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Communities of Excellence 2026 Blogs

Community Wide Strategic Objectives and Action Plans

Our last two Learning Collaborative sessions focused on Developing Strategic Objectives and then turning those Objectives into Action Plans.  While strategic objective and action plan development isn’t a new thing, the process of developing community-wide objectives and action plans can be.  In considering the development, we again go back to the Community Profiles that each community drafted.  Their Objectives will relate to significant strategic opportunities and challenges that they identified in their profiles.  They will reflect what a community must achieve to remain or become competitive, ensure long-term sustainability and reach their community visions. 

When discussing Action Plans we focus on identifying the resources needed to deploy those plans and the time horizons for achieving them.  Identifying the People and Organizational Resources needed (that they outlined in their Profiles), inventorying the existing plans in the community and understanding where gaps exists are examples of important aspects that lead to more effective and efficient community strategies.

In each of these last two sessions we heard Case Studies from two of our participating communities.  West Kendall Florida started by presenting their six step strategy model.  Their community-wide framework focuses on four key drivers of excellence:  Educational Attainment, Safety, Quality of Life and Economy.  They are focusing now on the Educational Attainment driver, having recently launched an Education Summit with leaders from across the community.  Their systematic (and repeatable!) approach to strategic planning serves as an excellent role model example for other communities. 

This past Tuesday we heard from Brookfield and Marceline, two neighboring communities in Northwest Missouri that are partnering for their Communities of Excellence journey.  Their story is inspiring, as they relate how they began as rivals in one of the largest football rivalries in the country.  A few things stood out:  First, their sense of urgency is clear.  The population decline in their cities and much of Northwest Missouri is significant and ongoing.  Addressing it will require a collaborative effort with a regional focus; it can’t be done in isolation.  Second, they highlighted a challenge (and a Strategic Objective) around increasing communication and engagement in the community; something that many of our communities echo.  Often we see the same group of people at every meeting and identifying and engaging new people can be challenging.   Brookfield/Marceline is using the COE-Baldrige process to develop and implement strategic objectives and action plans around improving communication internally and externally – and thereby increasing engagement.

Over the next few sessions we will continue to hear from these impressive communities.