School Business Affairs May 2019

8 MAY 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS SECTION NAME Much like the 3-3-3 rule of sur- vival for humans—no more than three minutes without oxygen, no more than three days without water, and no more than three weeks with- out food—a strategic plan has a similar 3-3-3 rule: A strategic plan should go no more than three days without at least a short discussion related to progress monitoring, no more than three weeks without lead- ers reviewing the plan in depth to discuss the status of all the Keeping a Strategic Plan Alive A strategic plan is valuable only if it is kept in view at all times. By Perry Soldwedel and Brett Clark, APR S chool districts spend con- siderable time and money creating strategic plans that subsequently die a quick death when school and district per- sonnel shelve them, out of sight and out of mind. Strategic plans get pushed aside for many reasons: • The district leadership changes— especially the superintendent. • The board of education member- ship changes. • The plan is not reported or monitored. • The plan is activity oriented and difficult to measure. • The plan is neither aligned to the budget nor prioritized with adequate resources for implementation. • The plan is not aligned with per- formance accountability. • The plan suffocates from the constant distraction of too many goals, competing priorities and initiatives, and systems that don’t align new initiatives to the current plan. Most leaders know the impor- tance of a strategic plan, but they have little understanding of how to keep one alive once it has been created. A strategic plan should be the administration’s playbook and the basis for administrative meeting agendas. It should be a guide for vet- ting new initiatives and ideas within the system. The challenge, therefore, is not only to create a plan that is overarch- ing, simple, and significant but also to ensure that it flourishes during the first three years after its creation. FORECASTING & PLANNING PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CONSORTIUM FOR EDUCATIONAL CHANGE The district’s strategic plan should be a basis for administrative meeting agendas as well as stakeholder meetings.