Lewis Carroll’s observation is meant to be absurd, of course, but it carries an important truth that speaks to the importance of knowing your destination before you begin the journey. The second essential is knowing where you are as you begin.

I believe in values-based strategic planning. That doesn’t mean that statistics
and data don’t matter, but fundamentally, strategic thinking is grounded in the
core values of the organization. What matters most? How do we fully realize
those values? What is our mission requiring of us just at this moment with
these particular constraints and opportunities?

A strategic plan is more journey than destination. It is more process than
outcome. The process involves all constituencies and brings the community
together in a way that allows a natural, organic consensus to form.
In turn, that creates an invested, committed group of people determined
to realize their collective vision.

Managing such a process and watching a shared vision emerge from multiple perspectives is rewarding work. This is how I think of aspirational planning.

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“ What was most impressive about Fran's work with Walden's Board of Trustees and, frankly, our entire community, is that she had the clear and demonstrated ability to guide us in aspirational planning. With the mission never out of our sight due to her early foundational work, Fran provoked us to think beyond our assumptions and move toward a school plan in which we could dream. We are all improved because of Fran's guidance over the past year yet the Walden students are the true beneficiaries”


Matt Allio
Head of School
Walden School
Pasadena, CA


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