Environmental Scan – An exploration and analysis of the external forces and trends relevant to the organization, commonly categorized as social, technological, economic, environmental, and political (STEEP).

SWOT Analysis – Evaluation and listing of internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors affecting the organization that inform strategic plan development.

Mission – The organization’s stated purpose or reason for existence.  A mission statement may include what the organization does and for whom, how, and why the work is done.

Example:  The Office of Important Work provides important work for the university in person and online so that institution employees are more effective at doing stuff.

Vision – A clear and succinct description of the ideal future state of an organization.  A vision statement should be inspirational and aspirational, and should guide planning, decisions, and actions.

Example:  The Office of Important Work will be a model for customer service at the institution and will be known, within the institution and beyond, as exemplars in doing important work.

Strategic Priorities – Broad areas of emphasis for the organization’s work as it strives toward realization of its vision.  The strategic priorities guide allocation of resources, the leader’s selection of major initiatives, and activities of employees.  They communicate to all stakeholders the practical application of a path toward attaining the organization’s vision.

Example:  Expand, realign, and optimize resources.

Action Steps – Precise, measurable activities that operationalize a strategic priority, making the planned direction and work unambiguous.

Example:  Align staff salaries with responsibilities and benchmarking.

Metrics – Qualitative and quantitative measurements for an action step that determine and communicate strategic plan success.

Example: Percent difference between department staff salaries and comparable external peers.

Tactics – Tasks that permit progress toward accomplishing an action step.

Example:  Submit proposal for salary equity increases that reduce the percent difference between department staff salaries and comparable external peers.