Higher Education StrategyEffective strategic planning is vital to success in today’s fiercely competitive and dynamic environment. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is especially true for Higher Education institutions that face a plethora of existential challenges and threats, including but not limited to the following:

Major Challenges

  • Enrollment declines due to lower unemployment rates and growing reluctance of potential students to accumulate debt. Also, the increased availability of e-learning /on-line learning alternatives.
  • Financing (structural budget deficits) driven by enrollment declines, deep cuts in Federal funding & State appropriations, limits on tuition increases, and decreased endowments
  • Integration – of planning, strategy, and transformation capabilities across the institution
  • Poaching of acclaimed professors and researchers

Major Threats

  • Global competition – making new programs, new training and new models of instruction essential
  • Disruptive possibilities – of startups, and alternative education providers
  • Scaling of national universities – primarily due to financial issues
  • Loss of “Stature” – primarily due to poaching

An understanding and appreciation of these critical issues is foundational to the development of an effective strategic plan. Additionally, institutions are best served if these issues are addressed in the context of a disciplined framework.

Our solution and approach support the goals of Higher Education institutions in the following ways:

  • Our Nine Steps to Success framework provides a disciplined, proven approach to developing and executing Balanced Scorecard strategic plans and systems that can encompass critical strategic objectives related to enrollment growth and cost management /control.
  • Our knowledge and appreciation of the major challenges and threats for Higher Education institutions drive the development of plans that are based on an analysis of the most current operating environment
  • Our facilitation and stakeholder input-gathering skills that include surveys, focus groups, 1 on 1 interviews, and DISC Assessments ensure that the process is collaborative and inclusive, engaging broadly and deeply with the diverse set of campus and community stakeholders, and ensures an institutional-level strategic planning process which is vital for success
  • Our approach of starting with high-level strategic themes and intended results, establishing enterprise-level strategic objectives, and cascading these objectives through the institution creates alignment through the tiers of the institution and ensure that all the dots are connected and everyone is on the same page
  • Our expertise in developing KPIs and implementing performance management systems ensures that the right key metrics are established, and performance targets set for assessing progress
  • Our approach promotes Transformation/Change Management and builds it into the strategic thinking process
  • We build a foundation to serve as an effective guide for future decision-making to help the institution realize its many and varied goals, and preserve agility by providing guidance for updates in the future, in light of assessment outcomes and changing conditions
  • The last 3 steps of the Nine Steps to Success framework goes further than most and addresses strategy execution/implementation, and so not only help in defining the path forward but help the institution to operationalize and execute on the strategy to help to achieve success.

The bottom line is that in today’s world a generic strategic plan will not deliver success. Higher Education institutions need to partner with an entity that understands their esoteric issues, has  a disciplined balanced scorecard strategic planning process, does not walk away after plan development but offers help to execute for success, and that has the breadth and depth of experience in this area.

The Balanced Scorecard Institute has consulted to over 400 clients in more than 40 countries worldwide, with successful engagements with Higher Education institutions like the University of Houston Clear Lake, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SUNY Upstate University, Concordia University, Holy Family University, University of Texas, University of the West Indies, and Eastern Gateway Community College. If you would like more information, contact us.

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Robert is a business-driven leader with 20 years of proven success managing, developing and leading business operations, nationally and internationally, that consistently achieved revenue, profitability, market share, customer satisfaction, and retention goals.

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