Strategic Plan Development



Cabarrus County FY25 Strategy Recommendations and Feedback Report

Cabarrus County has a clear path for its new strategic journey thanks to the work and dedication of five employee-led Goal Area Task Forces and a Values Ambassador group. 

After the Board of Commissioners approved the strategic plan framework in September 2023, staff at all levels and across the organization started working on the best ideas to make progress toward the County’s new vision. In the months that followed, teams researched and discussed ideas, then narrowed the long list of possibilities to a few realistic, beneficial concepts. For each idea, they developed a proposed timeline and set of measures. 

To help gauge support for the various resources and capital required to implement the ideas, task force and ambassador group members pitched their well-defined concepts to County management, frontline staff reviewers and County Commissioners Chair Steve Morris and Chris Measmer in April 2024. 

In early May, County Manager Mike Downs and his leadership team discussed and evaluated each idea, considering the people, funding and time needed to make them happen. They also weighed how well it aligned with the County’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which begins July 1, 2024.
 The County operates within a limited and conservative budget. While all the ideas would make progress on the goal, management prioritized ideas that departments could move forward without additional funding. They determined some ideas were better suited for outside agencies to lead with County support and others require time or resources that exceed current organizational capacity.
A newly published FY25 Strategy Recommendation and Feedback report shares the County Manager’s recommendations, a summary of the leadership discussion and frontline reviewer inputs. It also includes the complete April 29 presentation with each task force and ambassador group recommendation.


Why does the County need a strategic plan?

Let’s talk about the importance of a strategic plan and mission and vision statements.

  • strategic plan helps identify important issues in our community and organization and provides a path to addressing those issues.
  • mission statement identifies what, how and why we do what we do.
  • vision statement is aspirational—it defines how we will achieve our goals.

VIDEO: Strategy Team introduces the idea of a new strategic plan to commissioners

Building the strategy

If you walked into the Arena and Events Center in February 2023 looking for the Board’s FY24 Planning Retreat, you may have been surprised to hear waves of laughter fill the Cabarrus Rooms. The Board of Commissioners and County leaders were all-in as they came up with their most creative and daring ideas for the future of the County.

The event was a kickoff for the County’s next strategic planning process.

The last plan was adopted in late 2019—just before COVID-19 and economic factors impacted our community and changed nearly every aspect of our work.

In January 2023, Commissioners unanimously approved working with Centralina Regional Council (Centralina) to develop a board-guided strategic plan that sets priorities and provides a framework for future business operations.

Centralina began the planning process in February 2023 with a review the 2022 Community Survey and Workplace Climate Survey findings, interviews with Board members, County management and a survey sent to department heads. Their inputs gave Centralina an idea of what a strategic plan means to our organization, what about the last plan did or didn’t work and what would be needed to successfully design and implement a new plan that moves us forward.

From there, The Strategic Plan Core Team (a small group of employees with varying levels of experience and roles in the County) collaborated with department heads, the Board of Commissioners and Centralina Regional Council to develop the mission and vision. These concepts will be presented to the public in September. 

The Strategy Team has incorporated employee and public feedback in the process by:

  • Using the Workplace and Community survey findings as the foundation for the plan
  • Hosting workshops with County department heads and managers, departments, Gov. 101 participants and ARPA-funded organization leaders
  • Facilitating small group and one-on-one conversations
  • Leaning on an advisory Core Team of cross-County employees

Defining the vision, mission, goals and strategies
Once the County Board and staff drafted a new vision, mission and goals for the organization, it was time to develop strategies to accomplish the goals. To get that done, the Strategy Team held 26 in-person and one online workshop where they engaged with hundreds County employees to brainstorm big ways their departments and the organization as a whole can accomplish the strategic plan goals. Those big ideas were turned into top strategies that reflect the ideas from staff across all levels of the organization.

In July 2023, Centralina facilitated a final workshop for department heads and managers across multiple departments to review the draft strategies submitted by County employees. Centralina prompted managers to react to the strategies and assess the feasibility of each. The workshop provided an opportunity to understand potential barriers as well as the support needed to accomplish the strategies. Ultimately, staff prioritized draft strategies based on where we as an organization can do the most good. After final revisions were made, County leadership reviewed each goal and strategy, and gave final input before they were presented to the Board of Commissioners.

Presenting the plan

The Strategy Team presented the final plan to commissioners at the September Work Session. It was placed on the September Regular Meeting as a Consent Agenda item.

VIDEO: Strategy Team presents its strategic plan recommendation to commissioners

Browse the 2023 Strategic Plan Presentation PowerPoint(PDF, 4MB)

Developing Strategic Business Plans

In alignment with the FY25 budget process, the task forces and ambassador groups presented their employee-generated ideas to management in April 2024. The staff recommendations emphasized the importance of internal understanding, support and accountability. Their creativity produced solutions that move the County toward more effective and impactful service delivery without the need for budgetary expansion in FY25.

The task forces and ambassador group will meet quarterly to monitor progress and make adjustments. They will offer annual directional and budgetary recommendations.

Begging in Fall of 2024, the County will post dashboards that show progress being made on the strategy's business plans.

Strategy process recap

  • January: Research/planning (staff and community inputs); formed Core Team for ongoing feedback
  • February: Kickoff with BOC (1) and leadership
  • March: BOC feedback on mission/vision (2); leadership goal work
  • April: Staff presentations; finalize vision/mission
  • May: BOC Endorsement of vision/mission (3); staff pulse survey; community input (ARPA, Gov 101)
  • June: Staff feedback on goals and strategies (surveys, discussions, workshops), staff values exercise
  • July: Staff inputs on strategies, impact metrics and values; revisions to strategies and metrics
  • August: BOC feedback (4), final adjustments
  • September-January: Plan launch
  • October: Task force creation and planning for alignment with FY25 budget
  • Spring 2024: Business plan development
  • July 2024: Fully aligned plan and budget


For questions, feedback or comments on the strategic planning process, contact Strategy Manager Kasia Thompson.