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The Planning Commission at Work

Making Change Happen

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Making change happen is a fundamental planning commission responsibility. A reading of state enabling authority governing planning commission activities clearly establishes that planning commissions are to actively plan for the future, in addition to meeting the needs of the moment. In light of this mandate, planning commissions need to identify strategies that will enable change and the process of change management to become a viable part of the planning process.

One strategy planning commissions might consider involves placing a specific statement or goal in the comprehensive plan that values the management of change in much the same way that efficiency, responsiveness, and accountability are valued. When a philosophy of change becomes ingrained, it helps create a climate that supports and encourages planned change.

Introducing change can be very much like playing the children’s game of “crack the whip.” Perhaps you know the game. Everyone is on either ice or roller skates. To play the game, the children form a long line and hold on to whoever is in front of them. The person at one end of the line pulls hard in a particular direction. This starts a motion that increases in velocity until the last person on the opposite end of the line is propelled or “whipped” for a distance at a considerable speed. Note that the person who started the whip in motion is finished moving long before the final effect is carried to the end of the line. The point is that after change is first introduced there may well be lag time before its outcome takes hold. …

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