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Periodically Main Stream will highlight practices the firm’s clients have found to be especially beneficial to improving their performance.  We welcome hearing about experiences others have had with these and similar practices.

Recommended Practice: Set decision-making criteria early in the process!

Among the practices Main Stream clients are implementing is being intentional about the criteria they use to make strategic trade-offs during and beyond their planning processes.  Determining decision-making guidelines before commencing deliberations or getting into debates about specific goals and strategies provides a sound basis for making ‘go/no go’ decisions.  One result of articulating decision-making criteria up front is that organizations are more objective when considering choice points.  Moreover, this practice helps to strengthen consensus building and alignment around priorities.  It also contributes to cultivating a positive organizational culture.


Destination Cleveland employed this practice during the organization’s planning process.  Strategic Planning Task Force members developed and subsequently the full Board of Trustees adopted the following decision-making criteria.


Decision-Making Criteria - Priorities about the work the organization does, roles it plays, and financial support it provides should be determined by carefully considering the following:

  1. ECONOMIC IMPACT – Is there measurable net financial travel and tourism growth potential?

  2. EXPERTISE – Does Destination Cleveland have unique expertise?

  3. DUPLICATION – Is the work already being done well by another organization?

  4. LEVERAGE – Can Destination Cleveland leverage what it is already doing or develop its organizational capacity in new desirable areas?

  5. EARLY WINS – Can positive travel and tourism-related results be achieved sooner rather than later?

  6. LONG-TERM BENEFIT – Is there potential to create significant long-term benefits for the travel and tourism industry and community?

  7. LOST OPPORTUNITY - What would occur if Destination Cleveland did not play a role or take on the work?

  8. RESOURCES – Does Destination Cleveland have the staff and financial resources to sufficiently support the work?


Here’s what Destination Cleveland’s President & CEO says about this recommended practice:


“There is a natural tendency for non-profit organizations to take on additional work, whether asked by board members, funders or collaborators.  This can spread already thin resources and lessen the organization’s intended impact.  Setting decision criteria early in a planning process is critical to assure focus on the mission.”


David Gilbert

President & CEO

Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission

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