“Strategy requires thought, tactics require observation”

The night the Town of Aurora’s strategic plan was adopted the town’s CAO emphasized that it would be a “living document” and would not sit on a shelf. How exactly was not specified, just assurance that it would be so.

3 years in how effective do you feel the Town of Aurora has executed its Strategic Plan?

Can you name 10 initiative that reflect principles enshrined in the strategic plan?

Okay then, how about 5?

Just 1?

Let’s pretend you have one.

How exactly is said initiative a direct result of the town’s strategic plan? How exactly has the town delivered it’s commitment to provide an “exceptional quality of life for all”?
An empty phrase stamped on all Staff reports, because with that blanket statement you really don’t have to delve into all the pesky particular tactics.

I explored the whole dichotomy of tactics vs. strategy in this post here:
https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/scary-tactics/

It is the tactics, not the plan that need to be reviewed yet The Auroran is reporting that staff are seeking a substantial update to the plan: http://ht.ly/LGNJU.

I agree with Clr. Thompson that this approach is flawed and reads as a re-do.

What is also laughable is the town’s “Manager of Long-Range and Strategic Planning” playing down the need for community engagement by saying “Council is the community’s voice around the table.”

If there’s one thing about the whole strategic plan process that failed it was the pitiful attempt at engagement.

I commented on what I witnessed while attending a public input session back in October 2011:
https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/repeating-our-past-creating-our-future-through-consultation-and-mediocrity/

I pointed out in this post: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/everyone-has-a-plan-till-they-get-punched-in-the-mouth/ that in the Strategic Plan, under “Objectives and Actions for Community” it reads:

#5 – Identify new formats, methods and technologies to effectively and regularly engage the community.

This is one goal the town desperately needs to get behind. Especially considering that during the public engagement phase of the strategic plan itself comments were deleted from its online forum: https://wattstrending.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/survey-says-nothing/

Roger Martin’s 2014 piece in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning” touches on how organizations and leaders mistaking planning for strategy often because they find it safer to supervise planning than to encourage strategic choice. You can read it here: http://hbr.org/2014/01/the-big-lie-of-strategic-planning/ar/1

Dick Illingworth recognized these issues back in his March 16th 2004 column in the Auroran.

Here is an excerpt:

You can read the full piece on page 4 here: http://www.newspapers-online.com/auroran/?wpfb_dl=132

So is Aurora staying on its strategic track?

Peter Winick explains that Strategies only stay on track when we have the right combination of discipline coupled with an easy way to proactively monitor our activities on a daily, weekly and monthly basis against our strategic objectives.

You can read his piece on the ThoughtleadershipLeverage.com site here:
http://thoughtleadershipleverage.com/2011/06/are-you-staying-on-your-strategic-track/

Now staff is before council recommending a comprehensive “update” requiring more consultants and more $.

Before sloughing this off to a 3rd party staff needs to make a strong case as to why this effort cannot happen in-house.

John R. Childress explains the benefits behind DIY Strategic Planning this way: “By engaging more and more employees in the strategy debates and thinking, not only do you create involvement and meaningful work, you test the ability of the company to execute. People closer to customers and the actual work will come up with suggestions that almost always improve the plan and its delivery.”

You can read the full piece here:
http://switchandshift.com/diy-strategic-planning-creating-meaningful-engagement

He distills down the buy-in component nicely in his closing phrase:

“There is no strategy without execution, and there is no execution without commitment!”

The Town of Aurora has a full-time staff member tasked with being “Manager of Long-Range and Strategic Planning”.

He’s verbalized his commitment to listening to Council as the community’s voice around the table, but is that where it ends?

Until the Town of Aurora gets serious about it’s abysmal Communication efforts and actually commits to the section of its Plan that reads “Identify new formats, methods and technologies to effectively and regularly engage the community.” the whole exercise reads like a Dilbert strip:

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