A prior post began a discussion about strategic management for administrators. There are about six steps in this process, which are shared below.
- Vision and mission
- Strategic analysis
- Goal development
- Strategy development
- Implementation strategies
The first two bullets were addressed previously. Now we will continue the discussion focusing on goal development.
Goals Development and Strategic Levels
Strategic goals are broad goals that involve the big-picture of the goals of the institution. Generally, these goals are performance-oriented. For example, a school may set a goal to boost academic performance among its students.
There are also different levels at which objectives can be set. This will vary from place to place, but an institution can have levels at the following as an example
We will not go over all of these for the sack of time. A teacher may set goals for individual students, particularly those struggling. These can be behavioral, academic, or some other focus the teacher is working on with the student. For example, a teacher may set a goal with a student that the student will improve their math performance. This is vague enough to be a goal but also gives the student some to work on.
The idea above applies to all the other levels. The main difference is that the number of stakeholders increases, which necessitates that the goals become broader in nature as they try to encompass more people. In addition, different people are involved in setting goals at different levels. For example, teachers will probably set goals at the student, class, department, and grade level. Administrators will begin to set goals at the school level to the district level, and politicians and government bureaucrats will set goals at the city level and beyond.
One method for developing goals is the SMART framework. The SMART framework is an acronym that means
- Specific-Goals should be understandable.
- Measurable-There should be a way to tell if you are achieving them.
- Achievable-It should be possible within the context to accomplish a goal.
- Relevant-The goal should be relevant to the mission of the institution and, or to the level of strategy the goal is under
- Time-Bound-There should be a limit on the time it takes to achieve a goal.
Whether or not a goal meets the criteria above is subjective, but an example of a smart goal is below.
The school will raise academic performance in reading comprehension on average by one grade level at the end of two years.
The goal above is specific, as you can tell what needs to be done. It is measurable because the metric is the average reading comprehension score. The score is achievable as students have plenty of time to improve. It is relevant to the mission of most schools, and the objective is time-bound as it states that this will take two years to complete.
Planning and strategy development is difficult to do. There are many moving parts, and it is hard to determine what needs to be achieved. However, a basic process can be adopted to guide the development of goals and for planning that can hopefully make this easier.