Common Sense—Uncommon Leadership

A Strategic Plan For A Better Toledo.

Without a clear and actionable strategy, it would be difficult to stay in the mindset to Rethink City Government, Rebuild Our Neighborhoods, or Restore Confidence in the Glass City. That's why I am proud so proud of this strategic plan which serves as a road map of our commitment to Rethink, Rebuild and Restore. Our plan is very straight-forward. You can download a PDF on the right for better readability. I want to thank Tedd Long from North Shore Strategy for his tremendous help in crafting this document. Let me take you through it.


To understand the big picture, the plan is best read from bottom to top, left to right. The bottom third represents the vision and values that will guide our approach. That’s why it’s at the bottom, this is what grounds us. It’s what holds everything else up. You’ll notice it includes our brand promise and how we’ll measure our progress on delivering on that promise.

I know what some of you are thinking, “A brand promise? Why a brand promise?” The answer is simple; CEO’s manage their brands. They understand their brand. They create aspiring narratives about their brand promise that resonate with the people they want to attract. And they understand how to deliver on their value propositions. It works in business and will work in government.

Let there be no doubt, we will measure our progress by how we deliver on the promise to be an affordable, vibrant and safe place to live, work and play—where our citizens are the top priority.


The middle section of the plan is our framework for focusing on strengths, minimizing threats and taking the greatest possible advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us. This is based on a SWOT analysis, a business method that’s been around since the 1960’s and used by successful businesses, nonprofit groups and progressive cities all over the world.


The top third of the plan is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we have outlined our mission, areas of focus and as you move from left to right, the key thrusts and actions needed to attain successes. We’ve also outlined our Key Performance Indicators or goals. We’ll use these to measure our progress. After all, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. As Churchill said, However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Calibration is a very important aspect to executing a successful strategic plan. So I will work with the Executive Branch to make sure components can be worked through the system for the benefit of everyone.

You know, Pat Summitt, the great women’s basketball coach from the University of Tennessee once said, "Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have."

Under our current strong mayor form of government, the mayor is ultimately responsible for every decision and action of every member of his or her staff. Having said this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that responsibility and accountability are two of the most important overarching themes of my work as a councilman. It should be like that with every politician. But here’s the key, you cannot have accountability, responsibility and, according to Pat Summitt’s equation, ownership without a plan that everyone can understand and act on. 

I look forward to using this strategic plan as a shared compass to guide us all to Rethink, Rebuild and Restore our great city.

Tom Waniewski

< Back to Tom's Strategy