Strategic Planning

by Niles Anderegg, research and content development associate, ICMA 

Many communities are so focused on the day-to-day challenges that it can be hard for managers to take a step back and look at the big picture. With that in mind, here are a few resources to help managers think about ways to implement strategic planning and to integrate it into their daily work.  

  1. Bring Your Strategic Plan to Life, Increasing Employee Engagement and Accountability. This 2017 article looks at Sahuarita, Arizona, a community that connects its strategic planning process to the staff’s day-to-day work, thereby creating more transparency and accountability.

  2. PM Article: Strategic Thinking. This 2018 PM magazine article includes a look at the decision-making process that can be used when an emergency comes along that might force a community to deviate from its strategic plan.

  3. Strathcona County Blazing Priority Based Budgeting Trail in Alberta, Canada. This 2016 article deals with priority-based budgeting. The idea behind Strathcona County’s budget process is to align budget priorities with its strategic plan. The county council set out 12 priorities around which the county's departments could build business plans and budgets, allowing for a better connection between the county’s budget and its strategic plan.

  4. Leadership Must be the Driving Force for Efficiency. This 2017 blog post argues that since government lacks the competition that drives the private sector, innovation and efficiency must come from government leaders. Through the planning process, leaders must challenge staff to look for ways to plan for increased efficiency and innovation.

These are just a few of the resources ICMA has to offer on strategic planning. To find more information, check out the Strategic Planning Topic Page.  

Related Resouces 

Ott Provides Updates on Strategic Plan Progress. This 2017 article provides an update on ICMA's own strategic plan. 

Strategic Planning Cause and Effect Map, Bellevue, Washington. This document provides a graphical demonstration of the factors affecting the implementation of the Bellevue's strategic plan. 

Strategic Planning for Local Government, 2nd edition (PDF). A publication from ICMA that provides straightforward, step-by-step guidance on preparing a local strategic plan.


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