Clarity of purpose, institutional integrity, and strategic action occur more naturally when organizational strategy comes before other considerations. To that end, The Unity College Strategic Plan adopts several planning, decision-making, and prioritization tools. These tools are designed to help facilitate singularity of purpose, efficiency of action, and ease of decision making.
The first step in the process, the Proposal Phase, requires a high-level outline of the opportunities presented by a potential initiative. Proposals identify key elements of the opportunity, allowing senior leaders to quickly screen ideas for strategy alignment.
1. Current State – A very brief background of the current situation and factors that might help or hinder our efforts and enable us to set realistic goals.
2. Desired Future State – A brief overview of the initiative and its value to the college, what audience would be served and how. This section includes preliminary goals and measurable outcomes.
3. Internal Resources Needed – A list of internal and external (new and reallocated) resources necessary, including Human, Physical, Fiscal, and Technological.
4. Known Risk Factors – A brief outline of risk factors for the initiative, including scale of the opportunity, potential partners, and legal considerations.
5. Action Items & KPIs – A list of major actions that must be done to support the project goals listed, with specific key performance indicators.
A responsive and iterative approach to strategic planning requires prior agreement on principles by which any new idea may be efficiently assessed. A Strategy Screen is a set of criteria the college uses to choose whether or not a particular initiative is consistent with the college identity and strategic direction (see Strategy Screen matrix in The Unity College Strategic Plan Tools for Planning and Strategic Plan Implementation).
The decision-making paradigm is designed as an articulation of college priorities to be applied during the decision-making process. When a choice must be made between competing alternatives, deference is given to elements of greater priority. Unity College prioritizes service to audience over all else. Programs and products are designed to meet needed outcomes. Unity College is modality agnostic, meaning we will engage any approach to program or product that meets the mission, serves the audience, and helps provide for the long-term sustainability of the institution (see Decision-Making Paradigm and Glossary in the Unity College Strategic Plan Tools for Planning and Strategic Plan Implementation).
Initiative Implementation Plan
Each Initiative selected for implementation will be executed using the Unity College Initiative Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan helps executors identify roles, resources, needs, goals, and accountability measures. It allows college leadership to plan appropriately for likely contingencies and understand decision tradeoffs and implications more thoroughly. A standardized project implementation plan leads to more time spent on innovation and implementation and less time on process and gaining clarity (see Initiative Implementation Plan in the Unity College Strategic Plan Tools for Planning and Strategic Plan Implementation).
Tools for Strategic Plan Management
A new approach to strategic planning requires a new set of tools. The Unity College Strategic Plan provides several newly formulated tools for planning and management:
Internal Communication Plan
A key to the success of Building a Beacon was its transparent and inclusive development and communication plan. College-wide feedback sessions, careful documentation of progress and process, and a precise and clearly communicated calendar of the strategic plan process provided a strong foundation for ongoing success. Unity College’s new strategic plan development process likewise necessitated clear and thorough internal communication (see the Strategic Plan Development timeline).
Strategic Plan Management Protocols
A new approach to strategic planning requires a new approach to plan adoption, adjustment, management, reporting, and publication (see Strategic Plan Management Protocols in the Unity College Strategic Plan Tools for Planning and Strategic Plan Implementation).