Caltrans 2020-2024 Strategic Plan


We worked closely with James E. Davis, former Chief Deputy Director, and Blair Thompson, Chief of Risk and Strategic Management, to develop a facilitation plan. Working with the Executive Board, as well as the larger Caltrans 21,000-person organization, we developed a draft of the plan’s vision, mission, values, goals, and outcomes that aligned with the State of California Governor’s strategic objectives for the current quadrennium. We provided overall project management and facilitation as well as workshop collateral design, video editing, and the design and delivery of numerous Executive Board briefings. 

VMS was called on to assist in the design, facilitation, and documentation to create the Caltrans 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. This included interviewing and briefing the Executive Board, workshops, and focus groups to draft and refine Caltrans’ vision, mission, values, goals, and outcomes. 

The purpose of this effort was to develop a new strategic plan that aligned with the State of California Governor’s strategic objectives for the current quadrennium. We conducted the workshops in a way that maximized participation statewide and catalyzed buy-in and adoption.  

While not part of the initial “problem definition,” several things contributed to the methods selected to complete this project. First, soon after this process was initiated, a new Director was appointed by the Governor. Project activities resumed in late 2019 with a more robust approach to executive interviews and feedback delivery. Second, aside from a series of meetings in 2019, the 2-day Executive Board offsite, and the 190-member Executive Team focus group all subsequent activities in 2020-2021 were conducted virtually as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the high-profile nature of this project and potential reach, it was decided to use this project to help the Department transition to remote work by training all participants on how to use virtual meeting platforms and other online collaboration tools effectively, as well as give participants a forum for connection. 

Many aspects of OD and change management were addressed in this project—individual, organizational, enterprise, and equity, social justice, and belonging. Extreme care was provided to the client within the context of this project. Extreme care was taken at every step to ensure all Caltrans personnel had the opportunity to be involved and were represented by those who participated as Goal Team members, including field staff who often have less access to computers. Recognizing the importance of generating buy-in from all Caltrans personnel, all staff were offered the opportunity to participate in a series of focus groups which provided dedicated time and safe space to provide individual feedback on how the updated strategic plan resonated or did not resonate, as well as further discussion and exploration of their initial reactions to the new strategic plan data and its impact on their day-to-day jobs in a small group setting. To ensure full participation, training was also conducted to help each participant adapt to working remotely. Finally, as noted below in Project Outcomes, equity was a prominent theme, and the facilitation of the Equity Goal Team was approached so that the team could “move at the speed of trust.” All settings of this project, from focus groups to Goal Team workshops, were designed to be mindful of power dynamics represented in the different groups; so all staff were heard, leading to more effective adoption of the Strategic Plan upon its roll out. 

  • OBJECTIVELarge and Small Group Workshop Facilitation, Internal Interviews and Surveys, Strategic Plan Content, Communication Plan
  • TEAM30-member Executive Board, 190-member executive team focus group, staff focus groups, and 6 goal teams

The Objective

  • Strategic plan design, facilitation, and documentation
  • To develop a new Vision, Mission, Values, Goals, Strategies, and Performance Measures for Caltrans
person agency
outreach survey responses
staff participation

The Solution

  • VMS worked with the Caltrans Executive Board to first develop a 12-task facilitation plan that laid out the activities, resources, and deliverables to develop a new Strategic Plan.

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