Strategic Planning: Moving Toward Priority-Setting

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By Dave Senay

Columbia, Mo. (July 29, 2016) — One of the most liberating and powerful questions asked by leadership of any organization is: “What do you think?” It’s a lesson I learned quickly in the early days of my near decade-long tenure as president and CEO of a global public relations firm.

A companion lesson emerged as well: Once you ask what people think, you’d better be ready to listen…and to act.

Dave Senay
Dave Senay

That is precisely the stage we are at with our strategic planning efforts. For the past three months, we have been covering the Mizzou J-School landscape with the question: “What do you think?” We’ve conducted 27 small group meetings with faculty, staff, students, alumni, industry representatives and influential leaders. (If you want to quickly review past blog posts from the Strategic Planning Leadership Team, you can check out Stacey Woelfel’s initial post, followed by Laura Johnston’s report a few weeks later.)

If you have a point of view you would like to share and add to our understanding of all perspectives, we invite you to offer input. Your thoughts will be included in our final report, out in late August.

On July 19, our group met again with Dean Dave Kurpius and our hard-working consultant Sandra Herron to get a readout on the mountains of data that sprung from our inquiries. It was a deep and rich well of amazing insights, hopes, dreams, tough love, advice and suggestions. On Aug. 26, all J-School faculty and staff will have a first-hand opportunity to hear and discuss the detailed findings of this research phase. During a half-day strategic planning retreat, you can expect a presentation of the findings followed by table exercises to do some deeper dives into the data. A key objective for the retreat, beyond sharing the research, is to begin to establish the priorities for the School’s future.

By now you should have received from Dean Dave Kurpius an email invitation to the strategic planning retreat. You may reach out to Elizabeth Hardt if you didn’t receive it or if you have questions in the meantime.

Speaking of “in the meantime,” the Strategic Planning Leadership Team is arranging special site visits to leading communications companies and organizations in New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. The leadership team is reaching out to faculty members and staff to participate in these visits, which will illuminate the state of the art in the field. This field research will dramatically add to the real-world basis for our planning.

That’s it for now. More later!

Dave Senay is special counsel and former president and CEO of FleishmanHillard International Communications in St. Louis.

Updated: September 29, 2020

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