DIRECTION All organizations, big, small or otherwise, need to have an idea of the direction in which they are going. Whether it be towards a renewed community vision, newer equipment, a better asset management strategy, your strategic plan should provide a direction for the organization. “Begin with the end in mind” Accountability As public service professionals, we will always be accountable to someone for our work, whether it be our bosses, upper management, our governing boards, or the community at large. Strategic Planning gives our organizations something to hold ourselves accountable to. Work and Business Plans Strategic Planning guides our development of basic work and business plans. Financial planning, resource management, and more. If we are strategically planning appropriately, it means we can build our work and business planning into subsets of that process, making it not only easier to plan, but easier to achieve. Community and Employee Buy-in One of the hardest things for we as managers to do is get our customers and our staff to buy-in to our vision, our goals, our hopes for the organization, and then jump on the bus and drive it home. Strategic Planning, if completed with input from these players, provides you a vehicle to build their interest in your vision, accept your leadership, and help you achieve success.
Today I will tell you about the system we used to develop a Strategic Plan but I want you to know from the start, rule number 1: this is YOUR Plan. You do not need a MBA and a degree in strategic planning to create a viable and professional plan that works for you. I developed the Largo Public Works Department in my first year working with the Department, having never done one before, and from research, working with experts, we developed an APWA Model Practice. The trick to strategic planning is making it not only professional, but personal as well. We will go into this more later.
In Public Works Terms: What are the first two things you need to know before you begin building a road? Where it starts, and where it ends. Strategic Planning is much the same way. You are developing the Starting point and the Finish Line for your organization and then determining the fastest or best path in which to get from one to the other.
As with any plan, the implementation of its goals can only be achieved if the resources are there to do so, which includes staff. In strategic planning, this requires all of your staff to buy in and take ownership of the process and the results, because they will be the ones actually “doing” it. Buying in is usually predicated on their involvement in the process and their trust in their managers to guide them appropriately.
If we use our Mission and Vision (if you have one) as a basic direction for how our organization moves into the future, we have an idea of where we want to be over time. We also have a number of resources to guide us in that direction including: Comprehensive Plans CIPs Asset Management Programs Budgets And more! What Strategic Planning does is it takes this direction, creates a map, and sets the goal posts for us to reach to fulfill that mission or vision. We shouldn't be setting these plans aside, we should be incorporating them into the process to make everything more effective and useful.
This is a great representation of a basic Strategic Planning Process. Strategic Plans are not meant to be shelved after they are created, and they are definitely not meant to only come about every couple of years when it's “required”. The idea is for this document and the process behind it to be fluid with the management of your operations. We take broad vision and narrow that vision to actionable tactics. We then measure the outcome of those tactics to review and redirect the vision. The process overall should be a streamless cycle that incorporates the aforementioned planning processes, normal work planning and management, and continuous quality improvement.
How did Largo PW Do it? We started by establishing a committee. No great work in Government can be done alone right? This committee was composed of our Division Managers, a few supervisors, and some front line staff. The Committee should be made up of all types of employees from all different service providers or organizational units in your department, this aids in building buy-in from the entire department. In complying with the Second Rule, you need to sit down and earnestly discuss two very VERY important questions before moving into the process: What do we do? And How do we do it? These questions are what will ultimately build your mission, vision and values development. The answers may even change the direction of the department overall due to a inate shift in the values your employees hold important. Approach: The Pyramid
Graphical Representation of the Pyramid. In this representation you start at the apex and grow out from there. Your Mission, Vision & Values are at the core of all work being performed, growing out to specific objectives or tactics that type back to the mission of the organization. The concept is to have a “Golden Thread” that you can tie the Mission of your department directly to a specific objective, and consequently the resources assigned to it. This provides legitimacy in how you budget, who you hire, and how you manage.
In Largo, we talk a lot about “Golden Threads”. This concept means that every employee, every action, every work product, every product, comes back to completing one of our objectives or tactics, in hopes of achieving a goal, to follow a guiding principle, and ultimately, keep the entire organization on mission. This educational experience gives yoru employees at all levels a sense of being a vital part of the whole, that their work and their achievements matter to the department, to public works, and to your community.
Let's use “APWA” as an example for creating basic elements of a Strategic Plan. The Mission Statement is the most important part of the Strategic Planning process. It sums up in one sentence to everyone what the department does and for what purpose is it there. It should tell someone who knows knowing about your department in one sentence, what you do. Departmental Missions can be long, short, vague, or specific, but in general it should encompass the breadth of the responsibility of the organization The Vision takes the Mission and shows what we plan to do with what we are responsible for. Now that we know what our Mission is, our Vision should set the general direction for what we want to do with it. Assigning Values Statements to the Department help provide your staff and the public a baseline of what is important to the department. Values can include “Pride”, “Professionalism” and other verbs that describe what kind of Department you want to be
SWOT Analyses provide organizations a clear view of everything that could or will affect them in the future. Knowing what could affect the organization will assist you in providing a direction for it. If you do not have an idea of what is to come that is will either internally effect your organization or from the outside environment as well...how will you know how to navigate and accomplish your goals? PEST – Political, Economic, Social, and Technological PESTLE - Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental STEER – Socio-Cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory
This graphic shows how to view a SWOT Analysis. Basically each quadrant deals with ways to help our harm your organization from an internal or external origin. Listing these factors helps your team determine what possibilities and issues they may face through their plan that could effect outcomes.
When thinking of that pyramid again, remember that it continuously gets wider as we get to more specific tactics. This is the next area under the Mission, Vision and Values. These are general outcomes of the Mission that aren't quite goals and objectives, but are directives towards those type of accomplishments.
Goals should be three things: General, Achievable, and Measurable. When I facilitate a strategic planning process with an organization I always have the hardest time explaining the difference to participants of Goals and Objectives. Here is how I have found it is easiest. Goals should not complete themselves, they should be “complete” by the finalization of the objectives or tactics assigned to them. Meaning the goal should be general enough that it does not set a specific action in motion, but many actions, which when completed, achieve the goal. Think of a goal as an outcome and not an output. Note: Going to talk about “Time Frame” a few different times in this presentation, and it varies depending what I am referring to. In this instance, the time frame is the range of the plan (When to When) whether it is 3 Years, 5 Years, 10 Years or otherwise.
Objectives or Strategies should provide a specific project, process, or job to do that you can definitely say at the conclusion of its established timeframe was either “Completed” or not. Objectives should be aspects of the goal that serve as guideposts towards the intended accomplishment of the Goal. In this example, the objective “provide strategic planning workshop by June 2013” helps to show how we are accomplishing the Goal of “Providing Opportunities for Electronic Educational Programming” but other objectives can also show how we are accomplishing that goal, and would further accomplish the Mission Time Frames here need to be defined in the objective itself. That way you can document whether it was completed or not. (Quarter, Month, or Specific Date)
Set Goals and Objectives for each division, office, or whatever organizational subset of the department you may have. Or, if your department only has a few services that it provides, possibly organize Goals and Objectives based upon Guiding Principles. Both systems provide for the Pyramid effect to work, they roll up and can easily be shown to a customer how your divisons are achieving the department's mission and vision.
This is the one part of the plan that should not be run by committee When publishing the plan you need to think of how can we present the information we have gathered in all of these meetings in a way that both we and our customers can easily understand it. It needs to inter-connect, so that everyone understands the point to every aspect of the plan “Why are we doing this if it doesn't accomplish our mission” Document the “Golden Thread” from the mission to the vision to the guiding principle, to the goal, to the objective and to the resource used to complete the objective (staff and dollars) Review other plans in the City (Citywide Strategic Plan, Financial Plans, Comprehensive Plans, Budgets, etc) and tie this plan into those.
Staff inclusion and discussion gives them the opportunity to recommend ideas you may not have thought of, and to prepare for changes that may affect them. Approval by your governing body may be a painful process to go through, but it solidifies your plan as a policy document. You can also utilize this document in presenting new ideas, programs, or processes that are due to the plan in the first place. Budget requests for additional staff, resources, or money in general can be tied to objectives in the plan, and their approval of it can provide legitimacy for your request.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way of doing this. The way that has been presented is merely the way we did it with Largo PW and it worked for us, it MAY NOT work for you. As with all new programs or processes, you find out things that work better along the way, or by doing them again. 2 nd Time – Changed objectives to be more business oriented, giving greater credibility and ease in measuring success. 3 rd Time – Making a five year document with only the first year or two with actionable objectives with long-term initiatives under each goal for things we hope to achieve outside our budget.
The Strategic Planning and Annual Reporting process has given us clout with the community and our customers, because they see we are working toward something, and getting there. They also trust us to be honest if we do not quite get there. We have had many objectives delayed, some canceled, and some in progress for considerable time, but the fact that we are honest about our abilities and the direction we are going provides us accountability to our customers.
All of these documents are available on the City of Largo Website at www.largo.com . When you go to this site, mouse over “Government” in the top right corner and click on “Public Works” on the drop down menu. The Annual Reports and Strategic Plan are all listed under the associated documents. Feel free to call me if you would like more information on these documents, or on our Accreditation process in general.
Strategic Planning for Public Works - 2013 Edition
Strategic Planning forStrategic Planning for
Public WorksPublic Works
Chas Jordan, M.P.A., LEED GAChas Jordan, M.P.A., LEED GA
City of Largo, FloridaCity of Largo, Florida
Strategic Planning – Why?
Work and Business PlansWork and Business Plans
Community and EmployeeCommunity and Employee
Strategic Planning – Rule No. 1
There is not a wrongThere is not a wrong
way, or a right way, toway, or a right way, to
make a Strategic Plan.make a Strategic Plan.
There is only YOUR Way.There is only YOUR Way.
Strategic Planning – Rule No. 2
You cannot know whereYou cannot know where
you need to go withoutyou need to go without
first knowingfirst knowing
WHERE YOU AREWHERE YOU ARE
Strategic Planning – Rule No. 3
The plan will work mostThe plan will work most
effectively if theeffectively if the
organization can buy in,organization can buy in,
take ownership, andtake ownership, and
make it happen.make it happen.
How does it work?
Capital Improvements Plan
Asset Management / Replacement Program
(3 or More years)
(Annual or Biennial)
Mission / Vision
Now how do we get from....
HERE TO HERE
How Largo Public Works Does it..
Assign a Coordinator orAssign a Coordinator or
Facilitator (Project Manager)Facilitator (Project Manager)
Establish a CommitteeEstablish a Committee
Ask the simple, yet difficultAsk the simple, yet difficult
What do we do?What do we do?
How do we do it?How do we do it?
Poll or Survey both CustomersPoll or Survey both Customers
and Staffand Staff
The Strategic Planning Pyramid
OBJECTIVES / TACTICS
Mission, Vision, and Values Statements
Mission StatementMission Statement
What we doWhat we do
Example- “Serve Public WorksExample- “Serve Public Works
Vision StatementVision Statement
Where we are heading with ourWhere we are heading with our
Example - “Provide quality services toExample - “Provide quality services to
Public Works Professionals toPublic Works Professionals to
advance the profession”advance the profession”
Values StatementsValues Statements
Where are we and What is on the horizon?
Perform a SWOT AnalysisPerform a SWOT Analysis
Other ways of doing this now:Other ways of doing this now:
Guiding Principles / Strategies
Primary functional areas ofPrimary functional areas of
Responsibility for the OrganizationResponsibility for the Organization
Probably the most difficult aspect of aProbably the most difficult aspect of a
Strategic Plan to develop (and hardestStrategic Plan to develop (and hardest
to document)to document)
Set primary organizational-wideSet primary organizational-wide
Intended General Outcomes from theIntended General Outcomes from the
Example: “Professional DevelopmentExample: “Professional Development
of APWA Members”of APWA Members”
Goals - Development
Goals should be general, yet achievableGoals should be general, yet achievable
outcomes (not outputs)outcomes (not outputs)
Goals are measurable through theGoals are measurable through the
completion of their objectives that arecompletion of their objectives that are
Goals should link to a specific GuidingGoals should link to a specific Guiding
Principle or Strategy, and meet thePrinciple or Strategy, and meet the
needs of the Mission overallneeds of the Mission overall
““Provide opportunities for managementProvide opportunities for management
related technical sessions for APWA”related technical sessions for APWA”
Objectives / Tactics
The “Meat” of the Strategic PlanThe “Meat” of the Strategic Plan
Provide guideposts for success withinProvide guideposts for success within
measurable time framesmeasurable time frames
Must be specific, achievable, andMust be specific, achievable, and
““Provide Strategic Planning WorkshopProvide Strategic Planning Workshop
for APWA Members by June 2013”for APWA Members by June 2013”
Organizational Units (Divisions)
Depending on the breadth of yourDepending on the breadth of your
organization, consider breakingorganization, consider breaking
down Goals and Objectives intodown Goals and Objectives into
subsets based upon thesubsets based upon the
organizational basis of theorganizational basis of the
department, or the guidingdepartment, or the guiding
principles set in the document.principles set in the document.
The City of Largo created specificThe City of Largo created specific
goals and objectives for thegoals and objectives for the
department and each division asdepartment and each division as
Mission: Serve Public WorksMission: Serve Public Works
Vision: Provide quality services to PublicVision: Provide quality services to Public
Works Professionals to advance theWorks Professionals to advance the
Guiding Principle: ProfessionalGuiding Principle: Professional
Development of APWA MembersDevelopment of APWA Members
Goal: Provide opportunities forGoal: Provide opportunities for
management related technicalmanagement related technical
sessions for APWA.sessions for APWA.
Objective: Provide Strategic PlanningObjective: Provide Strategic Planning
Workshop for APWA Members by JuneWorkshop for APWA Members by June
Pulling it all together
Project ManagerProject Manager
needs to ownneeds to own
Develop GoldenDevelop Golden
Less is more!Less is more!
relationship torelationship to
other plansother plans
Support and Approval
Hold a Department wide Q&A orHold a Department wide Q&A or
Retreat to review the Plan with StaffRetreat to review the Plan with Staff
Present the plan for approval byPresent the plan for approval by
Advisory or Governing BoardsAdvisory or Governing Boards
In these presentations explainIn these presentations explain
proposed changes both physical andproposed changes both physical and
financial to gain support andfinancial to gain support and
Document your Successes and Failures
Vital Part ofVital Part of
Strategic PlanningStrategic Planning
Review with BoardsReview with Boards
and Staffand Staff
Publish to yourPublish to your
Document personalDocument personal
and departmentaland departmental
successes and onlysuccesses and only
Lessons Learned – 2nd
No matter how good it is, it canNo matter how good it is, it can
always be betteralways be better
Time – Business-OrientedTime – Business-Oriented
Objectives and Measures andObjectives and Measures and
utilizing more front-line personnelutilizing more front-line personnel
Time – Making the Plan LongerTime – Making the Plan Longer
and following a continual revisionand following a continual revision
Wrapping it up...How has it helped?
85% Objective Completion Rate85% Objective Completion Rate
Published six years of AnnualPublished six years of Annual
Goals and Objectives now a regularGoals and Objectives now a regular
part of Management (used forpart of Management (used for
evaluation purposed)evaluation purposed)
Department has received praiseDepartment has received praise
from Community and Professionalfrom Community and Professional
Most importantly – The DepartmentMost importantly – The Department
is TRUSTED to provide our servicesis TRUSTED to provide our services
Questions and Contact Information
Charles R. “Chas”Charles R. “Chas”
Jordan, MPA, LEED GAJordan, MPA, LEED GA
City of Largo, FloridaCity of Largo, Florida