“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow” — City Begins Strategic Planning Process

Have a plan, work the plan.

If you know me and read this blog with any regularity, you know how important I find planning — and the willingness to not let those plans sit on a shelf collecting dust.

Have a plan: Bring stakeholders together to determine your vision for the future, and what it will take to achieve that vision.

Work the plan: Bring to life the goals and objectives that make up your plan, delivering on the collective vision for a more promising future.

We did it with our 2035 Comprehensive Plan, we will do it with the Oak Creek Watershed restoration plan. Now, I’m proud to say we’re employing this strategy in city government.

The city has begun strategic planning work with Better Dash Faster, a Madison consulting firm that is focused on “helping top executives do business better and faster.” The firm has worked with communities like Oshkosh and Oconomowoc on their plans, came highly recommended and has already shown they will be terrific partners for us.

The work began in July, with an introduction for the common council, and continued earlier this month with a meeting of department heads and senior staff. A survey is underway now, and a planning retreat is scheduled for October.

The end result: We will emerge with a shared vision for city government, our priorities for serving taxpayers, and goals and objectives built around how we will work against those priorities. Along the way, I hope we can answer questions like, “What do we need to do differently, or start doing?” and “What can we stop doing?” Questions like “What do we need to be famous for?” and “What might it take to get there?”

Answers to these and more will guide a plan to be shared with employees, around which they will build their own goals and objectives, as we look to bring our strategic plan to the front lines and make it part of our everyday culture at the city.

We will also share the plan for community feedback.

I’d ultimately like to use that plan to measure and compensate performance of city employees, tying both to the goals and objectives we agree upon. But that is likely years away. The plan is just the start.

Will this be perfect? No. Will we have to regularly refine our plan to adapt to changing realities and city needs? Absolutely.

But as the quote in the headline — from novelist Andy Weir — says: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

Let’s go.

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