For most organizations, planning for the future starts with understanding who we are today.
We took that to heart at CEE in 2019, as we set out to develop our most comprehensive organizational strategic plan to date. Through the process, we clarified what drives and unites us, while setting an ambitious course for the next four years.
CEE has taken a variety of different paths to develop previous strategic plans. This time around, our approach reflected our current context — we’re now a few years past our founder’s retirement and the establishment of a relatively new leadership framework, a couple years past our smooth merger with the Neighborhood Energy Connection, and on the heels of significant board changes and staff growth (not to mention major evolutions in energy use and planning related to climate, energy costs, renewable energy, grid modernization, and customer preferences.)
To be successful amid such dynamic change, we were counting on multilayered engagement and feedback from our board and staff.
Their input would inform and strengthen our plan with diverse thoughts and perspectives, while offering meaningful opportunities for everyone to suss out personal connections to the final outcomes. For the first time, we also engaged professional planning facilitators (Anne Peacock and Beth Schneider) to help guide our process and ensure the best results.
While a small strategic plan committee kept the ball rolling throughout the year, we regularly reported progress and solicited key input from our board of directors. We engaged CEE’s Leadership Group and Staff Council, as well as several ad hoc groups, for insights and feedback at key turning points. And we shared regular updates with our full staff of 150-plus, as well as inviting input and reactions via survey, email, and in-person discussion at a full-staff retreat.
Mission and Priorities
Our new plan updates CEE’s mission statement to embrace our pursuit of effective energy solutions that both include and transcend efficiency:
“To discover and deploy the most effective energy solutions that strengthen the economy and improve the environment.”
To achieve that mission, we identified four strategic priorities to guide us from 2020 to 2023:
Grow our program impact. Over decades, CEE has earned a national reputation for exceptional programs for homes, buildings, and communities. We will actively expand our skillsets and innovate new tools and strategies for even greater impact.
Plan for a carbon-neutral future. In pursuit of cost-effective steps toward a carbon-neutral future, we will invest in independent research, results-focused programs, pragmatic thought leadership, and supportive public policies.
Broaden our reach. Building on successes with thousands of past customers and clients, we will establish new partnerships to carry our expertise to underserved communities, especially in cold-climate regions.
Drive organizational excellence. We will continue to invest in a smart, diverse, and well-aligned team of employees with the resources needed to advance our mission and meet our ambitious goals.
In coming years, we’ll track our progress primarily against specific strategies within these focus areas.
We also revisited CEE’s core values, and invited the entire staff to weigh in and help ensure grounded alignment with our expansive approach and growing teams. I was blown away by the high level of participation in thoughtful written responses and countless hallway conversations and team discussions.
Building on values identified in our last two strategic plans, it was reassuring to spot overlaps linking our past to our future — even as our staff has grown and changed, our shared values still feel familiar and ring true to an always-evolving organization. The values guiding our work for the next several years are:
Collaboration. For greatest impact, we seek and embrace complementary strengths and diverse points of view.
Expertise. Everyone we serve benefits from decades of field experience and robust skill sets that we grow and strengthen daily.
Science. Our pragmatic approach and credibility depend on data gained through independent research and expert analysis, with a focus on results.
Community. Everywhere we work, we rely on diverse perspectives and local wisdom for people-centered solutions tailored to serve all.
Integrity. The trust we’ve earned comes from our track record emphasizing ethics and honesty across our work.
Equity. Our efforts align to foster an energy economy with cost-effective, practical solutions that promote prosperity for all.
2020 and beyond
I’m eager to begin implementing our new strategic plan this month, and proud of the thoughtful teamwork that helped develop it — across our efforts, nothing is more important than how we work with others.
At various points during our strategic plan’s development, we repeatedly underscored our need to reach out and connect with many more people to fulfill our mission. To effectively support a carbon-neutral future while serving our increasingly diverse customer base, our teams and our strategies will require a diversity of thought, perspectives, experiences, and identities.
Happy New Year to our partners, peers, and all the communities we serve. I hope you see yourselves within the priorities I’ve shared — because now that our course is set, our success will depend on new and ongoing collaborations with you all.