Over the past few years, the American University of Armenia has understood and engaged in a strategic planning process that was designed to help members of the community identify and structure an annual work plan for the university. But a work plan is not a strategic plan.
Strategic planning is the process of organizing the people and structures of an institution to achieve a vision for the future. Strategic planning requires the development of a long term vision, the establishment of priorities, the tactical allocation of resources, and the development of the internal controls needed to ensure that the organization moves toward the development of a shared vision.
Though the words strategic and plan are coupled in these processes it is important to understand that strategy requires that we make choices about an uncertain future. Thus, since it is not possible to know all of the decisions we need to make to achieve our vision, it is important that the plan does not constrain future adjustments that will be required to more effectively reach our goals. The best strategic plans are built on flexibility, imagination, and resilience. Like anyone with a destination, the key is to know where we are going even if the path changes.