Blog Post


Vision, Mission, and Strategic Planning to Make Decisions and Inform Actions

By: Dr. Ruth C. Ash and Dr. Pat H. Hodge

At its most basic, strategic planning generally includes identification of beliefs, mission, and vision of the organization; a review of the current and past strengths and weaknesses; organized goal setting; and action planning for the future.  The problem with many strategic plans is that they often collect dust on whatever shelf they inhabit, and, even if reviewed regularly, they fail to transform strategy into action.  To overcome this, the most effective plans focus on a collaboratively developed vision and mission; include practices, possibly outside the norm, that are consistent with the vision and mission; and support the direction of the organization.

            Strategic plans provide a clear direction for everyone to work toward student success.  With a strategic plan, everyone is thinking about the same goals.  With the right kind of strategic plan, a school or district is able to better meet the challenges of the rapidly changing educational environment. 

Collaborating with Others to Develop a Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan that Reflect the Beliefs, Ethics, and Focus of the Organization

A mission, vision, and strategic plan that add value to the organization require collaborative development.  Collaborative development ensures alignment of the vision, mission, and strategic plan to beliefs and ethics and to the focus of the organization.  This alignment is critical to the success of plans, processes, actions, and results.  In general, more alignment translates into a higher level of success.

An organization’s vision is a shared image, not of the current reality, but of the hopes of those involved (Kotter, 1996).  The vision is the best future imagined for all students.  A vision statement explains, for the future, where the organization is going and the expectations for its purpose.  A mission statement is a proclamation of the core purpose or overall function of the organization.  For schools or districts, it answers three questions.

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What services do we provide?
  • What is important to us?

A compelling vision and a clear, meaningful mission inspire support and loyalty for the school or

district. These vision and mission statements are encouraging, moving, and motivating when

developed collaboratively and shared with everyone.

About The Author:

Dr. Ruth C. Ash is a long time educator, a nationally known consultant in the areas    of education, leadership, and organization effectiveness, and a Founding Partner of Education Solutions. Dr. Ash is also a Professional Associate with The Akribos Group.

Dr. Pat H. Hodge is a lifelong educator, working with administrators and teachers in developing student-focused instructional practices and cultures, and a Founding Partner of Education Solutions.

Dr. Ash and Dr. Hodge are Co-Authors of Five Critical Leadership Practices: The Secret to High-Performing Schools


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