Saturday, September 05, 2009

Visualizing Strategy

Lately I've been engaged in creating metrics for strategic planning, and wanted a way to visualize the more important links between them. After some trial and error, our group came up with a neat representation in the form of a logic model. Here's a bit of it.

The boxes are numbers to be formally tracked. Some of the detail is hidden--for example there are different yield rate targets for different kinds of applicants, and "Discount Rate" hides the particulars of financial aid policies. The solid blue lines show the influence of administrative units or other groups. The dotted lines are causal links between metrics. The yellow arrows show natural tensions between metrics, like selectivity and yield rates, which pull in opposite directions. Finally, the color coding of the boxes is to identify certain strategic initiatives. Blue is "financial strength," for example.

The diagram is accompanied by a spreadsheet describing in more detail what the metrics are. It's color coded the same way, by objective.

I have found this diagram very useful in having conversations with administrators, to give a sense of everyone pulling together for a common cause. The tool used is Microsoft Publisher, which you probably have already installed on your machine.

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