Strategic planning. Did anyone else just become unnerved by those words? I think, as university officials, we always hear about strategic planning. Either we are involved in the process for our office, department, division or institution, or we just get so stinkin’ annoyed by the overbearing reminder of them. But, obviously, strategic planning is meant to progress an organization forward, to improve it so that it remains relevant and impactful.
In 2016, MACURH released a regional strategic plan after commission of the NACURH strategic plan. “The Strategic Plan is meant to put into place a clear, but fluid plan for the future of the
Midwest.” I could break down this well written, 45-page document, but I will let you read that if you so choose. But I think something to look at is why there is a need for a strategic plan. “For the future of the Midwest”. So, basically, if I read this and implement what it is telling me, our region should progress and be better?
That’s the goal. That’s the hope. If the Regional Board of Directors take this plan and applies its outline to each year, we will be better. So, what would happen if our housing student organizations created a strategic plan? Would that help in the future progression of our RHA’s (or comparable organization) and NRHH’s? Would setting out goals, expectations and a timeline help during those transition times of where we were and where we are going?
This whole “strategic planning” topic is so high on NACURH’s priority list that is also created a strategic plan for NRHH chapters and it is also reevaluating its strategic plan to keep progressing. By no means, is a strategic plan going to make things perfect. It is there to help navigate where an organization is supposed to go to keep progressing in a positive manner, to not become stagnant.
The position that I now serve in, came from the NACURH NRHH strategic plan and through that evolution, I have had the opportunity to learn so much more about NRHH. As a student, I was involved in NRHH from my freshman year. I knew the basics, I knew what was important and why. Then receiving this position, I was asked to read the NRHH strategic plan.
WOW! What an eye opener that was for me! Not only as a regional advisor, but also as a campus advisor. As I started dissecting the strategic plan, I learned so much. After I read through it and started conceptualizing it, I was able to make practical steps to get my institutions chapter up to date. Through that, it has given my institutions chapter a stronger foundation.
I’m often asked about how to make our institutional NRHH chapters stronger, and my first response is, “have you read the NACURH NRHH strategic plan?”. Seriously, it was a game changer for me and for my institutions chapter! Just the simple making of a chapter logo and branding has helped our chapter. After our brand was established, then we started being able to execute our message about OTM’s better and we’ve seen great dividends from that. The strategic plan has helped push the chapter to seeing it’s purpose and set goals to achieve that.
Our region is currently in the phase of the strategic plan that asks for chapters to create a strategic plan. Recently, in the bi-weekly “diamond chats”, Kris has been walking the representatives through the sections of a strategic plan and helping them brainstorm ways to do this. Yes, strategic planning is time consuming and takes a lot of effort, but when you are able to start seeing the payoff, it starts making since.
I think it is important to note that the committee that created the MACURH strategic plan knew that they were probably not going to see all areas come to fruition. The committee had to trust that the future boards and committees would see that their plan would generate success. This is such an important thing to keep in mind as you start creating your chapter strategic plans.
Here are some resources that have been created to aid our regional institutions in their creation of strategic plans:
Don’t let strategic planning intimidate you. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Make this a fun time for your student leaders. Do it over a retreat or form a committee or task force. Make sure that they understand the importance of it and jut how easy it can be.