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  • Writer's pictureLauren McGougan

When A Municipality is Working Effectively

Strategic Steps had the opportunity to work with the Town of Tofield, Alberta, three weeks ago to conduct a strategic planning workshop.


I have now worked with about thirty organizations on strategic plans, and let me tell you, it is a great feeling as a consultant to walk into a room and realize that everyone in the room is working well together.


In my role, I have come across organizations and municipalities that are not working well together, and ones that are outright dysfunctional. From name-calling and crying to councils that are voting in a consistent split, consultants typically come across everything at workshops.


However, from the moment I walked into the Tofield arena, I could tell that we were working with a group of people that genuinely liked and respected one another. They weren’t forced to be there, and they weren’t bitter that they had to be. They truly wanted to be there and were enjoying one another’s company.


One clear sign of a group getting along well is hearing each other out. It sounds like basic human decency, but when a group of type-A people come together, everyone having their opinions heard can become difficult.


This particular group of people was great at letting others speak. Everyone was able to voice their concerns, values, opinions and priorities for the strategic plan. This made the workshop more productive for everyone involved.


Council was also willing to let staff express their opinions and allowed staff to be active in the conversations. While it is a Council strategic plan, it is helpful to let staff participate and have their voices heard.


At the end of the day, not every organization that we work with is the best of friends. However, being open and willing to listen to each other, learn from one another, and come together for the betterment of each other and their residents, always helps in the strategic planning process.


If you’re an elected official, an administrator, or just someone who believes in the value of working as a strong team, what is your take on what I have written here? What would you add?


As always, you can reach me at lauren@strategicsteps.ca .

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