Metropolitan Community College has a robust and integrated strategic planning process. When the college revamped their strategic plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, they knew alignment and buy-in would be key. Two tenants emerged: “If it gets measured, it gets managed,” and “Strategy is all about choices.” These two ideas helped shape all 3 levels of their strategic plan, along with the college’s mission, values, and vision.
Amie Kendall, Senior Project Lead at MCC's Office of Enterprise Project Management, Planning & Institutional Effectiveness and ClearPoint co-founder Ted Jackson discuss the college's strategic planning and reporting cycle and how ClearPoint software aids them in their processes.
Watch the full interview and gain access to free planning assets here!
The first level of MCC’s strategic plan, titled MCC Reimagined, is a high-level ten-year plan highlighting four themes (“MCC’s 4 Es”) and 14 overall organizational goals. The college took inspiration from the Balanced Scorecard Framework to organize goals by perspective, so all stakeholders’ points of view would be accounted for. The second level is MCC’s Playbook, consisting of plans across campuses and shared services, outlining actionable steps toward goals (deliverables). The third level of the plan hosts Institutional Effectiveness Planning (IEP) cycles for each of the college’s 61 planning units. This annual reporting cycle is housed in ClearPoint, which allows MCC to assess performance toward goals laid out in their strategic plan and strive for continuous improvement.
Kendall explains, "[The] IEP cycle serves as a mechanism for the college to engage in ongoing, systematic, and data-driven evaluations of our operations and processes.” When MCC “opens the loop” in June, each of the 61 planning units sets four goals for the year: three unique to the department, and one Global Goal, which aligns with the college’s overarching annual goal established by leadership. For each goal, the planning unit manager identifies tactics, performance measures, and targets. These metrics and progress toward them are tracked in ClearPoint all year long, and in May, MCC “closes the loop." Leadership is able to recount lessons learned, while departments are able to request any necessary resources just in time for the next fiscal year.
Prior to ClearPoint, the IEP cycle was well-established, but cumbersome. The 61 planning units would submit individual reports in the form of PDFs, and the office tracked tactics in excel spreadsheets. ClearPoint was able to streamline the manual process through automation. The process is now much more efficient, saving time for both planning unit managers and MCC leadership. Automatic data analysis gives MCC real-time knowledge that informs decisions, and this data can be compared across departments and even previous IEP cycles.
“Alignment is natural, but we are able to demonstrate it in ClearPoint with our use of tagging. And that helps, again, reinforce the interrelationship between [our] planning components.”
With such a people-driven planning approach, having everything live within ClearPoint cuts down on the logistical burden of having such collaborative conversations. ClearPoint’s customization gave the platform the look and feel of MCC, branded as “ClearWolf” (the college’s mascot), which allowed for natural employee buy-in and assimilation into MCC culture.
“We were very confident in the capabilities and customization offered by ClearPoint…. It’s very user-friendly and intuitive.”
MCC looks forward to further expanding automation efforts and casting a spotlight on accreditation. Kendall goes on to say how the college has showcased its use of ClearPoint and the resulting strengthening of alignment in strategic plan components, and accreditation boards have been impressed.
Want to read more? A deeper dive into MCC and ClearPoint can be found here.