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Themes & Provocative Propositions Presentation

Why does strategic planning rarely work? Why do strategic planners - highly committed, smart, and dedicated people - seldom achieve the strategic goals they seek?  Why do most strategic plans end up on the proverbial shelf, collecting dust? 

According to Henry Mintzberg, internationally renowned academic, author and organizational consultant,  strategy cannot be planned because planning is about analysis and strategy is about synthesis - composite thinking.

Ed Morrison, Regional Economic Development Advisor for the Purdue Center for Regional Development and a member of the faculty of the Purdue College of Technology, believes strategic planning is generally doomed to failure because it is too top down and linear in its application.  According to Morrison, traditional strategic practices emerged from large hierarchical, command and control styles of planning, where the majority of organizational members have little say about how planning goals are established and accomplished.  Simply speaking, most strategic planning models do not match the dynamic nature of present day organizations.   

Networks of Appreciation

The strategic planning undertaken by CTA recognizes the value of information and social networks and that members, leaders, and staff drive the process.  Through Appreciative Inquiry interviews, CTA State Council members, leaders, and staff generated positive information around the six topic areas in CTA’s Strategic Plan.   

  • Advocacy on Education Reform
  • Transforming our Profession
  • Social Justice, Equity and Diversity
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Engagement and Coalition Building
  • Building an organizing culture

From their Appreciative interviews, CTA stakeholders discussed the best of the past, and what is currently working in and around CTA.  Stakeholders told telling stories about what they believed most valuable and what works particularly well.  Building on the great things taking place in CTA, participants created and invented new possibilities for success in the form of provocative propositions.

Provocative Propositions are statements that bridge the best of "what is" with speculation about "what might be.”  To capture and present themes and patterns represented by these propositions, an electronic  content analysis was conducted.  The key themes with their accompanying provocative propositions are being used to begin the process of designing new structures and governance for the six CTA topic areas. 

Below are a several links which provide additional information on strategic planning, Appreciative Inquiry, networking, and the forming of provocative propositions.