Our Strategy Spotlight Finds a Star in Canada

Apr 17, 2014

Strategically positioned north of the Greater Toronto area, The Regional Municipality of York is comprised of nine local municipalities and home to more than 1.1 million residents. It also hosts one of Canada’s largest business clusters and maintains a Regional forest of over 5,600 acres.

The York Region is also an outstanding example of strategic plan performance. In the first quarter of 2014, the York Region ranked first among 800 organizations using the OnStrategy platform in the completion of their goals for creating, tracking and socializing progress.

The excellence in their strategic execution follows best practices that organizations across the industry follow. We learned more from Melloney Williamson, program manager of York’s Region’s 2011 to 2015 Strategic Plan, in how they bridge the gap between strategy and day-to-day operations.

Q: What do you think are the top reason(s) that your strategy efforts are succeeding?

A: It’s about ownership and accountability: Our departments and business units are assigned clear accountability to deliver the 2011 to 2015 Strategic Plan. Each strategic objective, indicator of success and data source has an assigned owner. While effective cross-organizational collaboration remains a key to success, these points of accountability support coordination and delivery.

Q: What are your biggest challenges in staying on track and how are you overcoming them?

A: We work in a continuous improvement culture and are learning as we go. One of the biggest challenges we face in staying on track involve emerging issues that require attention yet were not initially contemplated. To support this challenge we are looking at ways to strengthen the alignment between our strategic, business and financial management processes.

Q: How do you manage the need for change in your strategic plan?

A: The 2011 to 2015 Strategic Plan is considered a “living document”. Regular monitoring and updating of the plan occur and are reported annually to Regional Council. To ensure progress is being made a quarterly strategy review process has been established with the Senior Management Team. These meetings are to review the progress of success indicators and devise plans to ensure those falling behind or requiring resolution receive needed attention.

Q: Of your strategic accomplishments, what are you the most proud of?

A: The collaboration, consensus-building and people working together to deliver the 2011 to 2015 Strategic Plan, as well as the cross-organizational commitment we have to further strengthen our efforts going forward.

The exceptional delivery of progress is matched by the way they communicate the plan to the community. We applaud and congratulate the York Region for modeling how best practices in strategic planning can be applied!
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