What turns a vision into reality?

The Last Word


Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:22 am

Larry Witzling  | Principal – GRAEF

Larry Witzling, principal at GRAEF, recently received the American Planning Association’s 2017 National Excellence Award for Planning Pioneers for his work in guiding planning education and theory throughout his career. With some key steps, Witzling says anyone can go from big idea to execution.


“As an urban planner, I have spent 45 years considering ‘what could be.’ Many of these visions have become realities, and surround you as you travel through the region. I’ve learned what makes visions into realities for communities and businesses throughout the state.

See the big picture and the mighty details

“While your vision might largely paint the ‘bigger picture,’ it will not be successful unless you incorporate mighty details. Simple solutions to complex problems rarely exist. As planners, we have to consider the individual, sequential steps it will take to get to the desired end state, and we must consider the multiple stakeholders who need engagement with the overall plan, processes and procedures.

Find the quick win

“You won’t achieve your vision overnight. Prioritize the elements of your vision that will be easiest to implement while having the greatest impact, and get them done. Sometimes, a quick win is all you need to gain the momentum and support you need to create real change.

Know that you don’t know everything

“Know what you know and what you don’t know, and bring people to the table to fill the gaps. Understand that having the vision doesn’t mean you will be the one to execute its every element. Trust the people around you and stitch together their knowledge.

“Creating a vision and making it a reality is no small task, and every situation is different. Be nimble and consider these tips. You’ll be well on your way.”

GRAEF   |  Milwaukee
Industry: Engineering
Employees: 230

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