Provost Kelly Leads Strategic Planning

Importance of Strategic Planning at OCU

By Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost

If you want to go to Los Angeles, California, you must decide how to get there: by driving, taking the bus or train, flying, hitchhiking, or walking.  You must decide also when to go, what you will bring, and what to do when you get there.  In other words, you must make a plan, or you might not ever get to Los Angeles.

Sometimes organizations spend too much time ‘putting out fires’ or ‘fighting alligators’ instead of ‘draining the swamp.’  We need to spend more time on what is important, to spend more time on the dream than the routine.

In the life cycle of an organization, there is inception, growth, maturity, plateau, and then decline.  When you’re growing, life is good, and it may feel like it will never end.  But, if you do nothing special, eventually the organization plateaus and then declines.  When an organization is declining, it is hard to find resources to stop the slide.

A solution exists:  start a new growth curve before plateauing.  This requires strategic planning because without a strategic plan, organizations default to ‘seat-of-the-pants’ leadership.

A strategic plan is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives, and defining a sequence of specific steps to achieve them.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” - Peter Drucker

Ohio Christian University (OCU) recently completed developing a new six-year strategic plan to 2024. To accomplish this, the administration created a committee comprising a cross-section of the campus of 27 members, including the student body president.  We wanted the wisdom of many people, and, since the group was a cross-section of the university, there would be stakeholder ownership of the plan and its accomplishment.

The group used input gathered from a questionnaire completed by 159 people consisting of employees, Board of Trustees’ members, students, and alumni.  Using this input and many committee meetings, the group created seven goals with up to six objectives for each goal.  OCU’s Board of Trustees approved the plan at their May 2018 meeting.  It goes into effect in September 2018.

The committees identified the actions to occur in 2018-19 to begin accomplishing the strategic goals.  For each of these actions, the group’s leadership identified who is responsible, the date, and cost to accomplish.

OCU’s 2018-2024 strategic plan is listed on our website.  The plan is too big for us to accomplish without God’s help, which is good because strategic planning is biblical.  For example:

  • “Plans go wrong with too few counselors; many counselors bring success.” - Proverbs 15:22, The Living Bible
  • “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” - Luke 14:28-30, NIV
  • “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.” - Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion

Ultimately, achieving our strategic plan helps us accomplish our very important mission:

Ohio Christian University prepares students to serve effectively in the church and society by providing a holistic, Christ-centered, biblically-integrated education in the Wesleyan tradition.

And our vision is to prepare world-impacting Christian servant leaders.

About OCU

Ohio Christian University is committed to offering a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs for residential undergraduate students, graduate students, and adult and online students. Every program is designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families, and the world.