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Original Author: Darden, Ron
Date of Material: 07/14/2011

Community development

Strategic Planning

Reviewed Date: 07/27/2021
A letter explaining the benefits of strategic planning for the city.

July 14, 2011

Mr. Jim Lee, City Administrator
City of Fayetteville
110 Elk Avenue South
Fayetteville, Tennessee 37334

Re: Strategic Planning

Dear Mr. Lee

Strategic thinking and planning are critical elements of public management. Its purpose is to establish long-term goals, annual objectives, and detailed actions/strategies that address issues related to performance, productivity, required statutory services, and community and personal well-being. Because its focus must be on identifying the most critical factors affecting the community or client base and on seeking the most effective and efficient means to address them, it is one of the key factors in any successful organization.

If it is successful, the strategic planning process will
  • · Accelerate the city’s ability to solve identified issues and challenges.
  • · Encourage creativity and innovation.
  • · Ensure a more efficient use of resources.
  • · Develop a greater degree of cooperation and collaboration.
  • · Create a sense of team and mutual accomplishment.
  • · Reduce confusion about roles, responsibilities, and accountability.
  • · Serve as a basis for evaluating employee and program performance.
  • · Tie the budget to program performance.
  • · Serve as the basis for funding requests and the allocation process.
  • · Clarify and showcase an agency’s intent and use of funds.

    I recommend that the participants in the session include only members of the board and the city administrator. When department heads are included, it often becomes a session of developing strategic plans for individual departments. While I encourage your participation, only board members will vote on community issues that are prioritized.

    The meeting needs to be away from the city or at a location where interruptions will be minimized. No cell phone calls and no calls except emergencies during the session. You will need to discuss the strategic planning process with the newspaper emphasizing the need for an open discussion of issues and solutions that can best be accomplished in a format that does not include the newspaper. If they insist on attending, we can proceed with them in attendance and request that they only publish the finished report. I have facilitated several strategic plans over the past 12 months, and no newspaper representative attended.

    I consider the session as a public session and citizens or interest groups may attend, but not participate. Some citizens attended the session that I facilitated in Fairview.

    With your approval, I plan to use the following procedures:

    Step 1. (2-hours) Develop a mission statement and a vision statement for the city of Fayetteville.

    The mission statement should answer the questions; (1) why does the city of Fayetteville exist? and (2) what should the city of Fayetteville do? The mission statement should be unique to Fayetteville, clear, concise, and easily understood. An example would be Franklin Roosevelt’s order to General Eisenhower; “You are to invade the continent of Europe and subdue the enemy.” It is clear, concise, and easily understood. The mission needs to be unique to the city and not generic to other cities. It is difficult to develop and will require about 25% of the of the planning session time. If we were going to answer the above questions on a billboard advertising our city, what would we put on it?

    The vision statement is the city’s vision for the future and the city’s role in it. It should briefly tell what the city will do to meet the challenges of the future. It can describe the desired outcome as for example “crime free streets in 10 years.” It should answer, for example, what you want the City to look like or be like in 10 years.

    Step 2. SWOT Analysis of the city. On flip charts list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of or to the City of Fayetteville.

    Step 3. Identify ways to address each characteristic by developing goal statements for each.

    Step 4. Using 7 paper dots for each official vote one goal statement 7 times or any combination thereof. The purpose of this step is to prioritize the goal statements by selecting goals for the city to address immediately. While goals and objectives are prioritized, all are identified in the final report.

    Step 5. Tabulate and rank the goal statements.

    Step 6. Review each of the 7 goal statements and establish time tables for accomplishing them.

    Step 7. Summarize the mission statement, vision statement and the 7 prioritized goals with timetables for accomplishment.

    Note: I can vary the format if the board would prefer to do the SWOT Analysis prior to establishing the mission and vision statements.

    If this is an acceptable procedure, I will provide board members with an outline of the process, with examples, and encourage each of them to begin thinking about the mission and vision statements and the establishment of city goals prior to the session. I will provide a summary of all the goals and objectives that are discussed.

    I look forward to working with the City of Fayetteville in developing a Strategic Plan. Dana Deem and I will facilitate the session. Please advise me of a time and place for the strategic planning session so that we may plan accordingly.


    Ron Darden
    Municipal Management Consultant

    Cc. MTAS Management Consultant Dana Deem
    MTAS Director Steve Thompson

    Please let me know if the process is satisfactory and when we may proceed. I think it will take at least 8 hours to complete the process. You may want to divide it into two days. Call me if you have questions or comments.

    Respectfully Yours

    Ron Darden
    Municipal Management Consultant

    Cc. City Administrator Terry Harrison

Main Document(s):
file Strategic Planning Letter.pdf