Lesson #5: Strategic Plans vs. Performance Reports

All too commonly strategic plans take months to draw up, are shared with your board, and then placed on a shelf where they are never to seen again until it is time to create an updated plan for the next 3-5 years. Not only have I experienced this first hand, I have also heard multiple accounts of this happening to other economic developers. In fact, in the May episode of our podcast “Economic Development Secrets,” Steve Jenkins, President of the Fond du Lac County EDC in Wisconsin, shares how strategic plans are a thing of the past. If economic developers want to change with the times, they need to teach their boards new ways to maintain efficient accountability. Steve’s organization uses strategic frameworks that set benchmarks that they hope to improve on with time. Check out what Steve shared about Strategic Plans: ED Secret from 002: How’s That Strategic Plan Working for Ya?.

Another tool that, I believe, is more useful is performance reports. These reports show the impact your EDO has made on the community for multiple projects and/or multiple years.

Performance Report Graphic


It’ll be an adjustment to show your board what you have done using the performance reports, instead of solely what you hope to do using a strategic plan. In my experience as an economic developer, I found that stakeholders are much more likely to support you when you can pull out a performance report to show exactly what you have brought to the community. Perhaps performance reports can help accentuate your EDO’s strategic plan. Check out more information about Performance Reports.

This post is part of a series of 7. Check out the links below and stay tuned for future posts:

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