Janet Koch, Community Development
It’s here. Your community has done the homework by holding meetings, conversations and discussions, and the community’s Vision is now in front of you. People are energized and excited and you’re already getting questions about when the Vision will become reality. Only…how do you make it happen?
1) Put the Vision front and center. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to dedicate every possible resource to the vision, but it does mean the board/council/commission needs to find ways to show the community how seriously they’re taking what you’ve created. There are probably as many ways to do this as there are organizations, but here are some ideas: put it on every agenda for an update; frame an image that represents the vision and hang it prominently in a public space; send out press releases every time a step toward the vision is made.
2) Phase it. The bigger the vision, the more it likely needs to be phased. Break it into smaller pieces. Create action steps for each piece. Create a timeline for each action step.
3) Track it. Once step 2 is done, find a way to show the community that steps are being completed. As with step 1, there are oodles of ways to do this. Here are a few: create a graphic of a thermometer whose tick marks are the action steps; upload a spreadsheet to your website’s home page and update it regularly; ask an elementary school to hold a contest to come up with ideas for communicating progress.
4) Accept that things don’t always go as planned. Water mains can freeze, key people can leave the organization, servers can break down, and newly elected officials can have different visions. But if you abide by step 1, even if you have to step back from the vision temporarily, the community can rest assured that it will become reality.
For specifics regarding the above steps, contact NLEA at 231-582-6482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make the vision happen!