News from the Top

One Down – 11 To Go


It’s incredible to imagine that we’ve already seen the month of January disappear, as if time is slipping away before our eyes. Yes, time is precious. Parents reminisce about how quickly their children grow. Pet lovers recognize that our furry friends, though they remain in our hearts forever, have a much shorter physical presence in our lives. And here at IDA, time is often the most sought-after treasure. How can we find more time?

We all strive for work-life balance; some talk about it, and others succeed at creating it. But finding the right balance is ultimately about prioritizing time, which is why having a strategic plan for your organization is vital.

I have recently realized that many district organizations do not have a strategic plan to help prioritize initiatives or envision longer-term growth. Some IDA members participate in and, at times, lead downtown master plans. Most organizations have their improvement district business plan associated with formation or renewal. But are organizations developing strategic plans to prioritize the focus of resources over months and years that will drive performance toward fulfilling a longer-term vision?

IDA has grown through a series of five-year strategic plans established by our Board of Directors and informed by the needs of our membership. We traditionally complete a SWOT analysis based on current conditions and examine the context we work within through a broad-based environmental scan. While each strategic plan builds upon the previous plan(s), setting clear priority goals to achieve, perhaps most importantly, explains what we will not be doing. The plan enables us to say no when necessary, though it’s always challenging.

Yes, time is precious, and since we cannot create more, we must make the very best of the time we do have. If your organization does not have a strategic guiding plan or document, I encourage you to consider creating one. If you have such a plan, are you consistently determining if the daily activities align with your established goals? And while never the easiest of tasks to fulfill, have you developed a disciplined approach to saying no? Or perhaps, simply – not at this time.