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Strategic Planning

This page provides basic information about strategic planning for local governments in Washington State, including examples of local strategic plans, vision statements, and mission statements.

What Is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is the process by which leaders of an organization, such as a local government, determine what it intends to be in the future and how it will get there. It involves developing a vision for the organization's future and determining the necessary goals, priorities, and action strategies to achieve that vision.

As Yogi Berra would say:

"If you don't know where you are going - you might end up someplace else."

A strategic plan serves as a community's roadmap and is used to prioritize initiatives, resources, goals, and department operations and projects. The strategic plan is a big-picture document directing efforts and resources toward a clearly defined vision.

Vision Statements

Community visioning is the process of developing consensus about what future the community wants, and then deciding what is necessary to achieve it. A vision statement captures what community members most value about their community, and the shared image of what they want their community to become. It inspires community members to work together to achieve the vision.

A thoughtful vision statement is one of the elements needed to form a forward looking strategic framework that gives councils or boards the long-term-comprehensive perspective necessary to make rational and disciplined tactical/incremental decisions on community issues as they arise. Community vision statements are typically crafted through a collaborative process that involves a wide variety of community residents, stakeholders and elected officials.

Mission Statements

Mission statements are directly connected to vision statements. While a vision statement describes the desired future state of the organization, the mission statement describes how that vision will be achieved. Ideally, mission and vision statements are crafted through a collaborative process that involves a wide array of community stakeholders and elected officials, usually as part of an overall strategic plan.

A well-crafted mission statement should capture in a short, concise paragraph the purpose of the organization's existence and what actions it takes to fulfill this purpose.

Examples of Strategic Plans

Below are a few examples of strategic plans adopted by local governments in Washington State.



Special Purpose Districts

Examples of Vision and/or Mission Statements

Below are a few examples of mission statements and/or vision statements adopted by local governments in Washington State.



Special Purpose Districts

Recommended Resources

Below are some resources that local governments can use to help develop their strategic planning processes, visions, and mission statements.

Last Modified: March 23, 2023