A city with a strategic plan is the goal

It’s a cliché but a goal without a plan is a wish.

If that’s the case, the City of Windsor is a city of wishful thinking.

Tonight I spent a little time re-reading The City of Windsor’s 20 Year Strategic Vision just to remind myself if it still holds up as the weakest and the weirdest document I have seen the City produce in my own 20 years in Windsor. Short answer: yes!

You should read it. It won’t take long. The vision document is literally only 850 words.

I’m also incredibly confused why spending commitments over the 20 years was built from resident suggestions made at some ward meetings, an online survey, and a wish list from the city councilors sitting in 2015. You would think that a city’s 20 year plan into the future would be based on, say, evidence-based projections of the future. But not Windsor’s. In our 20 Year Strategic Vision, there’s only one expert projection of the future — and that is a projection that the city seeks to defy.

Evidently the City of Windsor is supposed to produce a series of 4-year Strategic Plans that fit into our larger 2016-2036 Strategic Vision. We’re at 2020 and I haven’t seen any evidence of a 2016-2020 plan nor any indication of a 2020-2024 plan.

So I reviewed The City of London’s current 4 Year strategic plan. Compared to ours, it is magnificent. It doesn’t winge that people are so negative. It just sets to work to make things better.

Also, this document actually resembles a proper Strategic Plan. Instead of wasting space with a word cloud, it has a clearly articulated Vision, Mission, and Values as well as 5 specific strategic areas of focus:

Did you see that? CREATING a Safe London for Women and Girls? London Ontario is a city that is committing focus and resources to improving the lives of its residents. Did you know that other cities in Canada actually apply time, money, and effort to better understanding that they can do to improve the lives of women? It’s true! Here’s a 2019 Report from Edmonton.

Anyway, back to strategic visions and plans.

One thing I noticed about the City of Windsor Strategic Vision was that it was developed with the assistance of a consulting group called StrategyCorp.

From what I can tell, the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan from London, Ontario was developed in-house but they do use a Strategic Plan Dashboard and reporting infrastructure that’s provided by Clearpoint Strategy. Anyone can look at the site to see progress so far.

I think it’s telling that Leading in Public Service is one of the Strategic areas of focus for the city.

It makes me wonder if the City of Windsor even has the capacity to make its own plans.

I wish it did.

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