Let’s forget about strategies as written documents for a moment and concentrate instead on what it is that we are actually trying to achieve through them. Let us also assume that we have already managed to formulate and agree the high-level mission, vision and core values within our institution.
What we are now looking for are the best ways possible of achieving the following:
- A means for ensuring local (ie, faculty, departmental, team and/or individual) planning is consistent with these high-level strategic objectives and will contribute positively to achieving them
- A means for ensuring that these local units have the resources necessary to make the required progress
- A means for ensuring that disparate local activity is carried out in a consistent and co-ordinated fashion in pursuit of these objectives
- A means for assessing the relative importance and priority of proposed tasks
- A means for agreeing a logical order in which the agreed tasks should be carried out based not only on their relative individual merit, but also on where they must logically occur in relation to other planned tasks
- A means for reviewing and reassessing the relative importance, priority and logical order of tasks in the light of changing circumstances and for these changes to be communicated and co-ordinated across all affected areas
- A means by which the agreed high-level mission, vision and value statements can be reviewed and revised in the light of changing local circumstance, priorities and operating conditions
- A means for ensuring that individual task progress can be measured
- A means for ensuring that overall progress towards the agreed objectives can be measured
- A means for ensuring that the right people within the institution are kept up to date with progress
- A means for ensuring the continued constructive engagement of staff as active and willing participants in the process.
It is clear from this list that mission, vision and values statements alone are not enough to achieve all of the above. They may represent part of the solution, but only as part of a much broader, integrated framework which addresses the following five areas:
- Enabling change
- Engagement and communication
- Monitoring and evaluation.
The rest of this resource is structured around tools and techniques for achieving the first four of these areas.