Best Practices

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Institution for question- Albany State University  Albany, Ga

Most successful institutions have a strategic planning process to complement their budget preparation. The strategic plan is the road map for administrators to follow when preparing the operating and capital budgets. Strategic plans can take various forms and often cover a 3–5 year period.

In your Small College Guide to Financial Health: Weathering Turbulent Times text, review Table 8.3 on page 192, “Ten Ways to Avoid Strategic Planning Mistakes,” then address the following:

  • Identify which of the 10 items is practiced best at your institution.
  • Determine which of the 10 items is practiced least at your institution.
  • Explain which of the 10 ways you would like to see change at your institution.

Table 8.3- Ten Ways to Avoid Strategic Planning Mistakes

1. Do the data. Regardless of the demand involved, good data collection is a prerequisite for good strategy.

2. Involve critical segments of the college. Instruction, student services, and finance departments must interact.

3. Be realistic about goals. A poor or invisible college cannot become a Cinderella overnight.

4. Find alternatives, and test them. Explore ways beyond the obvious, resisting the urge to implement the first plan that comes to mind.

5. Make managers accountable for carrying out the plan. Passing the buck will impoverish the strategy. 

6. Measure performance. Objectives must be measurable and benchmarked to good practices.

7. Monitor progress. Assume nothing. Establish formal monitoring systems.

8. Review and revise regularly. Annual strategic review meetings should be supplemented as necessary throughout the year.

9. Support the plan with policies and procedures. A toothless plan is a worthless plan.

10. Include options in the plan. Allow for the unexpected by keeping viable alternatives handy. There’s more than one way to skin a strategy.

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