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County Board Strategic Planning Retreat

Date: Saturday, 21 April, 2018 - Thursday, 15 February, 2018

Time: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Location: Regional Design Center315 North Main St Rockford, IL 61101

The Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies will facilitate the County Board's Strategic Planning Retreat Workshop to bring together ideas to for the leadership's expression of the future. 

The NIU Center for Governmental Studies outlines the describes the process as follows:

"The identification of strategic issues and goals is the aim of any strategic planning process. The process is designed to create an effective environment where leaders can spend sufficient time to
identify what is truly important for the organization to accomplish given the breadth of circumstances and information (at both the policy and operational levels) that confront the
County as a vital part of the community. Identifying strategic issues can be compared to pouring your assessment of all the issues and circumstances the County faces into a filtered funnel. What
County Leadership workshop session [s] will be a viable listing of identified and prioritized goals that mesh with the overall vision of the County
near and long-term future.

Mission Affirmation and Visions of the Future
Exploration and identification of the County nching point once the framework of the organization mission has been explored and affirmed or fine-tuned
Each participant will be asked to articulate what he or she perceives to be the preferred future state of the County one, three, five, and ten years down the road. What services, programs, staffing
levels, capital needs, and general facets would or should be present in the County at these intervals? Participants will be asked to jot down their ideas ahead of time and then be ready to
share them with the group. This is a brainstorming exercise any and all ideas about the County.

Environmental Scan/SWOT Analysis
This exercise is a classic component of any strategic planning endeavor. It helps the group to focus on a realistic identification of the environmental factors within and beyond the County
organization that can inhibit or assist in the achievement of the future vision.

What are the organization's strengths and weaknesses, in what areas do you regularly excel, and in what areas are there difficulties or shortcomings in terms of expertise, resources, training, etc.?
What opportunities are on the horizon that can be used to your advantage? Conversely, what trends lay ahead that would be obstacles or hindrances? The group will be asked to discuss these
issues in an open discussion format. Again, the group is not asked to focus on overcoming strengths or weaknesses, but to only identify what they may be.
Given the futuristic statements of the preceding session, it is important for team members to identify and discuss what constraints and practical difficulties are likely to be encountered, or
would make it difficult, to achieve the desired future state. These elements include both internal and external factors, conditions, trends, regulations, agencies, resources, etc.

Review and Reflections on the Collected Listening/Stakeholder Data
County leaders will be presented with a synopsis of the data gathered via interviews, focus groups, or other means selected by the County. During this session, results on what stakeholders shared
about the preferred future state of the County will be reviewed along with perceived challenges, strengths, opportunities, etc.

Nominal Group Goal Identification
The collaborative establishment of strategic goals and objectives is the focus of the next phase of the strategic planning retreat/workshop activities.
Each participating member will be allotted time to highlight the most important policy/program goals that he or she thinks the County should accomplish in the next two to ten years. Some
should perhaps be accomplished immediately; others may be initiated but not completed for several years. For this reason, goals will be categorized as either short- or long-term. This process
will continue as long as time permits which may include some refinement or consolidation of similar goals statements.

Identification of key issues of the future (as defined and anticipated by the County Board and senior administrative leaders) will also be part of this phase. This exercise takes advantage of the
professional experience, perspective, and hands-on knowledge of the County staff. Management team members are called upon to identify and explain three to four key issues
that the County should be aware of and incorporate into their future goals and needs. As part of this phase, the County Administrator, as the appointed Chief Administrator, will be
asked to identify additional constraints/opportunities in the administrative apparatus of the County as well as react to those presented by management team members and stakeholders.

Open Group Discussion and Classification
This phase of the discussion will serve as the forum for workshop participants to discuss, evaluate, and debate the ideas and goals offered by each participant in the previous sessions. Participants

are asked to give their opinions, evaluations, and judgments of the worthiness and value of
different policy objectives. At the end of the open discussion, participants will be asked to classify each goal according to a matrix model of complexity and time. Agreed upon criteria will be used to classify a goal as either
short- or long-term and as either complex or routine. The purpose is to group goals roughly the

Following the classification exercise, the group will be asked, through a post-workshop exercise, to delineate why certain goals should be given high priority, why some should not be considered,
and why some goals, although worthy, should receive low priority or be re-defined. Point values will be assigned to each goal in each quadrant by the group. The resulting consensus ranking of
short- and long-term goals to achieve the future vision will be the final outcome of this phase of the process.

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