The Power of Strategic Doing in Local Government Planning

Local government strategic planning is a fundamental aspect of effective governance, allowing officials to set clear priorities, allocate resources wisely, and create a roadmap for the future. While strategic planning lays the foundation for progress, it’s crucial to understand that planning alone does not guarantee success. This is where the concept of “Strategic Doing” enters the picture. In this blog, we’ll learn the idea of Strategic Doing and how it can breathe life into well-thought-out plans, turning them into tangible, real-world results.



The Essence of Strategic Planning

Before we dive into the power of Strategic Doing, let’s take a moment to revisit the strategic planning process itself.

Local governments often start by having brainstorming sessions, where they gather lots of ideas and possibilities. These sessions are like fertile soil for nurturing creative thinking. These sessions are often marked by excitement and creativity, as they ignite innovative thinking. However, the true challenge emerges when these brainstormed ideas need to be translated into actionable goals – this is where the concept of SMART goals comes into play.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. SMART goals act as the crucial link between the early brainstorming phase and the practical steps that will bring about real change.

Let’s break down these components:


Specific: Goals must be well-defined and unambiguous. They should be crystal clear, making sure everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.


Measurable: Goals should include clear criteria for measuring progress. This enables the tracking of success and provides a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies.


Achievable: Goals must be realistic and attainable within the given context and constraints. Unrealistic objectives can lead to frustration and burnout.


Relevant: Goals should be aligned with the overall mission and vision of the organization. They need to make sense within the broader context of governance.


Time-bound: Goals must have a defined timeframe for completion. This element adds urgency and helps in setting priorities.

However, the process doesn’t stop at setting SMART goals; it’s merely the beginning of the journey toward meaningful change and improvement. In the next sections, we will explore how local governments can effectively transition from the planning phase to the implementation phase through the concept of Strategic Doing.



Moving Beyond Planning


While setting SMART goals is a crucial initial step in the strategic planning process, it’s important to understand that the real essence of progress lies in what follows – a phase we call “Strategic Doing.” This is the stage where the meticulously crafted plan transitions from theory to action. It’s the moment when the plan is taken off the shelf and put into motion, marking the beginning of the journey towards achieving the strategic objectives.


1. Starting with the End Goal

One of the most powerful strategies in the action planning process is to start with the end goal in mind. Consider the scenario of a local government with the ambition of completing a specific project within a 12-month timeframe. The first and essential step is to clearly envision what success would look like when that 12-month period concludes. This involves not just a vague notion of achievement but a clear and detailed picture of the desired outcome. Starting with the end goal in mind sets the direction and provides a guiding light for the entire journey.


2. Working Backwards

Once the end goal is crystal clear, the next strategic move is to work backward systematically. In month 11, what specific actions and tasks need to be executed to ensure that the goal is successfully reached in the 12th month? Similarly, what must be achieved in month 10 to meet the month 11 deliverables? Continue this reverse planning process, drilling down month by month, until you identify and outline the necessary actions for the current month. This structured approach ensures that every step taken is not only meaningful but is also in direct alignment with the overall, long-term objective.


3. Assigning Responsibility

To get things done effectively, having well-explained tasks is just one aspect of the whole picture. Assigning responsibility is equally significant. Each deliverable, task, and action item needs to have a responsible individual or team identified. This accountability is the crucial key to making execution successful. Without assigned responsibilities, tasks can easily slip through the cracks, leading to delays, confusion, and inefficiency. This ensures that each member of the team understands their role in turning the strategic plan into a reality.


4. Communication and Reporting

Effective communication is the backbone of keeping the plan on track. Determine how and when reporting will be communicated. Regular and transparent reporting keeps everyone informed about the progress, milestones achieved, and challenges faced. This open channel of communication provides an opportunity for timely adjustments as needed. It also enables stakeholders to stay aligned with the plan, fostering a sense of involvement and ownership.


5. Celebrate Wins

Acknowledging both small and significant achievements is vital for maintaining motivation and focus. By recognizing and rewarding the efforts of the team and marking milestones achieved, you create a positive and energized atmosphere. This positivity acts as fuel, driving continued progress and innovation. It also fosters a sense of pride and accomplishment within the team, encouraging them to remain committed to the long-term vision. Celebrating wins, both minor and major, ensures that the journey remains engaging and fulfilling.


Last words

Strategic Doing is the bridge that connects strategic planning to tangible results. It’s the process of breaking down goals into actionable steps, assigning responsibility, maintaining clear communication, and celebrating achievements. For local governments, where the impact of their actions is felt directly by the community, this approach is essential to ensure that plans do not remain mere documents on the shelf but are translated into meaningful change and progress. By embracing the concept of Strategic Doing, local governments can ensure that their visions for the future become a reality.