Strategic Planning is tough.
Strategic goals are not short term, nor are they what might be called ‘operational’ or ‘institutional’. Forgive me; I do not intend to go word crazy so early on a Monday. All the same, leadership, like any well-studied discipline, has nuanced words that have layers of meaning.
“Replace worn out whiteboards in the three worst classrooms” would not be strategic. On the other hand, “Develop an institution-wide commitment to outstanding educational facilities” might be strategic. The result might be quite similar, but there is a higher purpose to strategic thinking.
In strategic thinking, for example, you might lose a battle to win a war. I do hasten to reassure everyone I don’t intend to throw a battle anytime soon, I simply want to explain that strategic planning happens at the twenty to thirty thousand foot mark rather than the five thousand mark.
Of course, a strategic plan isn’t worth the paper it is written on if it does not eventually get institutionalised by the folks on the ground.
So, I stand by my opening thoughts: Strategic Planning is tough and involves layers of meaning.
Strategic planning is like an ogre maybe.
This is where the Strategic Planning Practices Resource Team – SuPPoRT – comes into play. Working with employees from all over campus along with our Administrative Council, we went through eighteen revisions of a set of guiding questions. Answering these questions help our campus understand, from strategic planning teams to curious onlookers, how to create, build, and implement a successful strategic plan.
As you read, watch, or work on our strategic plan, think about the answers to these questions. Of course, if you have questions about these questions, do not be shy about calling x2468 anytime.
- Does this plan leverage existing capabilities innovatively and effectively?
- Does this plan incorporate external research adjusted to our unique needs?
- Is there clear evidence the plan is well-researched with a current literature search?
- Is expected impact thoroughly defined with measurable standards?
- Is there clear evidence this plan ties to VC goals and mission?
- Is there a clear case these activities will improve relevant key performance indicators?
- Are the resources required (e.g. monies, employees, facilities) specified?
- Is the estimated lifecycle of these activities specified?
- Have key stakeholders been identified, informed, and brought into partnership?