Over the past three years, we’ve seen several universities, schools and foundations make the mistake of pausing their multi-year planning projects because of the pandemic – yet a time that multi-year thinking, and preparing for the “next future” was needed most. Yet leaders of other organizations understood that discipline around strategic planning was more vital than ever, and through virtual and in-person planning activities – which clearly required substantial extra effort for administrators, faculty and staff and stakeholders – they stayed the course with momentum to ensure focus and create clear outcomes.
Their approach was in sync with business analysts, who, during the pandemic, produced data showing that companies that use a long-term planning approach consistently outperform their industry peers. Common characteristics included linking current moves to future outcomes, retooling strategies and futures readiness through scenario planning.
Our clients – leaders of universities, independent schools, institutionally-related foundations and advancement organizations – recognize that adapting smart business thinking to their educational mission is ever more vital. We’re pleased to share several of these projects – along with their strategic plans and websites that describe their goals, objectives, process and progress. While features of their projects are custom to their own needs, what they share is a commitment to a multi-year implementation strategy with dashboards, KPIs and other measures that both track progress and enable their teams to reforecast their plans as conditions change:
And, as the University of Tennessee, Martin (UTM) illustrates – continuing to refresh the plan and adjust to new circumstances is essential to long-term success and viability:
UTM, which created its first five-year strategic plan, Prepare for Takeoff, in 2018, was well-positioned to build on this momentum, take into account the pandemic impacts and refresh this plan in spring 2022. Prepare for Takeoff 2.0 continues that focus for the next five years to ensure the university fulfills its mission, keeps its promise and remains viable, As the refreshed plan explains in the introduction: “Since the creation of the ‘Prepare for Takeoff’ in 2018, we have developed and implemented a strategic enrollment plan and experienced the disruptions from more than two years of Covid-19. Through the refresh process, the UT Martin community celebrated what we’ve accomplished since 2018 and explored new opportunities to pursue over the next three years.”