Transitioning to Action
You've come a long way. The data have been collected. The mission and vision are approved.
The work team recommendations are finalized. It is now time to pull all of the strands together. It is often during this phase of the strategic planning process that unresolved issues come to the fore or new ideas emerge. In the case of Salem, although there were six work teams, we knew that, at some point, these would need to be collapsed into a smaller set of priorities that the district and community could more easily hold in its collective head. For this purpose, we designed a series of what we called “action planning” meetings to help prepare the district for the next phase. This stage creates a bridge between planning and implementation.
To support the district as it transitioned into implementation of the plan, we created several planning tools to help prioritize and sequence the activities in the plan, drill down into the steps that need to be taken to turn each goal into a reality, and discuss and understand what can be done with existing funding and what will require new resources.
- Time crunch
Set aside a good chunk of time between the conclusion of the work team meetings and the presentation of the final strategic plan. This last phase of the planning process was the most challenging for us because of time constraints.
- Do your homework
Consult strategic plans from other school districts and non-profit organizations, to get a feel for the variety of formats and elements, and to inform your own decisions. We shared a variety of documents with the Senior Management Team to solicit their preferences, and then put together a rough outline that we felt would best summarize and make transparent the strategic planning process.
Know that no matter how hard you try to keep control of the schedule, there will always be a crunch time as the final version of the plan take shape. Breathe and keep moving forward!