Bring your Strategic Plan to Life, Increasing Employee Engagement and Accountability

The Town of Sahuarita, Arizona, has transformed the way they align, track and report on their strategic plan to work towards a common goal.

ARTICLE | Mar 6, 2017

Sahuarita is a town of 27,000 in Southern Arizona that was experiencing a lack of connection with the work they do and their strategic plan. They needed a way to align their work with their goals, streamline their tracking and reporting process and provide visibility on progress to staff and council.

One of the challenges faced by Sahuarita was the method in which they were tracking and monitoring their strategic plan progress. Their use of various static tools, spreadsheets, and memos across departments made it difficult for managers to gain a realistic perception of how much progress was being made towards the achievement of their plan. Sahuarita’s management team was frustrated with a lack of continuity of the sharing and tracking of information between departments. Employees were working in departmental siloes without a clear understanding of how their efforts were contributing to the achievement of their overall strategic plan.

The lack of alignment between their strategic goals and the daily work of employees was a barrier which prevented Sahuarita from operationalizing their strategic plan to its full potential.

With a determination to improve their reporting process, Sahuarita sought a streamlined solution for aligning their department plans with their strategic plan for optimal performance. Their key goals for the solution included:

  • A user-friendly interface
  • The ability to align staff’s work with Sahuarita’s strategic plan
  • Simplified reporting for staff and council
  • Capacity for increased transparency to the public

To achieve these goals, it would require a powerful and easy-to-use software. After investigating her options, Teri Bankhead, Assistant to the Town Manager, says Envisio emerged as the best solution specific to strategic planning.

In the past, employees at the Town struggled to provide consistent and regular progress updates on their work. When it came time to put together a detailed report for Council on the achievement towards the Town’s goals, it was an onerous and time-consuming process of contacting various departments and reviewing spreadsheets and memos to obtain the updated progress and performance status. Progress tracking was decentralized and fragmented, which made it difficult to gain an accurate picture of achievement towards any goal. Now employees at every level of the organization easily track and monitor progress on their plan with greater consistency than ever before. Dashboards and easy updating capability make it easy for progress to be kept current” says Bankhead. With a single, cloud-based platform, employees can provide status updates in real-time, and managers are kept apprised with contemporary information to effectively support decision making. Reporting on progress is now a much less onerous and time-consuming experience throughout the organization.

Tracking progress at every level of the organization has meant that Sahuarita can now gain true insight into their performance as a whole. All progress reported by employees throughout the organization rolls up and is visualized with specific dashboards. Managers customize their dashboards to show the operational and strategic responsibilities relevant to them. This allows them to generate individual, departmental or organization-wide reports with ease.

“Employees are more aware of the need to track their work more closely in relation to the Town's goals and strategic plan. It requires them to pay more attention and to update their actions in a more timely manner versus trying to remember and recreate from months prior,” said Bankhead.

Bankhead recognizes the importance of communicating how your strategic plan comes to life from the ground-up with a holistic perspective. The software helps staff at Sahuarita better visualize how their strategic plan goals cascade down to operational tasks with responsibilities and timelines. Employees at every level share the priority of connecting their daily tasks to the achievement of their Strategic Plan. “For Sahuarita, this is an important foundation in understanding why the software is being used; how it can save time in the long-run and how the entire organization works together toward a common goal," said Bankhead.

A Customer Success team worked with Bankhead and her team to collect and align department plans with their strategic plan, configure the software according to Sahuarita’s requirements and populate the plan with data. Within two and a half months, all users were trained and entering their updates.

“The initial framework was very easy as the Envisio staff programmed it to our specs and were very interactive and responsive. We are still working through idiosyncrasies within the program and continue to learn new ways. It has been a very easy program to work with to this point,” said Bankhead.

The Town of Sahuarita has implemented the straightforward and centralized solution they were looking for. Gone are the days of inconsistent and delayed progress updates in varying formats. Their once static and disconnected operations have evolved to become dynamic, collaborative and transparent. The software team has helped the Town of Sahuarita to make their overall strategic plan a priority, and ensure that any task assigned to and completed by staff is clearly connected to the top-level objective it supports. This has helped staff to be more engaged with the success of the organization, and more accountable to the specific contributions they make.

“[Envisio] has brought awareness and stressed the importance that what we do every day is not in a silo and is directly tied to our overall strategic plan.” – Teri Bankhead, Assistant to the Town Manager.

About the Author

Founded in 2012, Envisio is the leading cloud-based Strategy Implementation, Performance Management and Reporting solution for small to mid-size local governments, including the City of Scottsdale, the City of Decatur, the City of Moreno Valley and Gaston County.

To learn how Envisio can help your local government provide a streamlined solution to align, track and report on the progress of your strategic plan email us at, call us at 1.888.371.4800 or visit our website.

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