We’ve all dealt with the same frustration of developing a strategic plan, putting it in a nice document and then never touching it again. Why is it so important for organizations to have a strategic plan and devote resources into its implementation? Why do so many cities in particular, have a hard time getting staff and council on board with their strategic plan? To answer these questions, HueLife and Envisio sat down with city managers/administrators from some of Minnesota’s largest cities to discuss how they can better serve the public sector’s need for support in developing and implementing strategic plans.

Together, city leaders discussed their shared successes and difficulties with strategic plans within their prospective governments. They found in common, that the initial process of developing a strategic plan was always the simplest. Getting the council and staff together to throw some goals and ideas for the future of their city was fun and easy. They found difficulty afterward, with getting buy-in from the rest of the staff and council that was not on the same page. As well as, implementing the goals in their strategic plan, reporting and holding people accountable for their success and completion. Many also expressed difficulties with having to remind their council that the purpose of their work was to serve the citizens of their city, therefore, implementing goals outlined in their strategic plan would better their communities.

“Every city wants a safe, economically successful, nice place to live, but what does that mean for THAT city. How do those developing a strategic plan keep the big picture in mind and think about the needs of their citizens as the priority”.

After working through questions around their shared difficulties, HueLife and Envisio, facilitated a conversation around solutions for successful strategic planning and implementation.

How to get buy-in from staff and council? Involve them in the process from the beginning! Let departments co-mingle and choose what projects they’d like to be a part of. Just because someone works in finance, doesn’t mean they can’t be on the team involved in choosing the design of a new park. Organizations have found that when employees are doing work they are excited about that is outside of their “day-to-day” job, they perform better and enjoy their daily work more than they did before. Staff are more likely to take on leadership roles for programs they are passionate about, and in turn, feel more confident in submitting reports about the status of projects they are involved in to the council.

How do we keep the momentum for our strategic plan? Since most strategic plans are in addition to the work staff is already doing, it’s easy to get off track and get busy with other work if strict deadlines are not in place. Celebrating the success every step of the way to keep staff and council engaged as they grow more attached to the completion of their goal or project.

Successful strategic plans cannot be written in one council meeting or even in one day retreat. They require a process that ensures its ability to represent the organization’s vision, mission, and values. Good news, there are plenty of resources to help your organization succeed with their strategic plan, the hard part is moving it forward!

HueLife is a boutique consulting firm that facilitates engagement, innovation and transformational change. Envisio Solutions is a cloud-based software that facilitates cascade planning of the strategic plan and roll-up reporting to allow for easy communication of the strategic plan’s progress to internal and external stakeholders.Together, HueLife and Envisio provide a complete solution from developing to implementing and reporting on the strategic objectives.

Reported by, Sasha Fursman, HueLife – Marketing and Communications Coordinator
September 19th, 2018