Strategy is the Art of Choice and Sacrifice

Strategy is the art of choice and sacrifice.  In other words, if everything is important, then really nothing is important.  But, how do you make sound strategic choices?  And, what factors should you use?  There are actually four essential factors that a non-profit might use to make choice among a series of strategic initiatives.  It is all about sound strategic rationale and criteria.

So, why should one priority show up in your strategic plan, while another was pushed aside by the steering committee?  Creating the proper rationale for doing anything strategic is something that many schools and colleges struggle with during planning processes.  As a result, we have found that focusing on at least one or more critical parameters that a strategic priority must address can help focus your plan on the most important goals.  Here they are in no particular order.

Missional Mandate
A strategic goal must be in the plan because your mission mandates it, regardless of marketplace or revenue opportunities. 

Competitive Imperative
The competitive environment dictates this priority if your school or college wishes to remain competitive.

Revenue Driver
our school or college can make revenue in this venture.

Element of Distinction
Adding a specific strategic goal will make your school or college more distinctive in the marketplace of sameness.  

Make sure your priorities are grounded in at least one, if not more, than each of these parameters.  Balance is also important.  It is not helpful to have a handful of initiatives that all meet missional mandates, or only a set of initiatives that drive revenue.  Balance across these four priorities helps keep a strategic plan balanced.