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ISJ November 2014: Are strategic plans truly strategic?


Kevin J Ruth


Since 2010, I have undertaken a thorough examination of over 125 strategic plans from diverse independent, international, and religiously-affiliated schools. If there is one overarching statement to be provided in terms of how sound these plans are, it would be this: most schools have bad strategies. We have no further to look for guidance than Richard Rumelt, professor at UCLA, who has been engaged in strategy work for over 30 years, and who is no-nonsense when it comes to pointing out ‘strategies’ that really aren’t strategies. His tome, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, is an excellent resource that provides multiple examples from organisations (including schools) that differentiate good strategy work from bad strategy work. Rumelt’s experience is very insightful, possessing a clarity rarely encountered when it comes to strategy work.