A couple of weeks ago we received some exciting news. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has official approved and registered our trademark for MicGrowPolitan® – a brand of economic development services created and tailored to the needs of the nation’s 551 official Micropolitan Statistical Areas. Learn more
For the last two decades I’ve worked around the country with companies, organizations and communities, seeing all forms of strategic planning in many phases of its development and implementation. I’ve also seen strategic plans get more and more complex and take longer and longer to create.
The length and complexity of these plans stems from a desire to want more information to guide strategic decisions as well as to want to analyze information better and more thoroughly than your competition (a subjective assumption).
Yet as more information is available and analyzed, far too many of these strategic plans appear (and are) lifeless, impractical and wasted. But why?
Knowing & Doing Aren’t the Same
As a dad of three I’m often reminding my kids to do things, which means I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I know” to which I’ve quipped “Knowing and doing are two different things.”
Before I even finish there is a part of me that winces at having said such a ‘dad-like-thing’ but the truth is my response is less a reflection of being a dad and more a reflection of being a consultant in today’s world. Like my kids, most people fundamentally know what to do, but they are often distracted from taking action either by the immediacy of something else that’s grabbed their attention or they are waiting for more information.
Albert Einstein is attributed to having said, “Information is not knowledge.”
And this problem is only getting worse as the daily bombardment of information through every device and from every screen raises our expectation that a little more information won’t hurt and will actually make it easier to take action. It’s an assumption that the next piece of information may be so much better than what we have, we must wait.
Thus this access to so much information that is so frequently refreshing (updating, revising) is now treated as a source of knowledge, creating an illusion that with knowledge of the next piece of information we can somehow take more decisive and successful action.
Knowledge is More than Information
Unfortunately knowledge is more than mere abundance and availability of information. Knowledge involves experience (good and bad), ranking (how we measure and weigh information), instincts/intuition, imagination and other processes that are functions of taking action (a/k/a doing). Thus, the result of seeking more and more information because it is (or may be) available too often leads to the same problem of inaction that plagues my kids – distraction and postponement.
This is not to say that data and information can’t be valuable to a decision, but the expectation that more data and information will always lead to an even better decision has a limit.
3 Tips for Action
Here are three tips to encourage action:
- Do limit the analysis of data and information to that which is most relevant to your goals and objectives. Don’t rely on data that is too historic or unverifiable.
- Create a plan that guides your strategic decisions and actions for the next 3-5 years. Don’t create a plan for purposes of creating a plan.
- Assume that your plan will need to be adjusted as new information is available or markets change. Don’t fall into the trap of creating an entirely new plan every time something changes.
We’re a land use and economic development company. Most people aren’t sure what that means, but essentially we have three types of clients:
- Developers – we help developers get the permits and approvals then need (especially difficult ones) in a timely manner. We also help them analyze and select locations for their projects. We also help bridge the gaps where a jurisdiction’s policies, permits and practice don’t quite fit or are not anticipatory of a type of project.
- Cities/Countys/EDOs – knowing what it takes to make a project happen, we help advise communities on policies, programs and marketing so that they are more effective at getting the economic development they want. Essentially, we help these clients get smarter, more strategic and we do it for a better cost structure than “planning” companies.
- Small Businesses & Individuals – zoning is one regulation that applies to every business, every non-profit and every individual, so when small businesses run into zoning challenges that are complex and political, we help them navigate to safety. Click here for an example
Unfortunately, we frequently hear our new small business and individual clients say something like, “Wow, I didn’t even know people like you were out there. . .”
We recently helped a small business, The Grayson, resolve a zoning compliance matter that threatened to shut them down because their c0-housing solution to long term rentals for corporate relocation clients was defined as a “hotel” though it’s a far cry from such. It would be incredibly difficult to walk through the challenges of their situation in a single blog post (so we won’t try). But, we’d like to provide you with our client’s thoughts, which she allowed us to share:
“Toyer’s firm has a great background and working knowledge of regulations, zoning, and code. Toyer was able to navigate the complexity of county planning department and code, succeeding in getting a resolution that kept our business from having to close. More incredible was the fact that Toyer was successful where attorneys had failed to help us with the problem. Without Toyer Strategic’s involvement, we would have spent thousands of dollars fighting a losing battle,” Mariam Zinn, Owner, The Grayson
We’re proud of the work our company does and what it means to small business and entrepreneurs.
Got a zoning or zoning compliance issue? We can help. Contact us
Site certification has gained importance over the last several years as states, utilities and railroads create certification programs.
But what if you can’t afford to “certify” your site?
Simple, you can do your own due diligence as if you were the project. Why? Because site certification was really born out of economic developers not being prepared and knowing their available sites as integrally as they should.
Below is a simple template we use in the early stages of competing due diligence for our private sector clients. And, if you have this information on hand, I’m confident that you’ll save yourself a lot of time the next time your asked to respond to a site selectors RFP.Preliminary Industrial Site Assessment verson 1.3
On Monday (Jan 7, 2019) we presented the Spencer City Council (Spencer, Iowa) with a final draft of their Economic Development Strategic Work Plan. The plan, developed in conjunction with the city’s Grow Spencer Commission, covers a range of economic development initiatives for the next five years. Check out the plan.
In accepting the final plan, the Spencer City Council unanimously approved a resolution to implement the plan.
Council Approves Grow Spencer ED Plan (KCID-FM)