Strategies to Transform the Institution 

Achieving Organizational Excellence

Institutions practicing business as usual or cautious incrementalism will fall farther and farther behind those institutions seeking to reinvent or transform themselves. In the higher education marketplace of the future, strategic plans will be necessary to establish national or global reputations, achieve recognition as leading-edge institutions, or foster innovation and excellence throughout the organization. 

The anticipated outcomes of our strategic planning process include:

  •     Transformational goals with clear and sound strategies for achieving them
  •     Visionary, united, and focused senior leadership team
  •     Departmental and unit level plans fully aligned with the institutional strategic plan
  •     More control over enrollment goals – size and shape of the entering students,  improved retention and graduation rates
  •     Increased revenue and resources
  •     More student-friendly environment with improved services and quality of campus life
  •     Greater potential to attract and retain high quality students, faculty, and staff
  •     Improved leadership at the top and throughout the organization
  •     Improved communication, collaboration, and teamwork throughout the institution
  •     A more action-oriented culture
  •     Increased opportunity for innovation, recognition, and rewards
  •     Improved morale and trust  

Preparing to Plan

Our Four Steps in More Detail 

Preparing for change

We form a Data Collection Team to conduct an environmental scan and a SWOT analysis that identifies institutional strengths and weaknesses and environmental opportunities and threats. Using our own survey instrument, we conduct an organizational assessment to help us understand the institution’s attitudes toward change and its internal readiness to plan.  All of this information is incorporated in a Situation Analysis that presents the brutal realities facing the institution, provides a context for planning, and builds commitment to change.


Preparing leaders

Strong leadership at all levels of the organization is the key to achieving and sustaining lasting change. We provide leadership development and training in change management, help in team-building, and support for designing an ongoing process to train and develop leaders at all levels of the organization.


Designing the planning process

This step in the process is where important decisions are made that personalize and institutionalize the strategic planning process to your organization.  Who should be involved at each stage of the planning process?  What will be the structure for planning that affords ample opportunity for involvement and encourages institution-wide buy-in and commitment, yet keeps the process moving?  What will the planning document look like?  What is a goal, an objective, a strategy, a tactic?  What will be the planning timeline?  We promote a goals down/plans up model of planning.  Will this work for you?  It will be important to design a process that closes the chronic gap between strategy formulation and strategy implementation which turns too many strategic plans into documents collecting dust on a shelf.


From preparation to planning

The culmination of Preparing to Plan is a workshop for campus leaders designed to serve as the transition to formal strategic planning. Selected campus leaders make formal presentations of all background data and information, the environmental scan, the organizational assessment, and the Situation Analysis.  The consultants facilitate discussions of the compelling reasons for change and brainstorming sessions regarding the possible strategic options available. This workshop serves as a forum for explaining the strategic planning process and timetable and for forming key planning assumptions that will guide goal-setting and strategy formulation. 


Developing the Plan

Our Two Steps in More Detail

Setting strategic goals and formulating key strategies

We begin with a review and affirmation or possible revision of the institutional mission, followed by the development of a clear vision statement describing what the institution aspires to be in five or more years. We also facilitate a discussion of the core values that serve to guide organizational behavior. The planning group identifies the top strategic goals that will be achieved in the next five years and formulates the key strategies that will ensure their achievement.  

We apply the 80/20 Rule to strategic planning. Eighty percent (80%) of the success of the strategic plan will be derived from 20% of the institution’s effort. The key strategies represent that 20%. The key to successful strategic planning is to identify a limited number of goals and strategies that enable the institution to focus its time and resources. But, those goals and strategies must be the most essential in transforming the organization.

Once the strategic goals and key strategies have been drafted, they must be communicated throughout the organization and the various constituents must be invited to comment and contribute before the strategic plan can be revised and pushed down to the department or unit level.

Developing departmental or unit level plans

Once the planning team has incorporated feedback on the strategic plan draft, it is distributed throughout the organization and we facilitate a round of departmental planning that aligns unit level goals and strategies with institutional strategic goals and strategies. We consider this the most important step in the planning process, since it is at the unit level that the strategic plan becomes reality. 


Executing the Strategic Plan

Our Two Steps in More Detail

Transitioning from planning to implementation

The best strategic plan will fail if it is not implemented fully and effectively. To ensure an effective transition from planning to execution, we work with a Strategy Management Team to:

  •     Create and manage scorecards
  •     Link and align all parts of the organization
  •     Knock down silos
  •     Provide a forum for strategic review and development
  •     Communicate goals and strategy
  •     Manage strategic initiatives not owned by a department
  •     Integrate strategies with support functions (finance, HR etc)

Implementing the plan

In the end, eliminating the gap between strategy formulation and strategy execution requires a sustained commitment from leaders at all levels of the organization. Leading the change process, managing plan implementation at the departmental and unit level, and monitoring and evaluating progress toward goals should occupy a significant portion of people’s time throughout the organization. Since planning is a process and not an event, the strategic plan should be treated as a dynamic document subject to annual review and revision based on results and changes in the internal and external environment. 

For more information about our services or to schedule a time to talk, please use our contact form or call us at (303) 902-7250. You can also email us at