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How to Create a Strategic Plan
Looking for a way to take your company in a new and profitable direction? It starts with strategic planning. Keep reading to learn what a strategic plan is, why you need it and how you can strategically create one.
What Is a Strategic Plan?
When it comes to business and finance, strategic planning will help you allocate your resources, energy and assets. When implemented, a strategic plan will begin to move your operations in a more profitable direction. The primary goal of the plan is to ensure you and any other stakeholders are on the same page and striving to reach the same goal.
Creating a strategic plan requires a disciplined effort. Once you put the plan into action, it will influence the segment of customers that you target, how you serve those customers and the experience those customers have.
Assess the Current Infrastructure and Operations
The first step in creating a strategic plan is to carefully assess your existing infrastructure and operations. You can do this through a SWOT analysis, which is an analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The goal here is to pinpoint the resources that you use to carry out your day-to-day operations, to look at your monthly revenue patterns, to list any company challenges related to the customer experience and, most importantly, to look at your marketing methods and ways to improve the overall customer experience.
Creation of Mission Statement and Objectives
The next step is to create a mission statement. You may already have one, but it’s important to note your mission at the top of the strategic plan document you create. This ensures everyone is focused on the same goal. Your mission statement should cover why you started the company and what you intend to accomplish through the products and services that you offer.
In addition to the mission statement, make sure to outline both short- and long-term objectives. List the objectives according to their priority and designate certain managers or employees to be responsible for each one. Also, jot down the resources that will be used to achieve each objective.
Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve and who is responsible for each goal, it’s time to deploy the plan and measure its progress. A weekly meeting is extremely important for all managers and stakeholders provide feedback. Your goal is to determine if the company is headed in the right direction. If not, you’ll need to revise the strategic plan accordingly.
Strategic Plans Are Ongoing
Once your strategic plan helps you achieve several objectives, it’s smart to regroup and set new objectives. As your company grows, you can set new goals to ensure the company keeps moving forward. You can share the success of your strategic plan with potential investors as a way to tap into new capital funding.
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2020-2025 Strategic Mandate Agreement: Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology
Read the agreement between Ontario and Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology to understand its unique role in the province's post-secondary education system.
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This Strategic Mandate Agreement between the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Algonquin College is a key component of the Ontario government’s accountability framework for the postsecondary education system.
The Strategic Mandate Agreement ( SMA ):
- outlines provincial government objectives and priority areas for the postsecondary education system
- describes the elements of Ontario’s performance-based funding mechanism, including the college’s annual performance-based funding notional allocation for the five-year 2020 to 2025 Strategic Mandate Agreement ( SMA3 ) period
- establishes the corridor midpoint that will form the basis of enrolment-related funding over the five-year SMA 3 period
- supports transparency and accountability objectives
- establishes allowable performance targets for 10 metrics upon which institutional performance will be assessed
This SMA is for the fiscal period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2025.
SMAs are bilateral agreements between the ministry and the province’s publicly-assisted colleges and universities and are a key component of the Ontario government’s accountability framework for the postsecondary education system. This cycle of agreements is focused on promoting accountability through transparency and a focus on performance outcomes. The following objectives underline SMA 3:
- increasing trust and accountability through transparency and improved performance outcomes in Ontario’s postsecondary education system
- reducing red tape by striking an appropriate balance between accountability and reporting through streamlined processes and a reduced number of metrics
- incentivizing colleges and universities to redirect resources and invest in initiatives that result in positive economic outcomes
- encouraging alignment of postsecondary education with labour market outcomes
- incentivizing differentiation and specialization to support increased efficiencies
The ministry recognizes the importance of supporting a differentiated system, and recognizing institutional specializations, as a means of enhancing efficiencies in the postsecondary education sector.
The institutional profile is intended to describe how the college’s institutional mission and strategic goals support the priority areas of the Ontario government, as identified in this agreement. Institutions may also wish to include narrative related to the post-COVID-19 context for the institution.
Notional annual allocation.
For the SMA 3 cycle, Algonquin College’s annual allocation of performance-based funding has been calculated by the ministry in accordance with the college funding model and Ontario’s Performance-based Funding Technical Manual. Algonquin College’s notional allocations will not be impacted by previous year performance, and will follow a graduated activation plan as follows:
- Activation of performance-based funding will not be in place for 2020–21, 2021–22, and 2022–23. The ministry will assess the sector’s readiness for activation starting in Year 4 (2023–24). The planned system-wide proportion tied to funding [for example, performance-based funding grant] is anticipated at 10% in Year 4 (2023–24), increasing to 25% in Year 5 (2024–25), while overall Differentiation Envelope amounts may be held at a higher proportion pending operationalization decisions
- The Performance-based Grant has been capped at the system-average annual proportion and residual funding remains part of the Differentiation Envelope. Notional allocation represents the Performance-based portion of the Differentiation Envelope capped to the system-wide average
- The notional allocations presented above are based on 2020–21 operating grant totals.
Institutional weighting strategy
The performance-based funding mechanism in this SMA enables institutions to assign metric weightings to reflect institutional strengths and differentiated roles in the postsecondary education system. Assigned metric weightings will impact performance-based funding on a metric-by-metric basis per the table below. Metric details are described in the following section.
Priority areas and performance metrics
To support improved performance in key areas aligned with the Ontario government’s priorities and objectives, the allowable performance targets will be set against metrics that measure institutions’ effectiveness in addressing the evolving needs of the labour market, enhancing the skills and competencies of our students, and supporting a postsecondary education system that strengthens Ontario’s economic competitiveness.
The combination of established targets and assigned metric weightings will be used for institutional assessment of performance through the SMA 3 Annual Evaluation process
Skills and job outcomes
This priority area seeks to measure and evaluate the college’s role in supporting student and graduate outcomes and alignment with Ontario’s economy. Metrics measure institutional commitment to areas of strength and specialization; students’ preparation with the skills essential for employment; experiential learning opportunities; graduation; and positive labour–market outcomes for graduates, through the following performance indicators:
- graduate employment rate in a related field
- institutional strength and focus
- graduation rate
- graduate employment earnings
- experiential learning
- skills and competencies
Economic and community impact
This priority area seeks to measure and evaluate the college’s role in supporting Ontario’s economy. Metrics measure funding from private sector sources; the positive economic impact on local economies brought by students at an institution; and the differentiated ways institutions demonstrate economic impact, through the following performance indicators:
- community and local impact of student enrolment
- economic impact (institution-specific)
- revenue attracted from private sector sources
- apprenticeship-related (institution-specific)
Productivity, accountability and transparency
To support the Ontario Government’s objective of enhanced transparency and accountability, institutions will provide reporting data in the following areas which will not be tied to performance funding:
- faculty activity
- faculty compensation
Performance metrics: narrative
Metrics will be initiated over three years as new data is collected and validated. For 2020–21, allowable performance targets are calculated using historical data as per the Performance-based Funding Technical Manual.
For the remainder of the SMA 3 cycle, allowable performance targets will be calculated annually as per the Performance-based Funding Technical Manual using the most recent historical data available for Algonquin College and included as part of the SMA 3 Annual Evaluation process for performance-based funding. See appendix for details regarding historical data and annual allowable performance targets.
For the skills and competencies metric being initiated for performance-based funding in 2022–23, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will apply a ‘participation weighting’ of 5% of annual performance-based funding notional allocations for all institutions. Institutional targets will not be set for this metric in SMA 3. Participation will be validated and included as part of the SMA 3 Annual Evaluation process for performance-based funding.
Graduate employment rate in a related field Definition: proportion of graduates employed full-time in a field related or partially related to their program six months after graduation Source: College Graduate Outcomes Survey, Ministry of Colleges and Universities
Metric initiated: 2020–21
Institutional strength and focus Name: Health and Wellness; Engineering and Technology; Management, Administration and Leadership Definition: enrolment (full-time headcount, domestic and international) in an institution’s program area(s) of focus Source: Provided by institutions, validated by College Statistical Enrolment Report ( CSER ), Ministry of Colleges and Universities
Graduation rate Definition: percentage of full-time students (domestic and international), who entered a program of instruction in a particular enrolment reporting period and graduated within a specific period of time (200% program completion timeframe for diploma and certificate programs and 175% for degrees) Source: Graduate Rate Submission Process, College Graduation Rate Tool
Graduate employment earnings Definition: median employment earnings of college graduates in a given calendar year, two years after graduation Source: Educational and Labour Market Longitudinal Platform, Statistics Canada
Metric initiated: 2021–22
Experiential learning Definition: number and proportion of graduates in programs, who participated in at least one course with required Experiential Learning component(s) Source: Ministry of Colleges and University’s Graduate Record File Data; File attached to College Graduate Outcomes Survey
Skills and competencies Definition: Education and Skills Online: random sample of students (domestic and international) Source: Education and Skills Online Assessment, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD)
Metric initiated: 2022–23
Through the fall 2021 engagement with the sector, a decision was made to forgo using the Education and Skills Online ( ESO ) tool for the Skills and Competencies metric in order to provide more flexibility to institutions during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The ministry will allow institutions to select an institution-specific measure of skills and competencies that aligns with ministry-established criteria or choose from the ministry’s pre-approved list. The Skills and Competencies metric will be updated as part of the SMA3 Year 3 Annual Evaluation process.
Metrics will be initiated over three years as new data is collected and validated. For 2020–21, allowable performance targets are calculated using historical data as per the Performance–based Funding Technical Manual.
For the remainder of the SMA 3 cycle, allowable performance targets will be calculated annually as per the Performance–based Funding Technical Manual using the most recent historical data available for Algonquin College and included as part of the SMA 3 Annual Evaluation process for performance–based funding. See appendix for details regarding historical data and annual allowable performance targets.
Community and local impact of student enrolment Definition: institutional enrolment share in the population of the city (cities) or town (towns) in which the institution is located Source: College Statistical Enrolment Report ( CSER ), Ministry of Colleges and Universities, Census Data, Statistics Canada
Economic impact (institution-specific) Name: Algonquin College Student Co-op Placements Definition: The number of student co-op placements during the academic year Source: Algonquin College Co-op Office placement report
Revenue attracted from private sector sources Definition: total revenue attracted from private sector and not-for-profit sources Source: College Financial Information System
Apprenticeship-related (institution-specific) Name: Algonquin College Skilled Trades Programming Graduates Definition: Number of graduates from Algonquin College Skilled Trades Programs Source: Algonquin College Student Information System
Reporting metrics –attestation
This priority area of the Ontario government supports the government’s goal of increasing trust and accountability through transparency and improved performance outcomes in Ontario’s postsecondary education system.
These metrics are not tied to funding, and are used to measure and report on the following indicators:
Information regarding Algonquin College faculty activity will be publicly available in Year 3 (2022–23).
Information regarding Algonquin College faculty compensation will be publicly available in Year 3 (2022–23).
In addition to the performance-based funding outlined in sections above, institutions will receive enrolment-related funding through a funded corridor ‘midpoint’ to provide funding predictability to institutions.
For funding purposes 23,048.36 Weighted Funding Units ( WFUs ) will be the corridor midpoint value for the five-year period from 2020–25 for Algonquin College. Enrolment-related funding will be will distributed consistent with this level of enrolment and subject to the policies contained within the Ontario College Funding Formula Reform Technical Manual , May 2017, Version 1.1.
Note: Midpoints were established using the average of funding-eligible enrolment from 2015–16, 2016–17, and 2017–18.
Projected funding-eligible enrolment
Note: Tables report on full-time headcounts from the fall term.
Below is Algonquin College’s projection of funding-eligible full-time headcount as of July 13, 2020.
Projected international enrolment
Below is Algonquin College’s projection of funding-ineligible international full-time headcount at college-operated campuses as of July 13, 2020.
Appendix: historical data, targets and results
The following table will be refreshed annually by the ministry to display results from SMA 3 Annual Evaluation process and update Allowable Performance Targets ( APT ) for the current year. The SMA 3 Annual Evaluation will occur every year in the Fall-Winter and the updated appendix will be made publicly available the following Spring. Please note that fields with a hyphen indicate where data will be populated in later years of SMA 3.
It should be noted that historical data reflects pre-COVID-19 context. Actual values achieved during the SMA 3 period may include COVID-19 pandemic impacts.
Note: The values in the 2020–21 Actual performance column of “ Experiential learning“ (row 7) and for “ Revenue attracted from private sector sources” (row 8) were not tied to performance as these metrics were not yet activated. They are included in the calculation of the 2022–23 Allowable Performance Targets.