Focus and Finish

Congratulations to the Crookston School District for developing a comprehensive and inclusive strategic plan.  We are your partners in helping to execute that which you have laid out. 

The goals outlined echo very closely those we have set at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Here are the three strategic goals we’ve set for ourselves.  

  • ·      Campus Enrollment Growth and Higher Retention Rates
  • ·      Diversity, Equity & Belonging
  • ·      Golden Eagle Pride/Relationships and Engagement

But my advice to the Crookston School District and to us here at the U of MN Crookston—Focus and Finish. 

When I came here, we had six strategic goals and some wanted to add more.  We are down to three.  If everything is a priority, then, nothing is a priority. Focus and Finish.  

Much of what I learned about organizational strategic planning came from a local boy from Fisher, Robert "Bob" Anderson.  Bob’s family moved to Michigan when he was in sixth grade, but some family members still live in the area.  

Bob was my boss when I was starting out my career in higher education.  He was vice provost of Iowa State University Extension. We were a large organization within Iowa State University.  At the time, we had about 1200 employees and a 40-million dollar budget.  While he was at the helm, he helped steer the organization and give it focus.  In fact, we all knew what we were about and what the priorities were.  

Bob came to Iowa State from his previous position as manager of corporate and technical education at General Electric in the days of Jack Welch.  An electrical engineer with a Ph.D. leading the agricultural-based group was at best an interesting hire, but he took a group that had strong roots, but a waffling vision to a new level.  Focus and Finish. 

When I left Iowa State about 20 years later, we had grown to a budget of about $100 million and about 40 percent of that budget was from relationship development through more private, corporate, and philanthropic funding.  Oh, by the way, one of our strategic goals in the 90s was to diversify the funding stream from public to a more sustainable funding stream.  Focus and Finish.

We’ve laid out our path for the University of Minnesota Crookston.  Just as we are partners with the Crookston School District, we want you to be our partner.  This is one of our strategic goals—Golden Eagle Pride/Relationships and Engagement.

Come on out and connect at some of our sports or cultural events, send your children and grandchildren to our camps this summer or check out some of the new happenings on campus. 

And, by the way, stop and say hi to us when we are shopping, dining at the restaurants or at the Farmer’s Market, or downtown events.  Together, we can be even stronger. 

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414