Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 5:57 PM PDT
Today, many of the faculty and staff of the Albers School spent the day off-campus at an all-day strategic planning session. That is right, the Albers School is developing a new strategic plan! Our current plan was finalized in 2010, and while we have refreshed it every year, it needs to be updated. In the meantime, the university finalized a new strategic plan in February, and we need a plan that is informed by the university plan.
Our process includes a 27 member strategic planning team, including faculty, staff, students, advisory board members, and representatives from other parts of campus. We have two facilitators, Mike Diamond and Mark Robison from Academic Leadership Associates, who are doing a fine job of guiding our process. This was our second full day meeting and a final meeting is scheduled for December 6th.
Between meetings we have five committees working on our five strategic objectives, which are around preparing highly demanded graduates, a compelling curriculum, the impact of faculty scholarship, social justice, and business and alumni engagement.
Each committee is charged with developing strategic initiatives that support their strategic objective, and then building out the action items and assigning responsibility and time lines. All this needs to come together by the middle of December and it will!
We have looked at the mission statement and have decided we need to update it. Stay tuned for that!
We have a good track record with strategic planning. Since I started as dean in 2001, this will be our fifth strategic plan. Prior plans were developed in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2010. Some processes have been more elaborate than others, with the first one in 2002 being the most demanding. In fact, Mike Diamond was one of the facilitators for that plan!
What are some of the lessons I have learned about strategic planning? They would be:
- Use an outside facilitator, and definitely do not, as the leader, try to be the facilitator for the process. Also, don't use someone else from the organization as the facilitator. No matter how well respected they are, they have an agenda and a perspective that is hard to overcome.
- Make sure the planning team is widely representative of the organization, and add some people from the outside who can provide a different perspective.
- Communicate with everyone who is not on the planning team about how the plan is shaping up. Do not bring them a finished product that they are seeing for the first time.
- If you, as the leader, have something you definitely want in the strategic plan, get that in the mix early. Do not wait until the end to throw that in.
- Don't be afraid to reach out to people outside the planning team to help out along the way. They will be happy to be included and can make up for competencies the planning team may lack.
Stay tuned for the Albers School's new strategic plan!