external customers with information about blindness and the progress of the Commission on demand.  


6.  OUTREACH, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS: To better serve the citizens of Michigan, strive to increase awareness of the agency statewide, improve outreach efforts in the communities, and enhance communication between MCB, its customers, and   community partners.


A.   Monitor increased visibility throughout the years as the state uses a variety of methods such as new brochures, videos, speaking events, and the Agency’s 25th year anniversary celebrations to increase awareness.


B.   Increase MCB’s accessibility through a variety of methods, such as an easy-to-find phone number and continuous improvement of the MCB website and other communication strategies.


C.   Share “success stories” to demonstrate the accomplishments of people who are blind so that employers and others will learn what a person who is blind can achieve.





When this Strategic Plan is fully implemented, MCB customers, partners, stakeholders and staff may be closer to realizing a vision that is shared by many.  This vision, first expressed by Director Patrick Cannon to the MCB staff in 1998, states that:  “Someday it will be said that if a person is going to be blind, she/he could not be in a better place than Michigan. Someday our state will be such a place because (1) Michigan's education and rehabilitation systems believe fully in the capacity of blind persons to achieve independence and provides the finest array of education and rehabilitation services in the country, (2) blind persons in Michigan believe in themselves, (3) the general public has a positive image of blind persons and their capabilities, and (4) the state's employer community demonstrates its belief in the capabilities of blind persons.”  This is a corollary to Governor Granholm’s vision.  


Governor Granholm’s vision is to create a Michigan that is:

A.· A positive and healthy high-technology state that is good for people in jobs

B.· A Michigan that is able to attract the most creative and energetic individuals

C.· A state with cool cities that offer the most livable and diverse communities in America


The Governor challenges all leaders when she says:  “The 

most important leaders in any organization are those who create

the culture of integrity, creativity, excellence, respect, inclusion,

and engagement.”


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