Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

November 3, 2013

Strategic planning for economic development

Tis the season for strategic planning. Organiza-tions, public and private, for profit and not-for-profit feel the need to know where they are going in the next year. If they haven’t made a new strategic plan (or cannot find the one they made last year), there is the anxiety of traveling without a map.

In today’s world, some argue, the strategic plan is as unnecessary as the paper road map. With a GPS device in your car, you don’t need a map in the glove compartment. All you need is an interim destination and the route will appear.

In a rapidly changing world, this view holds, strategic plans are the route to stagnation, which is the reason so few are followed.

Nonetheless, strategic plans are still popular, particularly when there is a change of board members or senior staff. Here is the basic outline of the standard, contemporary strategic plan for a not-for-profit, economic development agency.

Mission statement: The Grover’s Mill Economic Development Council (GM-EDC) provides support for the growth of new and existing businesses.

Vision: Grover’s Mill is a town where new opportunities and higher wages are sought to improve the lives our citizens.

Objectives:

1. Enable existing businesses to grow and prosper in GM.

2. Facilitate the attraction to GM of new firms that expand employment opportunities for our labor force.

3. Cooperate with local schools and other agencies to improve GM workforce skills and income potential.

4. Support and encourage GM community development with emphasis on infrastructure, housing and amenities.

5. Ensure the continuity of the GM-EDC.

The reader will see that objective number 5 is the most important. No respectable agency suggests it should consider going out of existence. The whole idea of sustainability for a local economic development organization is its service will always be needed. This is the core belief of most not-for-profit entities. Profit-making activities presume they will always be wanted.

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