Freeland/Maguire Strategic Leadership Services (3/4)

Planning

Freeland/Maguire believes colleges, universities, systems and their leaders are well served by having a formal strategic plan that provides a basis for prioritizing organizational work and allocating scarce resources on a year-to-year basis. We also believe it is important to involve members of the campus community in developing the plan in order to achieve the level of commitment needed for effective implementation.

The process of developing a strategic plan needs to be carefully structured and managed to produce a useful result. Too often academic strategic planning exercises involve large numbers of faculty and staff and many committees working over extended periods only to produce outcomes that are so unfocused and generic that they provide limited guidance to executives and little clarity about direction to campus communities.

Given the above, the challenge is to organize a planning process that is sufficiently framed by leadership priorities to give it focus, but also leaves ample room for participating faculty and staff to elaborate, interpret, and extend that vision. There is no one best way to achieve this outcome and individual colleges and universities have different traditions and expectations with respect to the organization of strategic planning activities.

Freeland/Maguire works with campus leaders to both design and carry out strategic planning processes.

With respect to design, we emphasize processes that:

  • reflect the current position and condition of the institution and the aspirations of its leadership;
  • are consistent with campus culture regarding stakeholder participation and the role of governance;
  • are efficient and systematic in moving toward an outcome;
  • produce a useful guide to implementation activities and year-to-year priority setting and resource allocation;
  • identify achievable goals with sufficient specificity that progress can be measured and celebrated;
  • include an implementation plan that identifies organizational changes implied by the new strategy, assigns responsibility for carrying out specific tasks and achieving specific goals to individuals or units, and identifies needed investments;
  • provide for ongoing monitoring of progress toward plan goals. 

With respect to conducting the planning work, Freeland/Maguire can provide leadership directly or support the members of the campus community who are charged to play this role. Members of Freeland/Maguire’s Roster of Experts and its partner organizations are available to support work on particular issues.

See how we can assist you in a customized and strategic approach.