The Long Haul: Building a Sustainable Future for Your Tribe
October 3, 2018

Governing a Tribe can be difficult, but building long-term capacity for your community can be even more difficult if you don’t have a plan. It’s a challenge for tribal leaders to think about the future knowing that their time is limited. But it’s also important to ask the hard questions: What are our priorities as a community:  Is it better healthcare? More jobs? Training and workforce development? The ability to pay for higher education for all of your tribal members? Housing and community planning?

That’s where Blue Stone Strategy Group can help.

“Once you are in the hot seat of leadership, you instantly become so busy just meeting the day-to-day needs and current demands of your community, that many tribal leaders find it challenging to commit to planning for the future of their Tribe—for the next generation and the generations to come,” says Jamie Fullmer, Chairman and CEO of Blue Stone Strategy Group.

Additionally, says Fullmer, building a tribal economy isn’t just about owning and operating businesses―it’s about capacity building for the community and recognizing that everything is interrelated within the entire tribal system. Therefore, the first major step in fulfilling your community’s needs is creating a vision and developing a plan for the future that will assist the Tribe in determining where your community wants to be in the next five years, 10 years, or even decades down the road.

As an example, land use planning, organizational governance, technical and management assistance and capital investment are necessary to promote enterprise development on reservations. But Infrastructure investment also needs attention in order to improve transportation, housing, utilities, water, postal and communication systems within the community.

“All of these areas, including the tribal economy, infrastructure, housing, healthcare and education are interrelated, so planning across the board becomes crucial. Because you can’t just decide to build a hotel―you also have to consider whether you have adequate roads, water, utilities and a trained workforce to support its success,” says Fullmer. “So you have to plan both horizontally and vertically with a vision for the future. It may not get done overnight, but proper planning will ensure that your tribe’s ventures have sustainability and consistency.”

In today’s national economy it is imperative to go beyond gaming as the only source of revenue for the tribe and take clear steps toward diversification. For Tribes seeking to establish long-term sustainability, the first step in a diversification effort should be to assess the economic opportunities available to the tribe based on its particular location and locus of control. By identifying your strengths and challenges and determining what your short- and long-term priorities are, Blue Stone can help you create an achievable action plan that gets you from Point A to Point B.

This is why Blue Stone’s Strategic Planning Process has been designed with clear action steps and accountability built into the planning process. Planning allows tribal leaders to focus and to work toward the next stage of growth. Accountability is more empowering than waiting to react to a crisis.

(For a more comprehensive list of our completed projects, please click here.) 

Once the planning process has been completed, we want Tribes to create value and be able to move their goals and objectives forward, rather than see the plan die in a file cabinet. Our Strategic Plans are not meant to be set in stone, but they should be forged with thoughtful attention that clearly defines the processes that can be followed and supported.

We have supported many Tribal Nations over the last 12 years with our Strategic Planning Work Sessions. These tailored sessions are developed specifically for your tribe. The outcome from this initial planning process is a solid baseline for developing more comprehensive plans or can be used as the Tribe’s strategic plan.

Blue Stone would be honored to assist your Tribe in developing a strategic plan to help in moving forward with capacity building and economic development diversification.

Call us today at (949) 476-8828 or email to schedule your work session!