Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Think Big: Loose-Tight Strategic Plans Matter

We often waste money and time by not having a strategic plan.

For a simple example as I clean up around my house, I realize that in the early years we spent money on a number of items we certainly could have lived without. If we had a better strategic plan, we would not have purchased those items, and instead saved the money for more valuable purchases and events.

The same is true for schools and other organizations. When there's no strategic plan, it's likely that money is wasted. Strategic plans matter.

For example in the school system where I work, the elementary schools are getting quite dated. Money is continually spent to update those schools. If we look at our schools with a strategic plan, is it in our best interest to continually update these buildings or is it better to hold off on updates and think about a new elementary school campus for the town. I'm not sure what the right direction is, but I think a strategic 10-year plan is important in this regard.

Some may debate the need for a strategic plan with the idea that too-tight planning leaves little room to respond to new ideas, needs and innovation. That's why I use the title "loose-tight" since it's important that strategic plans have room for change and movement similar to the way buildings are designed and built in earthquake zones--there's room for movement and change.

Even in my own life, I have a strategic plan--a 10-year outlook at where might life may move and where I'd like it to move. That helps me to hold off on spending money on some items in order to have money and time for items deemed more important to me and my family.

Does your school system have a strategic plan? Did your system use an inclusive process for this plan? Is the strategic plan transparently posted, and is there a regular routine of checking in to evaluate and revise/enrich the plan?

I'm happy to hear that our new superintendent is working with others to create a long term plan. I'm excited to be apart of this process in the days to come.