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Camden strategic planning

Posted: January 19, 2012 11:47 a.m.
Updated: January 20, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Since my election in 2008, I have led our Council in designing an annual strategic plan. A strategic plan is a strong management tool which helps both the Council and the City staff to focus energy toward the same goals. It is a disciplined planning process to develop an annual vision. Before we begin the multi-step process covering vision, mission, objectives, values, strategies, goals and programs, we must review our current status. This planning also provides us with benchmarks for historic reviews. This plan becomes our focus for the future.

The annual development of a strategic plan each January is different than our Comprehensive Plan of 2007 and different than the DPZ Vision plan recommendations. These two overarching documents guide us in designing the annual strategic plan. The most important aspect of our strategic plan is to capture the intent of the Council so the City Staff has direction.

The benefits of our planning and best practices include: improved quality; setting high performance targets; helping to overcome the disbelief that stretched goals are possible; strengthened cost positions; more innovative approaches to operating and managing practices; accelerating culture change by making us look outward rather than focusing inwardly; and, bringing accountability to our city because as it is an ongoing process for measuring performance and ensuring improvements. 

Finally, our plan is ultimately no more, and no less, than a set of decisions about what to do, why to do it, and how to do it. Because it is impossible to do everything that needs to be done in Camden, strategic planning helps us assess which organizational decisions and actions are more important than others. It forces us to determine our strengths and weaknesses, and it drives us in making the tough decisions about what is most important to achieving success. Not only does this plan guide our City Staff, it also serves as a precursor for our budget process.

The planning process I initiated three years ago gives the city direction. Without strategic planning, the community will never know where it is going -- much less know if it ever got there. As someone recently wrote to me, "A goal without a plan is just another wish … a plan without action is just another shelf warmer!" Your council will define goals and offer an actionable plan. We will continue to lean forward in our plans for the future, for after all, the time is now!

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