Raising the Bar
In Thomas E. Plant’s third book, Raising the Bar, he continues the theme of his previous two books (Strategic Planning for Municipalities and Roadmap to Success) with an emphasis on improving municipal strategic planning. With a strong focus on the operational side of the process, Plant explores the role of strategic planning in improving continuity across organizational staff and departments.
The popular narrative is that the strategic planning process can reveal new initiatives and fresh ideas for the organization to pursue. While this outcome is obviously valuable, and undoubtedly necessary to stay current and ahead of public sector changes, it is equally important to understand the step-by-step development of how strategic plans take shape, are eventually implemented, and the results subsequently monitored. With Plant’s ability to break down the different components that determine the success of a strategic plan, this book is a must read for any municipal administrator who is looking to improve the function of their municipality’s strategic management framework.
“Often, the operations are an afterthought when planning the future of a municipality,” says Plant. “By providing a ‘line of sight’ from the strategic goals to the municipal operations, staff can be engaged in identifying ways to improve service delivery, leading to cost savings and greater citizen satisfaction.” With many practical examples, including case studies, and a strategic planning citizen survey to help collect valuable information, Plant highlights the importance of leaving “no stone unturned” in effectively implementing the operations behind a successful strategic plan.
As local governments constantly grow and evolve, it is important to step back and determine how the pieces of the “puzzle” are working together to achieve the goals the organization has set out in its plan. Raising the Bar gives insightful direction for best practices to follow – to help ensure the community’s ideas and initiatives have the best chance to succeed.