7 practical steps to creating a strategic plan your community will love (Part 2)
This is the second part of our series about creating a strategic plan that your community will love. Recapping, we have outlined seven main steps to follow:
1. Assess the community
2. Establish a solid process
3. Involve all kinds of people
4. Develop a vision
5. Rank the community’s priorities
6. Set your goals and actions
7. Implement your plan
If you need a refresh, we covered the first four steps in our earlier article.
So, after you have assessed your community, established a solid process, involved all kinds of people and developed a vision – what do you do next?
Step 5: Rank the community’s priorities
Next it is time to rank the issues in order of importance. Is providing jobs the most important issue for your community? Or is environmental protection the key concern?
When you develop your priorities, you are setting the direction for your community. At this step, you should describe your priorities in enough detail so that everyone will know what they are. You should also consider whether the priorities are in line with higher level council, as well as State Government requirements, such as your community strategic plan or regional plan.
In this step, you do not need to say how you will achieve the priority. This is the following stage.
Step 6: Set your goals and actions
When you talked to your community earlier in this process, you may have brainstormed about different ways or the path to achieve your priorities. This will begin to form the basis of your goals and actions.
You will be more likely to identify creative strategies when a diverse group of individuals are involved in the process. This will help you identify and avoid any negative or unintended consequences.
Now it is time to develop a list of actions and then evaluate them to decide which ones will be most effective. The level of detail in the actions will depend upon the nature of the strategic plan. For example, in a local strategic planning statement, the actions do not have to be too detailed. That comes next – for example, Council may need to do a detailed residential land use strategy to determine where people will live.
Here are some questions to help you think about the impacts that the actions could have:
- How will the strategy affect the community’s economic diversity and vitality?
- How will the strategy affect the community’s self-reliance and vulnerability to outside influences e.g. global mega-trends or climate change?
- What will be the cumulative effect of this and other related actions? For example, will allowing more rural residential land affect productive farmland?
- How will this action further the community’s long-term vision?
Step 7: Implement your plan
You are now up to the final step in the development of your strategic plan.
No strategic plan is complete just because it gets written. The hard work of implementation comes next. Your plan will be full of further studies or actions to undertake. Not everything can be done at once, so a strategic plan should be divided into several stages. You will also need to be clear about who will undertake this work and when the actions will be complete.
In conclusion, creating a strategic plan that your community will love involves a number of critical steps. Sometimes, these can be undertaken together in a condensed style. Alternatively, the steps may be completed over a longer period of time. Either way, following this guide will provide you with a robust process and approach to your next strategic project.
If you need assistance with creating priorities for a strategic plan like a local strategic planning statement or engaging with your community about its future, please get in touch with our planning and strategy team.
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