In determining the focus groups, excluding Judges and staff, the
Steering Committee identified over 70 groups/organizations that either
interact with the Branch on a regular basis or have an interest in its
operations. The Committee grouped the organizations and ended up with
approximately 30 groups that we hope to meet with over the coming two
months. We are scheduling these meetings with advocacy groups, including
victims, minorities, disabled, seniors, gay/lesbian, various bar groups,
commissions, community agencies, law enforcement, media and municipality
associations. This is in addition to the focus groups we will be
conducting with Judges and Branch staff.
Judges have a pivotal role in this process. There is no question that
judges play the most important role in carrying out the Judicial
Branch’s mission to resolve matters brought before it in a fair, timely,
efficient and open manner. The judges' perspective as to the environment
in which we make our rulings and dispense justice is unique. Because of
that, every Supreme Court Justice, Appellate Court Judge, Superior Court
Judge and Judge Trial Referee will be given the opportunity to
participate in the focus groups. I urge all of the judges on this
commission to encourage our colleagues to do so.
Before I forget, at our next meeting, the members of this Commission
will also be going through the focus group process. Because of the large
number of focus groups that have to be conducted, as some of you know
first hand, we have begun conducting focus groups. To date,
approximately 20 focus group meetings have been completed and at least
another 36 have been scheduled.
What happens at these focus groups? Each group is facilitated, and
the same format is followed with each group. Participants are asked to
identify trends that will have an impact on the Judicial Branch over the
next 3 to 5 years, to identify the specific impacts each trend will have
on the Judicial Branch and to list some strategies that will address the
Once we have substantially completed the focus groups and collected
the information, the committee work of this commission will begin. We
hope this will be by early December. The various trends will be
categorized and distributed to the several committees of the Commission.
The committees will then develop outcome goals, prioritizing as
necessary, strategies to achieve those outcome goals, and finally
activities to achieve the strategies. There will also be a committee of
Commission members that will revisit the Branch’s mission, develop a
vision based on the outcome goals and establish values for the Branch
based on input from the various focus groups, public hearings as well as
The chart is a graphic, simplified representation of what the
Commission’s strategic plan will look like.
The vision sets forth where we are going.
The mission sets forth what we do.
The outcome goals set forth how we hope to achieve our vision.
The strategies set forth how we will achieve the outcome
The activities set forth how we will achieve the strategies.
The outcome goals and strategies have to specifically set forth what
they hope to accomplish, why they are necessary, and, as the CJ noted,
they must contain performance measures. Without such measures, we will
never know if we are attaining our goals or even if we are successfully
implementing our strategies. With apologies to those of you familiar
with strategic planning, I have described the process in terms that I
have been able to grasp and I have frankly not tried to cover every
aspect. As the process moves ahead, other aspects will become obvious,
and I welcome your requests for more details at any time.
This whole process is foreign to us and is foreign to state
government generally. We are not a business that has to plan ahead to
survive in the market place. We are clearly not a Home Depot or for that
matter a Nordstroms. We don't have customers buying retail goods or
commodities. We can, however, learn from the private sector and use some
of the techniques and strategies they employ to create our strategic
plan. The Steering Committee has been gathering information on creating
a strategic plan over the past several months, and what we have learned
will be shared with the Commission as it carries out its work.
One important fact that we have learned is that 9 out of 10 strategic
plans fail because they are not implemented. There are countless numbers
of neatly bound and graphically designed plans with excellent ideas that
are sitting on shelves collecting dust. Please let me assure you that
that will not be the case with this strategic plan. The implementation
and execution of the plan have been designed into and made an integral
part of this entire process. As this process moves along, the details of
implementation and execution will be presented to the Commission.
There is something else about this process that I would like to
stress: this is the beginning of a process that will continue into the
future. The plan will have to be reviewed every year to ensure that we
are carrying out strategies and meeting goals. Adjustments will be made
to address new conditions or events that may have an impact on the
Branch. The plan will change as the world around us changes.
Our charge is to improve performance in meeting the mission of the
judicial branch. As we undertake this task, we will be listening to
clerks who daily interact with the public, marshals who secure the
courthouses, probation and bail officers, interpreters, court reporters,
secretaries, family relations officers, librarians, among others, a
myriad of judicial branch employees whose job performance is crucial to
meeting the branch’s mission “to resolve matters brought before it in
a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.” Without their commitment
to the plan, it will fail. While without commitment from the top, that
is Chief Justice Rogers, this plan would fail as well, we have that
commitment clearly and strongly. It is therefore our job to ensure that
the plan addresses the concerns of these employees in fulfilling their
We have a lot of work before us as the CJ said. It is work that will
further a cause we all have committed to in some way - public service. I
look forward to working with you all in this ambitious and exciting