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Strategic planning session focuses on the future

June 01, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Where are you now? Where will you be in 10 years? How will you get there?

These were just some of the questions Imperial Irrigation District directors and department managers asked and tried to answer during a strategic planning meeting Thursday.

Less than two years old, the district's strategic plan is an effort to identify, prioritize and budget for company goals.

"Certainly not rocket science, it's the application of common sense, keeping everybody on the same goals," said Arn Lahde, special assistant to the general manager and facilitator of the meetings.

The eight main goals include continually improving services to meet customer needs, strengthening and improving employee/employer relations and upgrading facilities.

The group spent much of Thursday morning trying to word a vision statement specific enough to have meaning yet broad enough to encompass IID's conception of itself in the future.


They agreed "A supplier of water and power to meet the changing needs of our customers" was a good start for the statement but will revise and finalize it at the next meeting.

Also at the next meeting, Lahde asked that the directors and managers look at the lists of goals and priorities from last year, determine what's being done to implement them and decide if they're still relevant.

One goal, improving communication, is being met, in part, through these meetings.

Open communication is a key component of the strategic planning meetings, Lahde said.

The meetings provide a place where the ideas and strategies of directors, staff and the public come together for IID's improvement.

The meetings are open to the public.

When asked if the strategic plan has helped, public affairs manager Ron Hull said yes.

"It has already helped us focus the budget," he answered.

In previous years, the budget has not been tied to an overall plan, Hull said.

During the meeting, water department manager Mike King recalled that things similar to the strategic planning meetings had happened in the past but little difference came of them.

The difference now, Lahde said, is a published strategic plan that keeps people on track.

In the past, there was no way of measuring the progress. The strategic plan has assessments and reviews incorporated into it to continually track headway.

Unlike formal board meetings in which people address the board, strategic planning meetings foster freely flowing discussion.

"This gives us the opportunity to brainstorm with the board to make sure their policy ideas are the same as our business necessities," Hull said.

Lahde, for one, believes in the strategic plan.

"It can only lead to efficiency and lower costs," he said.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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