St. Anthony Village city officials recently gathered for an off-site strategic-planning session. The two-day meeting is an annual ritual that allows city officials to get away from the daily grind and
focus on the big picture.
While the purpose of the session is to check progress on previous goals and to establish new ones, it’s not all serious discussion. Faust said the city tries to keep the meeting light so that people feel comfortable and will engage in the process. “The social aspect is just as important as anything else,” he said. “We work together better when we get to know each other as people.”
Springsted Consultant Dave Unmacht, who has facilitated the session for several years, sets the tone for a casual and fun meeting by leading light-hearted banter among attendees. All kidding aside, though, the goal-setting meetings have resulted in major improvements for the city that might not have happened without these discussions.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of St. Anthony Village’s strategic planning is its “pyramid” approach, Unmacht said.
The pyramid has the city’s mission at the top, then the vision, and then in the wider part of the pyramid, it contains the strategic initiatives, goals, and action steps. (see the 2014 pyramid below). After the session, the pyramid is shared with residents through the city newsletter.
Goals accomplished last year included negotiating and signing a contract with local haulers for organized garbage collection, installing a local area network for the city’s internal communications system, and reducing paper and adding space by moving many records to electronic storage. As for 2015, stay tuned!
Think your city would benefit from strategic planning? Read a recent Minnesota Cities magazine article to learn more about it: Strategic Planning: Building a Roadmap to Success.