Day 25: Prevent Failure & Plan
As the 4th quarter comes to a close there’s still time to reflect on what went well, what could have gone better and what should never be attempted again (atleast without proper planning).
Speaking of which, here are 5 things community leaders can expect will always go wrong without proper planning:
1) Public meetings. It’s not enough to host a meeting. You don’t get points for scheduling a day and time. You have to give proper notice, make the agenda public in advance, hold meetings at convenient times for others (not your staff) and facilitate properly. If the people in attendance don’t know why they are there and what the follow up steps will be, you have failed.
2) Your risk reduction strategy. Every time I read the news another public official is being sued. Another department is under scrutiny. Another ex-employee is hauling out the city’s dirty laundry and receiving money that could have been spent on a collective good. In 2018 you must properly assess not just your regulatory requirements but also the HR and professional development standards needed to keep your staff sharp and compliant. Establishing a culture of integrity reduces your risk exposure.
3) Your reputation. If you had to rate your company’s public image on a scale of 1-5, what would you say? Would you bet your salary on being able to improve that rating by 20%? 10%? 5%? Who within your organization is responsible for managing reputation? Is there a strategy in place? If so, what is your role in it? Without a solid communications and PR plan your efforts become invisible, impacting your ability to leverage any success you might have.
4) Your economic development plan. Grant opportunities, public-private partnerships, supportive industries, millennials, etc are all at risk of leaving and never coming back if you fail to plan. What do these stakeholders need? What are the gaps? Who can fill them? If you could win a better neighborhood in the lottery there would be no need for economic or community development partners. Bring key stakeholders into the fold early on to ensure a comprehensive development plan that provides economic empowerment.
5) Your entire game plan. Without a plan your best ideas are subject to pure luck. If community development was basketball and your city is Jordan, Kobe or LeBron, then please keep on being great and let me know when your next training camp is. But for the rest of us hiding under the bleachers with 1 shoe because we couldn’t afford a ticket into the arena, there’s more work to do. You have to practice, you have to take risks and you have to trust others around you when strategizing your next move. Furthermore, community development, like basketball is a team sport and it simply does not work without a plan.
What else might go wrong without proper planning?
What are you doing to mitigate these potential risks?
Adria is a community development consultant. She loves all things local and when she's not writing online you can find her enjoying the outdoors.