From Tracking To-Dos to Forecasting the Future

Posted on October 1, 2018


Pam Davis Envisio

This Jam of the Month blog is by Pam Davis, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Goodyear


The beginning of Goodyear’s Envisio story just might sound familiar to any of you who have supported an organizational shift toward more strategic leadership. A major component of our city’s performance management framework used to be our “Strategic Action Plan.”

From 2013 through 2017, this document was home to many of the organization’s top priorities. Over the course of those four years, the plan grew to an impressive 64 pages detailing 91 action items.

The organization made great progress on these items, but the list always managed to grow each year.

In addition to this regular inflation, the other challenge of the plan was its specificity. Action items frequently named very specific tactics and tools that would be used to support our strategic focus areas, limiting our ability to course-correct our daily work without amending the plan itself.

Goodyear piloted Envisio in 2016, primarily to improve the way we reported progress on our then-called Strategic Action Plan. At that point, all plan progress updates required a grueling manual process of emailing spreadsheets throughout the organization to collect information followed by hours of staff time to reformat the content into a readable report.

In addition to improving the visualization of our plan and developing the ability for staff to input their updates in a centralized database, we were excited by the prospect of aligning all of our individual department action plans to the city’s enterprise-wide plan using Envisio’s framework.

As my colleagues and I began implementing Envisio, we learned a few things about our own performance management system:

  • The city had so many “priorities” that their relative importance could be lost, leading to a constant strain on our resources as we tried to keep all of them afloat simultaneously.  
  • Our robust performance metrics program, while providing valuable data, did not always directly tie to the organization’s goals.
  • Alignment is easier said than done. Goodyear has many types and levels of plans throughout the city—strategic plans, master plans, action plans, performance objectives—and many of those were approved at different times, meaning there was not a natural cascade from the Council Strategic Action Plan down to individual tasks.

These valuable discoveries came about as a result of our Envisio pilot, causing us to question certain components of our system that we had taken for granted for years. We wanted to maximize the respective roles of our City Council and city departments by more clearly defining our organizational strategy and creating more flexibility for our subject matter experts to execute it.

Working with our City Council, we shifted our “Strategic Action Plan” to a more traditional Strategic Plan that had fewer items in a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goal format.

Earlier this year, our Mayor and Council approved the FY21 Goodyear Strategic Plan. From 64 pages and 91 action items we now have 10 pages with just 16 goals.

Each goal has a quantifiable measure attached, so we know when we have “won” over the next three years. The plan does not detail specific actions or tools, giving the city organization more flexibility to adapt to our ever-changing environment as we work to achieve our goals.

We have a more clear intention of what Goodyear should be 36 months from now, and we still have the support of Envisio to help us track and report on our progress toward success.

I commend our City Council for embracing a new framework, raising the bar for our community’s success, and creating the space for greater creativity regarding the way the city organization ultimately achieves our 16 fresh goals.

Check out the FY21 Goodyear Strategic Plan.

I’m the co-founder and executive director of ELGL. I love my job. Other things I love: local government, my family, my dog Michael Jordan, sandwiches, naps, books, and skee-ball.

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