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NARRATIVE: Management guru Peter Drucker is widely attributed with saying "culture eats strategy for 
breakfast." The HRSD story would affirm that hypothesis with the caveat that the current organizational 
culture of learnin g, innovation, high performance, personal account abi lity, team work and a relentless 
focus on a sin gle vision was not created by accident but was the result of implementing a long-term 
strategy to change organizational cultur e. The transformation has been years in the makin g. A major 
leap forward occurred with the development and adoption of a values-based strategic plan in 2009. This 
plan identified five key areas of emphasis; people, environmental impact, infrastructure, operations and 
partner ships. Additionally the plan articulated our vision; future generations will inherit clean 
waterways and be able to keep them clean. The strategic plan and vision established the standards upon 
which all decisions are measured against. 
 
One focus of the people element of the st rate gic plan is "ensuring the talent we have is used eff ective 
ly."  To that end HRSD has an estab li sh ed, robust process of engaging al l employees in looking to 
improve any and all areas of our organi zat ion. All employees attend two foundational trainings 
designed to unlock the potential in every employee to actively find new and more efficient ways to 
conduct business.  The program has three major   elements, an introductory session (Your Role in 
Quality} that is provided to all employees within their first year at HRSD, and a problem solving course 
(teams and Problem Solving) that is provided within their first five years at HRSD. A follow on leadership 
development course (Leadership and Management Program) is provided to those individuals identified 
as potential future leaders within the organization.   The quality training is put  into practice   each year 
with an annual planning day held in each work cente r.  These sessions are facilitated by a volunteer 
cadre of HRSD employees trained in facilitation skills . These facilitators come from all levels and aspects 
of the HRSD organization and provide this vital service in addition to their regular jobs. The annual 
planning days provide opportunities to review operations, brainstorm new ideas and prioritize the work 
plan for the coming year. Items identified in these sessions are typically addressed with teams of 
employees using the problem solving techniques they learned in the quality training program. Items that 
impact areas across a broader spectrum of the entire organization are elevated to the senior leadership 
team for evalu ati on during the coming year. This entire process helps create a culture of inclusion, 
continuous improvement and emp loyee  engagement. 
 
 
 Within the environmental  impact element of the strategic plan one focus area is "fostering a culture of    
conservation and recycling."  A cross functional team of employees formed a Sustainability Advocacy 
Group (SAG)  to  review organizational and individual practices that are focused on reducing human 
impact on the environment,    a key element of the strategic plan .  The SAG has identified and 
implemented many sustainable practices throughout the organization over the past several years. The 
employee team develops and pilots ideas. Once  proven on a pilot scale, these ideas and programs are 
presented to senior leadership for approval. Once approved the SAG implements the programs 
throughout the organization and monitors results. The SAG is responsible for expanding HRSD's single-
stream recycling program, paper reduction policy, annual carbon footprint calculation, triclosan-free 
cleaning product and Energy-Star purcha sing policie s, disposable cup policy and oyster farming and 
reef building at some treatment plant locations. The SAG engages employees in identifying and 
implementing sustainability practices (big and small ). While much of this effort is focused on ancillary