Stop Planning!

"Strategy as a field may have a lot to offer colleges and universities. Drawing again on the work of a range of strategy thinkers, examples of potentially impactful questions include:

  • What key objectives will best ensure that we fulfill our mission in the foreseeable future?

  • Who are our key audiences and how are their needs and aspirations changing?

  • How is the environment evolving and what does that mean for our competitive advantage?

  • Who are our competitors - both traditional and nontraditional - and in what ways are they competing differently? How might we respond?

  • What do we not do or consider not doing? What are the boundaries of our efforts? What criteria is used to demarcate what is inside and outside those boundaries?

In the end, as Martin and his colleagues suggest, strategy is fundamentally about answering two key questions: 1) Where to play and 2) how to succeed. How well do higher education strategic plans provide answers to those deceptively simple questions?"

-Peter Eckel and Cathy Trower