Rocket Nation Recovery Part 7 – The Principles of Strategic Management consist of strategy formulation, execution, and evaluation. The foundation of strategy formulation is an institutions strategic intent.

Could structural problems in UToledo’s strategic intent be the root cause of the morale, enrollment and financial crisis?

Three decades ago, in his book “Built To Last” Jim Collins suggested that strategic intent consists of an institutions core ideology (purpose/mission and values) and its envisioned future (audacious goals/vision with detailed outcomes and metrics).

Core ideology cannot be achieved, is never changed, and is the institutions fundamental reason for being. The audacious goal can be achieved. Is the primary competitive differentiator. Defines the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the institution. And serves as a unifying focal point of collaboration. 

Collins states that institutions in crisis can trace their challenges to senior leaders:

• Attempting to change the core purpose and/or core values of the institution – – which crushes morale. 
• Achieving and not resetting the institutions audacious goal – – which causes complacency, an internal focus, and decline. 
• Not setting goals that are audacious, differentiating, and inspiring to employees, customers and stakeholders – – which causes them to leave, under perform, or give up.

Is UToledo experiencing any of these challenges?

What happens to Collins framework when two institutions merge? On May 3, 2006 The Metro NYC Alumni Chapter hosted an alumni gathering in Midtown Manhattan for outgoing President Johnson and Incoming President Jacobs.

As a nearly $1B institution, which core purpose (mission), core values and audacious goal (vision) took the lead? Were they blended or scrapped for a fresh start? How did employees, customers and stakeholders react? How did trustees measure adoption and drive accountability to execute the new strategic intent? When was the last time it was achieved and reset?

Seventeen years later, is UToledo experiencing a failed merger integration?

In a few weeks the UToledo Trustees will meet to discuss performance bonuses, the past three years, and the future. Please pray they use a framework like Collins to quickly assess if leadership:

• Has the requisite crisis management skills, experience and energy to facilitate resetting UToledo’s audacious goal. 
• Has given up on UToledo with acceptance of an irreversible trend that will lead to a small, local university? Or views UToledo as a thriving international university with 40,000 students? 
• Has the personal desire and love of UToledo to lead a grassroots revival.
• Has support within the institution, in the community and in The Rocket Nation required to urgently address the crisis.

It’s ok to feel uncomfortable in a crisis. Please pray for thoughtful, compassionate accountability and urgent actions to revitalize The Rocket Nation.