Ignored in the Strategic Plan

Getting long-term employee buy-in and support is a topic I hear discussed a lot these days. There are concrete benefits to having happy employees that want to see your company grow and expect to stay with you, support you, and grow with you over the years.

Like any long-term relationship there has to be a common foundation, a goal, and a plan that you both can follow so that when you get there you are both happy and your business is doing well. The more people you have in your business the more relationships have to hold these three cores in place (Foundation, Goal, & Plan). Having a strong value statement for the business is a great start. Working that into your strategic growth plan is optimal for the type of business your people will want to stay with year after year.

What I have found is that the value statement can be strong, but it may not be consulted when the strategic growth plan is developed and announced. Recently I reviewed a strategic business plan for a local¬†institution that employs hundreds of people. I was shocked to see (or in this instance ‘Not See’) their focus for the next 2 years of growth. Let me give you some insight into what I saw and didn’t see with respect to their employees.


  • Excellence
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Public accountability
  • Fiscal and environmental sustainability
  • Respect for all
  • Community connections

On the surface this list looks amazing. I would say that points 1 and 5 both have the ability to encompass great value for their employees.


  • Pathways
  • Extraordinary experiences
  • Community connections
  • Operational excellence

Their priorities are more limiting for employee engagement and support, but #4 (operational excellence) may encompass greatness in growth and buy-in for their staff.


  • To inspire innovation, transform lives and connect communities through the power of education
So it is looking like there may be some great possibilities for incredible work environments, happy staff, engaged and committed instructors and professors, hope for growth (both personal and professional) for their employees.


Before I go into the details that I feel are missing let me say that this plan is very extensive in its support of the students, the institution, and the community. There has been a lot of thought and hard work that has gone into this and I truly believe that this plan will make a difference to both the institution and all that it touches, including its employees. So as an offshoot of their focus there will be a positive result that will be felt.

That said, since there is some focus missing, and there are already issues that are being felt, I expect it will not be enough to make the mark for total fulfillment to encourage their best people to achieve more and stay on board.

So what is missing?

Elephant in your company


Here is a list of many of items addressed in the plan that will be directly affected as result of focus:

  • learning model
  • co-curricular records
  • common, specialized, and social entrepreneurship
  • new college degrees and expand university partnerships
  • accelerated pathways
  • student access, engagement, and outreach
  • College and Career Preparation services
  • delivery options
  • increase access through technology
  • apprentice-, diploma-, and degree-bound students
  • development of our faculty and staff to deliver
  • employers, industry, and other community partners for future needs of programs
  • new pathways and programs focused on skills shortages
  • etc…. including The City, Community Partners, Advisers, Stake holders, and employment services to name a few.

There is a lot of focus on training, skills, etc. to match industry requirements. There is a single point at the end of the 20 page list that mentions, “Build organizational capacity through employee engagement, diversity and accessibility, human resource, and talent management strategies”.

Notice that the employee is only named in the development of their skills to better support the clients/students/programs/operations and not for their own needs. Everyone else’s needs have been addressed (the building, the community, local business, recruitment, training, etc.). This is a big elephant to miss in a strategic plan aimed for 2015 and a lot of years to ignore your best resource.


Don’t miss the elephant in your company. If your business relies on competent and committed individuals that have skills you want to keep and bring huge value to your product or service, make sure they are part of your Vision, Mission, Value statement, and Strategic Plan.


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