Case Study: St. Louis Arc

Creating a clearer roadmap.

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We have never used a strategic plan so thoroughly throughout the agency. This is used in all of our day-to day-operations. It is simple in its design so everyone understands it and flexible enough to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Mark A. Keeley, President & CEO

St. Louis Arc empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to lead better lives by providing a lifetime of high-quality services, family support and advocacy.

The Opportunity

St. Louis Arc provides individualized services that can really help make a difference to an adult… to a child… to a family. The services provided by the Arc are designed to maximize choice and to support people, as they build quality lives within the St. Louis community.

When the St. Louis Arc’s previous CEO decided to retire, she knew that she wanted a clear strategic plan to leave with her successor. As with many organizations, strategic plans are too long and underused. She wanted to create and leave behind a simple, flexible, one-page plan that would be a roadmap connecting the past to a clear course for the future.

The Action

Using a comprehensive strategy model, Dialect led a process of discovery (discussion groups, interviews, surveys, etc…) with the Arc’s Executive Team (ET), other key employees, Board members, self advocates, and service recipient’s family members. The process focused on uncovering historical strengths while identifying the strengths needed in the future. A draft Strategic Plan was created and shared with those same stakeholder groups to get additional input. The end result was The Arc Advantage that focused on:

  • imagining a future in which everyone is valued for their unique gifts and contributions
  • emphasizing and strengthening the ability to build relationships that empower people to live a better life
  • the behaviors necessary to build those relationships and move toward a more inclusive future for everyone.
The Result

How did the Arc benefit from this work? Here’s what leaders have said about The Arc Advantage:

  • This helped us identify gaps between what individuals and families needed and the programs we were providing; it broadened our reach.
  • It has brought more clarity which has helped with our planning and budgeting process.
  • It has helped us focus on what is important and allows us to be flexible as needs arise.
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This work gave a clear, strong voice to the individuals and families we support and ensured that The Arc Advantage aligned with their needs.

Stephanie Scott, VP of Support Services & Strategy

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