Strategic Planning + Performance

Sites Joint Powers Authority Strategic Plan, Governance, and Financing

Planning Strategic

Facilitation and strategic planning for a partnership of 31 water agencies, counties, and state and federal agencies to finance, build, and govern a $4-billion reservoir in the Sacramento Valley to meet the needs of people and the environment across California.

The Authority recently completed a value engineering exercise to “right-size” the project to meet environmental and water supply reliability needs for partners from the Sacramento Valley to Southern California, including the California Water Commission, Departments of Water Resources and Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Catalyst team updated the organizational assessment and facilitated the executive team and joint Board and Reservoir Committee meetings to realign the vision, mission, goals, and strategies to earn project approvals and funding commitments in the next two to three years. The entire strategic plan was developed during the current pandemic, so all work and meetings were conducted virtually. The key to the success of the joint strategic planning workshop was implementation of an engaging, visual approach to provide balanced involvement among all participants and constructive dialogue focused on the issues where further alignment was needed.

Following unanimous approval of the high-level direction, the Catalyst team worked with Authority work groups to develop action plans and collaboration strategies for the three highest priority objectives: environmental review and permitting; financing plan and local commitments; and decision delegation. Through 2021, Catalyst supported the works groups, senior staff, consultants, and partners in the internal and external collaboration necessary to develop agreements, commitments, and permits for the project, specifically related to governance and the plan of finance.

Project Type: Strategic plan to align 23 joint powers authority partners on the goals, strategies and actions to advance, approve, and finance $3 billion of infrastructure for water management, ecosystem restoration, and community benefits.

Lead Professionals: Charles Gardiner, Peter Bluhon, Linadria Porter, Deb Kollars

Read more +

Regional Government Services Authority Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning support for a Joint Powers Authority that provides administration and planning services to local government.

The board of directors wanted to establish a clear plan to deliver services, adapt to new scrutiny from CalPERS that changed the business model, and support growth for the organization. We helped transform the organization’s interim strategic plan into a robust guidebook for service delivery and organizational growth for the next five years. The interim strategic plan served to improve communications between the executive leadership and the board. By working closely with the executive leadership, we reviewed where and why sectors of the organization were successful and the challenges posed by the changing business model. We conducted interviews with the board of directors, executive staff, and major customers and implemented an employee survey.

The Catalyst team worked with the executive leadership team and board of directors to develop five strategic goals and focus management activities on the essential elements of client service, team development, financial management, organizational growth, and innovation. In parallel, we reviewed the organization’s customer feedback process and incorporated improvements into the strategic plan.We conducted more than a dozen strategic planning sessions with the executive leadership team, two board workshops, an employee survey, and two employee conference calls to develop, review, and refine the goals, implementation strategies, actions and milestones, and performance measures. The final strategic plan described five goals with implementation strategies, milestones, teams, and priority activities for the coming fiscal year.

Read more +

Alameda County Water District Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning support for a water agency serving 350,000 people in the East Bay.

The plan sets the strategic direction for the organization for the next five years. Charles Gardiner planned and facilitated three Board workshops to develop five strategic goals and the priority actions and timeline for each goal. He worked with senior staff to organize and present critical management information and perspectives to the Board to support alignment and focus. He also advised management on performance management approaches and metrics to guide, monitor, and report on progress. Charles then worked with the core team to develop a strategic plan format that was simple and understandable for the public, while reflecting the complex management issues for the organization.

Read more +

San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority

Board Retreat

Board of Directors retreat planning and facilitation to set strategic direction and priorities.


Delta Vision Foundation

Executive Leadership

Contract Executive Director for a non-profit organization supporting progress and tracking performance for the Bay-Delta Vision and Strategic Plan.

Mr. Gardiner developed and implemented a comprehensive evaluation of progress, organizational leadership and effectiveness, and results towards the two co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability, while protecting and enhancing the Delta as an evolving place. Mr. Gardiner convened agency and stakeholder meetings to discuss and develop policy recommendations and actions plans on key Delta topics, including Delta levees, funding and financing, water storage, and integrated action planning. He also reviewed and prepared comments and recommendations to improve state and federal coordination and integration. Mr. Gardiner prepared annual Delta Vision Report Cards to present the results of the annual evaluations and more than 100 specific recommendations for action and improvement by state and federal agencies and stakeholders.

Read more +

Central Valley Project Improvement Act

Bureau of Reclamation
Performance Review, Strategic Planning

Performance review of 38 program activities and long-term planning for fish restoration and refuge water management programs.

Mr. Gardiner led a team conducting independent reviews of two major restoration programs – Central Valley fisheries and refuge water management. The team convened independent panels of experts to review the programs and recommend actions to improve program efficiency and effectiveness. Simultaneously with the independent reviews, Mr. Gardiner facilitated internal management planning to develop a long-term implementation plan for the CVPIA environmental restoration program. He facilitated 40 program managers at the two lead agencies and coordinated with state and non-profit partners to develop priorities and resource commitments for fish restoration, wildlife refuge management, and terrestrial habitat protection for the next 10 years. Mr. Gardiner also helped the Bureau of Reclamation conduct two internal performance reviews of the CVPIA environmental restoration program – one focused on overall program and budget performance for the federal Office of Management and Budget and one reviewing progress, performance, and completion of each of the thirty-eight program activities defined by the CVPIA in close coordination with water, power, environmental, tribal, and agency interests.

Read more +