Higher Education Student Services Redesign Phase 6: Create a Go Forward Plan

Student Services Redesign Phase 6“Create a go forward Plan” is the seventh in a blog series that provides a high-level process roadmap for structuring a student services redesign initiative. This process can be applied in all higher education institutions for entire student services organizations or individual departments. To review this blog series from the beginning, click here.

 In Phase 6, the goal is to create an implementation plan that is concrete and actionable.  A key success factor for executing a student services redesign initiative is to assign an owner to lead implementation.  Oversight of the implementation plan should be formalized with performance metrics incorporated into the annual performance review process. Without formalizing this role the student services redesign initiative is at risk for being less of a priority than other day-to-day responsibilities.

Here are three characteristics to look for in selecting an owner for this initiative:

  • High potential, rising leader on campus with the ability to get work done
  • Strategic thinker with strong organizational skills
  • Politically savvy influencer who can build consensus and manage change

If the redesign initiative spans multiple service lines in student services, additional team members may need to be assigned.  Identify if work streams require full-time, part-time or ad hoc team members and plan resourcing accordingly.

 The go forward plan includes 2 components: a communication strategy and an implementation plan.

Components of a communication strategy

  • Goals for communication
  • Key messaging
  • Audience definition
  • Frequency of communication
  • Method of communication
  • Owner of content development

Implementation plan components:

  • Time-bound activities with defined start and end dates
  • Assigned owners for each activity
  • Stated milestones and performance measures
  • Detailed budget and investment requirements

 Questions to consider:

  1. Does it make sense to appoint the project leader who managed the student services redesign planning effort to implement the plan?
  2. How are change management activities accounted for in the go forward plan?
  3. In communication planning, how will the implementation team gather ongoing faculty, staff and student feedback about the redesign effort?

Interested in receiving a white paper focused on this student services redesign blog series?  Contact me at [email protected].

Return on Consulting Engagement

September 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Implementation

The end of each consulting engagement always brings a bittersweet moment when I say good-bye to a client and when we confirm we’ll “look forward to keeping in touch” during the wrap up conference call. I genuinely hope, after our months of collaboration, developing a strategic plan or guiding an organizational change effort, that the product delivers the benefit we diligently worked to refine.

Although my day-to-day interaction ends, my commitment to your success remains. I often consider those necessary next steps that will allow a client to maximize engagement results.  Four specific actions come to mind:

Assign an Owner. Every engagement wrap up typically includes a set of actions for implementation. Assign oversight to an individual to shepherd that implementation. And take it one step further—develop clear performance metrics tied to implementation activities and results.

Execute the recommendations. What must be done in the next 60 days? Who needs to be involved? What resources are needed? Engaging a consultant is always a strategic investment. The real investment, however, doesn’t end when the consultant exits. Having a plan in place and an owner to guide implementation is only the beginning: Execute the recommendations.

Communicate Progress Widely. How does the company communicate progress? Which audiences benefit from that information? What is the message?  How often do you communicate?  Develop a clear communication plan that explicitly defines audience, message, timing, communication tool, and content owner. Revisit the communication plan often to monitor effectiveness; tweak when needed.

Perform 90-180 day Health Checks. Has the progress in executing recommendations met expectations?  What are the successes?  Where do opportunities for improvement exist? Revisit the engagement recommendations and compare them to the progress of the execution. Adjust the ongoing work plan as needed.

After following these steps, what further thoughts do you have on your engagement return on investment?