Strategic Planning vs Wishing on a Star


Since the last time I posted to this blog (which was far too long ago…sorry), I have been eyeball deep in strategic planning around a variety of Youth Transition issues. In particular, I have spent much of my time during the last few months drafting and refining a strategic plan designed to increase the number of opportunities that students with intellectual disabilities have to participate in fully inclusive college experiences in Utah. This has been a fascinating process, meeting with all of the different stakeholders, trying to get a sense of what is already available and what people and agencies are already doing in this area, figuring out what barriers exist and coming up with strategic goals that will help all of the stakeholders take the next step forward so that we can see measurable change.

Strategic Planning can be a messy and time consuming process, as those of you who have done it before can attest too. However, what is the alternative to going through a thoughtful and detailed strategic planning process? Perhaps wishful thinking on a magic star that things will change for the better would be an easier way to plan for the future, but as those of us who have taken that approach at times can confirm, it is not always the most effective or reliable planning method. Sometimes you wish on the wrong star and other times someone beats you to the star you are wishing on and all of the wishes have been used up.

Thinking about all of this reminds me of the well-known saying: “If you fail to plan…you plan to fail”. Thankfully, I had access to some remarkable planning tools and resources to help me with the strategic planning I have been doing around postsecondary issues here in Utah. First, I had a team of other deeply committed stakeholders helping me gather and process information about what was happening across the state and where we should go next. Second, I had access to peers across the country through the Think College Project, an initiative of the Institute for Community Inclusion …