Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is at the heart of the “Surviving to Thriving” (Soliday & Mann, 2014) chapter on Planning and Innovation. John Bryson (2011), foremost expert on strategic planning for nonprofits, writes, “What matters most is strategic thinking, acting, and learning in a deliberative context. Strategic planning is useful only if it improves strategic thought, action, and learning; it is not a substitute for them” (p. xiv). In this day and age of industry disruption, our planning must include new levels of strategic thinking if we are truly going to be innovative. (more…)

Dashboards vs. Scorecards for Data Tracking

As we address the Surviving to Thriving chapter on “Habit of Reflection and Intentionality,” one of the most frequent questions I am asked is about the difference between dashboards and scorecards. In brief, dashboards are more often used to track ongoing, short-term operational data. Scorecards, on the other hand, are more often used to track select data that is closely aligned with organizational strategy. The following provides more detail on the subject. (more…)

Clarifying Value Propositions

by Rick Mann, Ph.D.

We are now looking deeper into the Surviving to Thriving chapter “Institutional Story.” A central component of this domain is clarifying our value proposition. While mission, vision, and values are commonly articulated in institutional documents, rarely do we see our value proposition spelled out. This clarity is critical in these days of the new normal. Increasingly, many stakeholders including students, families, politicians, and the general public are asking for, no, demanding, a better explanation on the value proposition of a college education. (more…)

“Surviving to Thriving” Webinar Series

This year, we are hosting a three-part webinar series highlighting chapters from Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Private College and Universities,” authored by Credo Founding Partner, Joanne Soliday and Senior Affiliate Consultant, Rick Mann. In this webinar series, Joanne will offer greater detail with three chapters from the book to offer private, higher education leaders a chance to discuss their reactions to the book and ask questions relative to each specific topic. (more…)

Learning to Celebrate

by Rick Mann, Ph.D.

“Thriving colleges celebrate, and they celebrate frequently! They are amazingly good at leveraging every small victory”

- “Surviving to Thriving,” p. 55

In this month, we are looking deeper into the Surviving to Thriving chapter “Institutional Self-Esteem.” Integral to this topic is celebration. Leadership author Tom Peters emphasizes this need: “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Our goal here is to explore how celebration can play a strategic role in advancing an institution. (more…)

Thriving Scorecard: Understanding Strategy Maps

Many strategic plans are thick documents with many sections of text-filled pages. In too many cases these documents are by very few people. The result can be a lack of strategic clarity across campus stakeholder groups including faculty, staff, board, etc. A strategy map provides a one-page visual that can provide a simple strategic roadmap that helps everyone to understand: (more…)

Developing Vision: The Story

by Rick Mann, Ph.D.

“The vision statement is fuel for the journey! It is what drives us. It is the inspiration that brings the mission to life on our campuses, and it is memorable. It brings clarity to our aspirational future when we are desperately in need of clarity and significance.” – (Soliday & Mann, 2013) (more…)

Vision and Values: Providing Direction, Fuel, and Story

by Rick Mann, Ph.D.

In this month of March, we are highlighting the topic of vision. This is the second element of the Thriving Framework as put forth in the book, “Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Colleges and Universities.” While accreditation agencies generally require a mission statement for institutions, vision and values statements can often do the heavy lifting required to move our institutions forward. (more…)