With so much going on around the Kent community it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger goals that all this activity is actually building towards.
That was partly why I blogged yesterday about the strategic progress of the City over the last 4-5 years — to help demonstrate the connection between the small successes we’ve achieved on a yearly basis and the City’s long term strategic priorities.
The Kent community is a couple hundred years old, and I’m hoping we’ve got at least another couple hundred more to go, which means we’ve got some time to get this right. That’s not to say we don’t have a sense of urgency — we do, especially in this current economy — and right now we seem to have a little luck and momentum working in our favor so we’re anxious to take some big strides to get us past the next couple of mile markers on this journey.
A healthy community is a lot like a healthy body. It takes perseverance and discipline to eat right, exercise and do all the little things that over time add up something significant. It took a good 10 years to create the overnight success that we’re enjoying in Kent right now, so we’ve got to be planting the seeds now for the next decade’s harvest of great projects for Kent.
I’m a believer in managing your way to success, whether it’s personal fitness or community fitness — especially since the consequences are too important to leave to chance — and that’s where strategic planning comes into play.
Strategic planning isn’t the answer to all our problems but it is a great tool to use to navigate all the twists and turns that stand in the way of prosperity. By taking the time to know where we want to go before we leave port, our chances for arriving at our destination are a whole lot better than if we just wing it.
There are literally thousands of decisions that we’ll face in trying to move the community forward and those decisions become a lot easier to make correctly when we test them against our strategic priorities. It’s been my observation in some 25 years of working in local government that most people sincerely want the best for their community but with so many opportunities to pursue, and so many stakeholders to satisfy, they have a hard time focusing their efforts and as a result change is either glacially slow or traumatic, neither of which is particularly good.
Our goal is use strategic planning as a way to be busy with a purpose; to bring focus and keep positive change moving at a steady (aka manageable) pace that keeps the progressives and the conservatives within a mutual comfort range. Not easy, but I think possible, if we lean heavy on our shared strategic goals as the common denominator and consistently show the connection between what’s going on in the streets and progress towards those goals.
Here’s a couple more strategic tools that we use to keep us firmly rooted while we strive to lift the Kent community even higher towards it’s aspirations.
Click Here to see the activities that occurred in 2011 within each of the strategic categories listed above.
And lastly, here’s a one page snapshot of our Strategic Priorities and their manageable parts.