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In November of 2004, the Department of Public Works' Bureau of Sanitation embarked upon a strategic planning process. The organization has approximately 3,000 employees and is responsible for stormwater management, collection and treatment of wastewater flows exceeding 470 MGD, as well as the collection, recycling and disposal of refuse for the entire City of Los Angeles. The systematic approach used in this strategic planning process relied upon simplicity to create a focus that would be clearly communicated and understood by everyone in the organization. Story telling became the first building block of this powerful focus tool. As a result of defining a compelling future, the core mission, vision, values and Key Result areas of the organization were reevaluated or developed. Most everyone in the organization was involved through representative teams that developed 166 goals. These goals were then reduced to 11 most important Bureau Goals. A Balanced Score Board was also developed to allow tracking every deliverable listed in the Goal Implementation Plans. The execution cycle of the plan is as important as the plan itself. Communicating the Balanced Score Board brings a high level of transparency to the process and the alignment of resources in the organization.

The Bureau of Sanitation's strategic planning process looks at a 5-year timeline and concentrates on actions and deliverables in the first year of the 5-year planning cycle. The plan is assessed, validated, revised and communicated on a yearly basis.

This paper is intended to be a step-by-step guide to create a simple, yet very powerful and focused strategic plan followed by executing what matters most and is vitally important. Lessons learned are discussed in detail and are presented in this paper.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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