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Project Blueprint: Greater Cincinnati Water Works Creates a New Blueprint for Success!

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Strategic business planning has been an important tool to help guide Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) closer to its vision of being a utility that will serve as a standard for excellence in the water utility industry. Since 1995, Greater Cincinnati Water Works has used strategic business planning to take a long-term view of the utility's goals and operations and to determine strategies and objectives that support the overall mission and vision. Over the years, strategic planning has helped explain the utilities goals to employees and stakeholders as well as stimulate change and start improvement efforts throughout the organization.

In 2011, GCWW created its fourth strategic business plan and embarked on a totally new approach to create the plan. Unlike prior plans when mostly consultants assisted in creating the plan, employees were empowered to research local businesses; best practices; the top 100 places to work; leading utilities; and fortune 500 companies to determine what worked for them and what might work for GCWW. This new and exciting approach allowed utility employees to ‘own’ the process and direct the outcome from their research. Employees were able to develop a sense of the organization's Mission and Vision for the future and then determine the overall accomplishments (goals, strategies) the organization should achieve and the methods (action items) to achieve those accomplishments in the next 3 years.

Development of the plan involved several phases:

• Identifying the goal areas and business drivers

• Determining strategies and action items needed to reach the goals

• Budget and resource planning

• Implementation planning for the Strategic Business Plan

This process will provide significant benefits to GCWW and others because it provides a solid process for developing a strategic business plan and provides a documented implementation plan outlining objectives, processes, tools and deliverables expected for each project team. Equally important is that GCWW can use this process and tools to streamline, affect and accelerate continuous improvement efforts throughout the organization.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2012

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