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Analyzing your ideas - January 23, 2012

Analyzing your ideas - January 23, 2012

Let me begin this entry by wishing you all a slightly late "Happy New Year"!  Our spring semester began on January 11, and along with all of our McNeese community, I am excited to see what 2012 has in store.   Recently, we met with some of you in DeRidder and Lafayette for the last of our scheduled strategic planning brainstorming sessions.   I want to thank all of you who have participated in sharing your thoughts with us these last several months, whether you came to a session or participated in the online survey.  Now you may be asking yourself the question, "Well, now what?"

As we move to the end of the "idea gathering" phase of this process, we begin the "idea analysis" phase. I think you'll find our planned methods very interesting!  Tom Dvorske, our Director of Institutional Effectiveness, will be using software designed to organize your suggestions and comments according to word and concept frequency.  This type of analysis can assist us in knowing which concepts were mentioned most often and by which groups (students, faculty, staff, alumni, civic leaders, etc.)  This process can lead to a list of "most popular answers" to each of the twelve questions.  Once the "most popular answers" are organized, we will be able to begin the process of sending ideas to the appropriate administrators and committees for further analysis.

Another analytic tool we will use is called a "SWOT analysis," based on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that were identified in response to questions 3, 4, 5, and 7.  We will construct charts that pair each of the internal organizational traits (i. e. the strengths and weaknesses) with each of the external issues (i. e. the opportunities and threats).  This process will result in four charts:  (1) strengths paired with opportunities, so that we can determine which opportunities we are well positioned to seize; (2) strengths paired with threats, so that we can know which threats we are well positioned to defend against; (3) weaknesses paired with opportunities, so that we can determine where resources need to be diverted in order to avoid missing out on something important; and (4) weaknesses paired with threats, so that we can ensure that resources are redeployed to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a major disappointment or disaster.  

A third analytic tool will be a Venn diagram based upon the findings of Jim Collins, as expressed in his book, Good to Great.  This diagram consists of three circles--one reflecting what we love most, one reflecting what we do best, and one reflecting the major drivers of our economic engine.  We will use our responses to questions 2 and 3 to construct two of these circles and rely on budget information to construct the third.  These circles intersect at a point Jim Collins refers to as an organization's "hedgehog concept," because hedgehogs focus their feeding efforts in one particular area for an extended period of time.  As part of the analysis phase, I hope to construct a chart that will identify a hedgehog concept that will be useful in focusing our strategic efforts over the next five years.

I plan to share these lists and charts with you and the rest of our community as they become available later this spring.  These are just a few of the initial processes we will be using to digest the thousands of ideas we received.  Stay tuned as the process continues!