Boards that plan together commit together.
A bond developed among members because they engaged in an intense process for identifying issues, prioritizing projects, and committing to the actions needed to build success. We could see and feel the energy! Members adjourned invigorated and armed with their assignments, ready to go to work. It was go time!
An impressive amount of planning can be accomplished in five hours.
By distributing surveys ahead of the planning sessions, Georgia Downtowns was able to move the planning process forward immediately. The focus of the day was on data-driven decision-making. As members all on the same team, we worked together to set identified priorities, goals, action steps, assignments, and timelines. Planning was not only an exhilarating and gratifying experience, but an efficient one.
Downtown partner input is essential to planning.
Business owners, community leaders, and local residents provided great observations and suggestions. They helped craft the vision and identified downtown priorities. Board members were able to take this information and proceed in planning with confidence.
Holding the planning retreat in town is okay.
Boards saved money by holding their planning retreats “at home.” There were no added expenses for lodging, meeting room rentals, or travel. Though, you do have to feed them.
The “Transformation Strategies” work.
The National Main Street Center’s new approach for strategic plan development is an effective tool. Main Street and Downtown Development boards can use market data and community input to form powerful strategies to guide downtown economic revitalization. Keeping the number of strategies to only two or three allows a board to focus on high impact, long-lasting projects over periods of months or years, however long it takes to achieve them.
So why were we so “wowed” by these events? Because we found boards whose leaders and members take planning seriously. They will commit to the group, focus, use data, take time, and get ‘er done. That’s how you do it.