A Fluid, On-Going Process in Times of Rapid Change

A Fluid, On-Going Process in Times of Rapid Change

The strategic planning process never really ends – it is an ongoing, fluid process.


Well, with the changes occurring at a rapid pace inside and outside your institution, you must be in a constant mode of “gathering and analyzing data, and then generating information and insights that drives recommendations to modify plans to improve performance.”

Those changes impact your institution’s unique strengths and weaknesses, which impacts what can and cannot be done.

And those changes impact the opportunities your institution is pursuing, and the threats your institution must be aware of and prepared for so that the pursuit of those opportunities are successful.

Together, this change can impact your goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics.

From Strategic to Operational to Strategic Again

For some, it’s a monthly process.  For others, quarterly.  Anything less frequent tends to lead to wasted resources – financial, human and technological.

What am I referring to – evaluation of performance to determine what, if any modifications need to be made to the strategic plan.

There is the “Strategic Planning Big Event” that drives the creation of operational plans at the department level.  Then there is the implementation of those operational plans which leads to the  analysis of performance.  Finally, the recommendations from the performance analysis drives appropriate modifications to the strategic plan.

Some calling it ‘working the plan.’

The goal was to become the largest private college in the tri-state area.

The objective was to reach 5,000 full-time student enrollments for the Fall Term, 2019.

The strategy was implementing an aggressive new student recruitment effort targeting high school graduates (Class of 2019) and community college students (graduates from Class of 2019 and transfers) living in the Tri-state area.

And the tactics included:

  • Paid Media
    • Traditional Media: Broadcast, out-of-home, print
    • Digital Media: PPC/SEM, Social Media Ads, Influencer Marketing
  • Owned Media
    • Website, Campus signage, events, email
  • Earned Media
    • Press relations/Local Media Coverage, event sponsorship
  • Social Media
    • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn

There were some highs and some lows during the spring and early summer, but in mid-August it was clear that the goal and objective would not be met so it was back to strategic planning mode.

Is the goal realistic?  Is it achievable?  Has something changed in the market or within the institution since this goal was set that impacts our ability to achieve it?

If the goal remains, what new objective(s) must be put in place, and do we have the proper strategies and tactics mapped out to achieve the new, modified objective?

Do we have the proper resources – financial, human, technological?

With answers to these and other questions that will pop up, it’s back to operational.

Waiting for the next ‘strategic planning big event’ can be harmful to your institution

There are some that will not monitor, analyze and/or modify goals, objectives, strategies and/or tactics that frequently.  They put their heads down and work hard – and when goals go unmet, they promise to work harder.

That’s not good for the well being of your institution.  Change is too fast and furious, it requires an on-going, fluid process that is constantly monitoring changes inside and outside the institution, as well as performance.

Written by

Strategic turnaround consultant and writer.

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