Webinar presenter Will Davis answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Strategic Planning as a Management Philosophy. Here are some of his responses.
Audience Question: Are there points when projects can be determined to be unattainable and unsustainable? Is this unusual and how do you identify that point?
Will Davis: Yes, there are. We've had a number of strategic initiatives that once we got down the road, we realize that we're not able to fully implement them in the way that we wanted to. Each project or initiative is unique when you look at determining whether it's viable to continue with. It's going to be something where you look at the resources, the budget, all that to make sure that you can accomplish it or not.
So, yes. You'll find an initiative that once you start, you'll not be able to finish.
Audience Question: Is your process a five-year static or is it more of a dynamic model? In your yearly review, do you constantly look at the new fifth year in addition to conducting to reviewing a new SWOT and reassessing already developed objectives?
Will Davis: Yes. It is a dynamic process. One thing that I skimmed over at the end was when we do our yearly review, we had done one errata. During the year, you'll find that you will change strategy definitions. You'll decide that what was originally intended doesn't work or is needed, so we'll change the definition. Or you'll find that you need to change a resource. The strategy leader needs to go off to something else, so new ones must be assigned.
So, yes. During the year, we had changes to plans, to strategic initiatives, and we want to be able to capture all those changes so it's dynamic.
Audience Question: Are there other ways they can get those handouts?
Host/Aaron: I will end up including those on the webpage where we have the video. A link will be sent where those may be downloaded.
Will Davis: Some of those attachments are dated. This is a presentation we've done several times so they're not the most current. Some have been revised, but if anyone needs a more current version, you can send me an email, so I can provide it.
Audience Question: You identified a SWOT analysis as being optional. Can you talk about why you feel that that's an optional step in strategic planning?
Will Davis: Well, it's optional if you want to do it yearly. It's important that you do a SWOT analysis. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) they have a requirement that we do one every year in order to keep our accreditation. For us, it's not optional. But if you've done one and it's maybe a year or two old, and you really don't feel like you need to do it again, certainly it would be optional at that point. There are other things that you can do like surveys – of your community and bring that as an input into the strategic planning process. Or if you want to do a survey of your employees to find out what's important to them. You can bring that into the process as well. Instead of doing a SWOT analysis every year, you can swap it up and do a survey of your community one year and a SWOT analysis the other.
Audience Question: How do you quantify some enforcement initiatives to determine success when the information seems to be nearly impossible together or misconstrued as a quota?
Will Davis: Are they talking about performance measures? Like workload indicators, input, output, that type of thing? I'm not quite sure if that's what we're getting at?
Host/Aaron: I am somewhat extrapolating, but yeah, I think that's right, it's about the performance indicators.
Will Davis: What we do is in our strategy definition form, there is what we call measures of success. How do you know when you get there? At the end of this strategic initiative, we might have 20% reduction in the number of X, Y, Z. You can have those measures built into those. We also know that you're not going to be able to particularly identify every single measure, so you might have some side measures on satisfaction, for example. You're not going to know that everybody is satisfied with the training class, but you can measure the number of complaints on the training class or bad evaluations or something like that. You need to figure out exactly what you want to measure for each of your strategic initiatives and what data do you have available that is measurable that could be used to show that.
Click Here to See a Recording of Strategic Planning as a Management Philosophy.