How do you know it’s spring in Wyoming?
You have two weekends in a row that feature snowy Saturday mornings followed by T-shirt and shorts weather on Sunday afternoon.
As the days get longer (and warmer) Align has continued its involvement in building stronger communities, both here in Cheyenne and statewide. Earlier this week, Align Marketing Coordinator Michael Pearlman joined entrepreneurs, business owners and downtown building owners to provide feedback on a new approach to downtown redevelopment. The facilitated event was part of the city of Cheyenne’s involvement in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge.
 Mayor's Challenge

The city’s initial plan includes the creation of a new website showing available redevelopment resources to building owners, as well as the opportunity for entrepreneurs and existing business owners to build a profile and submit their space needs. A business liaison would help connect the two parties, offering guidance about available resources, including grants and equity crowdfunding. A new program of the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, Wyoming Invests Now (WIN) is an equity crowdfunding opportunity that allows Wyoming residents to invest funds towards approved Wyoming-based businesses.

“The goal is to see if the city is clearly understanding the challenges of building owners and small business owners,” Cheyenne mayor Marion Orr said.
Michael also had the opportunity to attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTEN) earlier this month, joining more than 2,000 nonprofit professionals to learn, share and connect. This stimulating, community-driven conference energized and reinforced the Align team’s commitment to our mission — creating strong communities, both locally, regionally and statewide. With breakout sessions covering digital strategy, communications, and leadership, the NTEN experience was both educational and motivational.
One component to strengthening communities is economic diversification, an issue that continues to be the focus of business and community leaders statewide. The Casper Star-Tribune announcedearlier this month that it would be making coverage of economic diversification efforts across Wyoming an “overarching goal” of its editorial coverage.

In addition, the ENDOW Executive Council is currently asking for public participation in its strategic process through a confidential survey. This statewide survey includes a ranking of topics and priorities, as well as open-ended questions that allow you to share your thoughts and ideas on a topic that’s critical to Wyoming’s future. The submission deadline is May 7.

3 Signs Your Organization Needs Strategic Planning
It has become a cornerstone of organizational and business planning, but some organizations are still reluctant to devote the resources necessary to develop a successful strategic plan. Having a strategy for the future is critical to any organization’s success. With that in mind, we wanted to identify 3 signs it may be time for your organization to conduct a facilitated strategic planning process (or update your current plan):
1. Your organization has become reactive. Regardless of what sector you operate in, if you’re always reacting to customers, competition or external events, you’re going to struggle. Think about whether leadership or the board of directors feels in control. If priorities are constantly changing and short-term thinking is dominating the company’s direction, it’s time to define priorities.
2. You’re ready to grow. If your organization is at a point where leadership has decided growth is critical for success, you’ll need an updated plan. If you’re looking to grow your business, it’s important to examine how you will address issues such as operations, staffing and funding. If you’re a nonprofit, you’ll need to strategically examine how to expand the services you deliver to the community.
3. You want to get leadership and staff on the same page. The importance of having an engaged, enthusiastic and invested executive leadership or board of directors cannot be overstated. Facilitated strategic planning provides the opportunity for those at the top of the organization to create a shared vision with your organization’s staff. Articulating the organization’s values, priorities and direction will help equip everyone in the organization with the tools needed to fulfill its mission.
If you would like more information on strategic planning, we’d be happy to chat with you.