Strategic management is focused on guiding an institution in developing a sense of purpose, directions, and ways of achieving various goals. All institutions need some form of strategic management, whether it involves developing this from scratch or modifying a pre-existing one. The process of strategic management is broken down into the bullets below.
- Vision and mission
- Strategic analysis
- Objectives development
- Strategy development
- Implementation strategies
These bullets above are part of a strategy cycle, and as such, there is no true step 1. Institutions must go through each of these steps depending on where they are in the process. In addition, this process is similar to the process that schools go through to achieve and or maintain accreditation.
School Vision and Mission
Schools should have both a vision and a mission statement. The vision statement shares what the institution to achieve. What is missing from a vision statement are details on the strategy to achieve whatever the vision is. To simplify, a vision statement tries to explain why a school is in service or exists. Below is an example of a vision statement of a fictional school
To train students for tomorrow.
The vision above is vague but provides a general sense of direction for the school.
The mission statement provides details that are missing from the vision statement. The mission statement explains or provides how the vision statement will be achieved. IT’s still broad but not as broad as the vision statement. Below is an example that extended the fictional school’s vision statement above.
This school will provide students with interacting and engaging learning experiences that develop a child’s character’s social, emotional, and intellectual aspects.
The mission statement above provides hints as to how the vision will be achieved. Students will experience interactive and engaging experiences that develop their character. More details about what these experiences will be are provided in the objective stage of strategic management.
The strategic analysis examines the external and internal environment that the school is experiencing. This could involve looking at the local community and potential sources for students for the external analysis. For the internal analysis, a school may collect statistics on faculty, staff, and students on various metrics. Common ways of completing this stage can involve a SWOT analysis, PESTEL, or Porter’s 5 forces.
This analysis aims to establish the context in which the school is functioning. For new schools, this provides insights into the community that the school may not be aware of. For older schools who are repeating this process, the strategic analysis helps the school to keep abreast of changing demographics and culture both within and outside of the institution.
The process explained here is incomplete and only covers two of several steps in strategic management. For now, the point is to understand the importance of developing a vision and mission and exploring the context in which a school works.