Artist Raghava KK has a 200 year plan. What!? These days I’m lucky if I know what my plan is for next week, let alone 200 years from now. Raghava’s plan is ambitious and has an incredibly long time horizon, but maybe he is not as crazy as he sounds.

In thinking about his 200 year plan, Raghava thinks about and attempts to answer some big questions. What does he want his legacy to be? How does he want to be rememberd. Raghava picked the 200 year threshold as he felt that by then anyone who would have come in contact with him would have passed away.

In contrast, the recommended timeline for a school’s strategic plan is shrinking from a five year length to the 18 months that some strategic planning consultants are recommending. With that short of an event horizon, it almost seems that we’re making a series of tactical decisions rather than true strategic ones.

The real challenge, though, is keeping your eye on the true goal of a strategic plan, i.e. bringing your school’s mission to life and realizing the school’s vision. With his 200 year plan, Raghava has firmly got his eyes on the end goal. By doing this, he is slowly establishing his own personal vision of who he is and how he will be remembered.

While I don’t recommend that your school begin extending its strategic plan out 200 years from now, it is important that you continually assess that your strategic plan is addressing both your school’s short-term tactical needs (e.g. more revenue or more rears in seats) with the direction that you envision the school heading. This will guide you towards a realization of the purpose of the institution.

This is no easy proposition. Bookcases are littered with well intentioned strategic plans that live on in some netherland of not quite implemented. These well intentioned documents were overwhelmed by the day to day needs of the school and then were promptly forgotten until the next strategic planning session. The trick is making the plan so reflective of your school’s mission and vision that it seems so interrelated with the purpose of the school that everyone finds it compelling and therefor wants to help implement it.