In the July 15 entry, we described the retreat process with the City Council/Board of Township Trustees (or any governing board). One of the last points was a follow-up meeting with the Council, City Manager/Administrator and Department Heads, and consultant. For this meeting, the manager and the consultant will have prepared a Strategic Plan based upon the priorities identified by the city Council. The Strategic Plan will generally expand upon the priorities indicating responsible departments for implementation.
Again, it is important to have both the manager and consultant with the Council and department heads for the Strategy and Goals to be engrained in the organizational culture. Part of this reason is for the agenda to be followed and keep the focus on the Strategic Plan that Council has developed.
This meeting will provide an opportunity for the staff to fully understand the intent of the Council in addressing the Strategic Plan and begin a dialogue as to the possible parameters and roadblocks in achieving the strategy. This is where the “can do thinking” takes place.
Following this meeting, the manager and department heads will meet to translate those strategies into specific plans and goals for the respective departments to achieve (some priorities may transcend departmental boundaries). Each department is then responsible and accountable to implement plans to achieve the goals. This may be done by creating departmental teams, cross-functional teams or assigning strategy development to individuals. The manager and department head will be advised to create a date by which departments will report back to the Council on a quarterly basis. Often staff will respond in pointing out where there may be inabilities of that particular department to achieve the Council’s strategies. It is important to be aware of this issue, but at the same time change the question to: How do we achieve this program? How we will establish the goals and accountabilities to report back to Council and the Community? In the words of Gene Krebs, “Failure is not an option.”
The reports to Council will be obliged to include a section indicating that evaluation of staff members is being based upon the achievement of the Departmental Goals and Council Strategy in addition to progress on the Goals. It may be necessary to include copies of any new evaluation forms to the Council.
Most often the personnel carrying out the direct task can bring the most insight into the plans and how to achieve them. Department heads should meet with the department employees to discuss the City Council strategies and together develop plans to meet those goals.
Our next entry will be to discuss bringing the Strategy, and Goals to the employee/operational level.
Thanks again to Dave Anderson for his insights and editing.