That Vision Thing

Posted on March 6, 2019

Routt County elected a new Commissioner in 2018, an event that kicked off an opportunity. Aside from the usual process of on-boarding a new elected official this person brought a political realignment of the Board of County Commissioners. The opportunity to re-evaluate and update our three year strategic plan came two years early!

The Commissioners decided that it was valuable to spend some time orienting to one another’s work and communication styles before getting down to work. We utilized the DiSC assessment and a facilitated discussion to get to know one another – both the County Manager and I (Deputy CM) were included which was very helpful. We followed up our work style discussion with a longer session aimed at articulating the priorities of this newly formed board. For a smaller organization (300 FTE) like ours it can be difficult to prioritize time for strategic thinking let alone actually getting our minds focused on the future when it feels like day-to-day work is overwhelming and never-ending. Regardless, it was a fruitful session where we talked – again the County Manager and I along with the three Commissioners – about dangers, opportunities and strengths of our organization.

The vision of an organization is immeasurably important in prioritizing work and workloads. It provides staff a sense of connection to organizational purpose and it allows public input on elected officials’ priorities.

As an ELGL Boardmember (at least for another few months) articulating our long-term vision is a personal priority. We have spent hours working on this as a Board over the last couple years – and I think made great strides at a clearer articulation of ELGL’s purpose and direction. We are continuing that strategic planning process as we on-board new Boardmembers and prepare for transitions off the Board (mine in particular).

The best, most succinct description I have heard of ELGL is that it is an organization that is big-tent, big ideas and devoted to discussing difficult subjects. I think ELGL is open to the hard conversations. Our future is a really big conversation and one that the Board is discussing including member survey feedback.

In order to provoke conversation and idea sharing among the Board we asked – “What would you like to see ELGL become” and the flip side of that, “What would you like to see ELGL not become?”

Some of our ideas include:

  • A strong focus on membership value
  • The indispensable membership for local government professionals,
  • Local government subject matter experts
  • Nimble
  • Diverse and inclusive

These ideas (and more!) are on the Board’s mind. We would love to hear from members about their priorities and aspirations for ELGL – reach out to me at with ideas. As we plan we are also mindful of including members in volunteer roles and to identify future leaders of ELGL (and communities throughout the country). Your feedback will help us identify and be mindful of dangers, opportunities and strengths.

Strategy & Performance Track

This strategic planning is challenging for a small association and a Board that is spread across the country. As challenging as it is this is some of the most important work that we can do to assure ELGL is meeting it’s potential and providing a high-quality member benefit long into the future.

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