Strategic Planning Detours
|Vol. 10 No. 7|
When in the process of strategic planning for your school, make it your top priority to stay clearly focused on viability for the future—not on the school’s day-to-day operations. Be particularly wary of the following five detours, which can distract Boards from a strategic focus.
Detour No. 1: Relying heavily on constituent opinion when identifying and prioritizing planning items. What constituents think can matter, but it is often overemphasized. It's better not to use surveys at all for most strategic plans.
Detour No. 2: Emphasizing student programs. It is the role of the School Head, not Trustees, to administer student programs and manage faculty.
Detour No. 3: Becoming preoccupied with what competing schools are doing. The external environment certainly merits awareness, but the Board's strategic emphasis is internal. Make your school strong and distinctive, and market these strengths and distinctions.
Detour No. 4: Placing excess focus on capital items. Like student programs, new or renovated buildings or other large-scale capital improvements can garner too much attention during the strategic planning process. It's the Board's responsibility to identify the full range of strategic variables—concern over capital items can obscure the real problems.
Detour No. 5: Ignoring the cost and impact on tuition levels of noncapital planning items. A strategic plan that lacks two components—the cost of the item and the source of revenue to cover the cost (including any impact on tuition)—becomes no more than a “wish list.”
In strategic planning, keep the emphasis on components that move your school forward—and beware of detours!For more on strategic planning, check out The Strategic Planning Book, available online at the ISM Bookstore. You may also be interested in the upcoming Summer Institute workshop, Strategic Financial Planning: Skills and Implementation.
Additional ISM resources of interest
Additional ISM resources for Consortium Gold Members