A hitchhiker’s guide to strategic
Doug Ballor, Ph.D.
Bates Technical College
Objectives of talk
• Share insights into why Strategic Plans
aren’t integral parts of college activities.
• Present “tips” on how to make Strategic
Plans livable documents.
• Show a scheme that works for developing a
• Facilitated discussion (sharing what works)
Faculty’s Agenda President’s Agenda
What is a Strategic Plan?
What should it do?
What are some common
problems with Strategic Plans?
(Approved annually by
Board of Trustees)
Strategic Plan &Goals
(Approved by Board in 2003 and
(Developed jointly by the
President and the Board)
Department & Program
Assessment Plans (VPs monitor completion / compliance)
(Assessment Committee approves
and tracks plan completion)
Approved by the Bates Technical College Board of Trustees
Deliver exemplary competency-based education that meets
the diverse needs of students and the community.
Ensure continuing education and life long learning offerings meet the
changing needs of our customers.
Sub – Objectives
• All continuing education and life long learning offerings in the college will have
student assessments at the end of the learning period (initial target date June 2004,
evaluating annually thereafter).
• Continuing education and lifelong learning student funded and contract training
enrollments will increase by five percent annually over the next five years (end date
• Revenues from contracted services to international clients will exceed $15,000 (target
date June 2006).
Key Features of Bates Plan
• Goals are specific (and testable)
• Sub-objectives are “real” tasks that will make us
better (this is the action part of the plan)
• Each sub-objective has a measurable target, a
completion date, and an accountable person
• A five year plan that is updated annually and
linked with the other processes in the College
Bates Planning Timeline
• 1998 Back to the future long range plan
• 2000 Develop College Goals
• 2001 Strategic Planning Retreat
• 2002 Strategic Planning Retreat #2
• 2003 VP’s meet and develop Strategic Plan
• 2003 Northwest “recommendation”
• 2005 January – Strategic Planning Retreat #3
• 2005 January March - Small group develops goals
• 2005 October Objective Critique Retreat
Tips to a viable Strategic Plan
• Base Strategic Plan on College Goals.
• Must reflect actual practice. It’s easier to
change a plan than a culture.
• Involve key administrators in its
development (make them do it).
• Allow everyone to participate.
• SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable,
• Owned by All
Managing the process
(Letting go while keeping control)
1. Have a small group draft a set of college goals /
2. Allow the entire college to critique draft at a retreat.
3. A small representative group takes the feedback and
further revises the goals.
4. Put revised set of goals out for comment, revise as
necessary, and have one last college wide retreat.
• 9:00 AM: Intro from President
• 9:15 AM: Review 1st chosen goal
• 10:15 AM: Break
• 10:30 AM: Review 2nd chosen goal
• 11:30 AM: Lunch
• 12:30 PM: Report out, discussion & feedback
• 2:00 PM: Closing remarks by President
Getting Everyone Involved
• Need college structure that encourages participation by all
(Strategic Planning Council, Assessment Committee)
• People need to feel that their input is valued
• Be sensitive to power dynamics (remind administrators to
actively listen, use faculty and staff as facilitators)
• Involve all groups in the writing of the Strategic Plan
Tips from others
• Now it’s your turn