We embrace a three-tiered planning architecture and taxonomy to promote top-down and bottom-up approaches to achieving its mission, vision, and values.
DEFINE THE PLAN Strategic Priorities reflect our mission, vision, and values and are farsighted or visionary statements, representing our high-level directions. We created our strategic priorities by asking, “What will we be and where are we going?” and used environmental scanning processes to determine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in response.
Organizational Goals describe our common expectations as an enterprise. They often require a consistent and collective focus across multiple organizational units. We set our organizational goals by asking, “How will we accomplish our strategic priorities?” These Organizational Goals include ideas and information collected through an iterative process at all levels. The comments collected at each step and from every part of the enterprise ensured the widest possible input.
Both strategic priorities and organizational goals should be reviewed at least biennially and monitored by the enterprise.
UNIT PLANNING The second tier of strategic planning, Annual Unit Planning, is the point at which each defined assessment unit aligns and adopts the strategic priorities and organizational goals established by the enterprise. Annual unit planning consists of Unit Goals, Tactics, Measures, and Expected Outcomes. We set our unit goals by asking, “What will we do to help achieve organizational goals?” Most unit goals are developed ‘bottom up’ in that they are defined and refined through a research-based review of assessment results and new information from environmental scanning. Some unit goals can also be established ‘top down’ in that some organizational goals are set at higher administrative levels and are expected to be fulfilled in each assessment unit across the enterprise.
In either approach, assessment units will establish specific tactics by asking “How will we accomplish our goals?” Tactics are defined by the unit leader in conjunction with those responsible for accomplishing the tactic. Each tactic has an associated measure, or measures, used to evaluate quality, responsiveness, and efficiency. Measures may be qualitative or quantitative and are based on normal management processes that are already established or that the unit commits to establishing. To measure the degree of performance across each tactic, expected outcomes are set at threshold (minimum standard of performance expected), target (preferred level of performance), and high performance (exceptional achievement of results). Expected outcomes are aspirational, yet realistic and are expected to be set on nationally normed data or benchmarks, when appropriate.
Where possible, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be established from authoritative sources to help units monitor their progress. To achieve certain tactics, Actions are established to help indicate the day-to-day operations of a unit as defined through standard operating procedures or indicate new activities that require a need to establish and then operationalize, as managed through projects. The enterprise annually reviews and monitors unit goals, tactics, measures, and expected outcomes established through annual planning.
INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE PLANNING The third tier of strategic planning, known as Individual Performance Goals, links the Strategic Plan, unit goals, tactics, and actions to the goals of individuals throughout the enterprise. Individual Performance Goals are included in the Performance Planning and Appraisal process where performance expectations of an individual member of the workforce are established. Individual performance goals are defined by the supervisor in conjunction with the employee. Individual performance goals also have expected outcomes, similar to those in annual unit planning. Each expected outcome is weighted, where all expected outcomes equal 100 percent. These are monitored annually at the assessment unit level, with results of individual performance submitted to Human Resources.
The planning architecture allows all assessment units and individuals in the organization to adopt and align their actions with the strategic priorities and organizational goals of the enterprise. Thus, working together, we can accomplish the mission, vision, and values of the institution.