Why Strategic Planning is neither Strategic nor Planning | Sanje Ratnavale | 13 Min Read

January 2, 2022

There are countless examples of people’s beliefs, actions, or habits living in apparent disharmony or conflict — known in psychology as cognitive dissonance. Independent schools have taken that response a step further. They have institutionalized cognitive dissonance and renamed it the Strategic Plan. 

At the core of this “institutional dissonance” is the belief that independent schools are excellent, and yet need a Strategic Plan every 5 years to improve the quality of education without significantly impacting the program. Most schools adopt a strategic planning stance that there is something that can be improved within the school as a business entity, rather than the learning product that the school is delivering. The product is assumed to be excellent because we keep telling ourselves that it is; standardized external measures and branding reinforce the belief. To do otherwise, it is feared, would undermine the core product and invite criticism.

Siloed associations are happy to indulge the fiction that these elements are separable — a sub-par business and an excellent product — promoting the notion that fixing a silo, like enrollment management, will make the difference. Develop a better marketing plan, a better financial aid strategy, and a bogus accreditation…

Register Now
You may use your member school or partner discount code !!!

Sanje Ratnavale

Sanje founded OESIS in 2012 and serves as the President of what has grown to become the leading network for innovation at independent schools: the acronym OESIS grew from the initial focus on Online Education Strategies for Independent Schools. He has held senior administrative positions at independent schools including Associate Head of School at a K-12 school for seven years, High School Principal for three years, and CFO for seven years. Prior to making a switch to education, Sanje spent 15 years in venture capital, investment banking, and senior C-level (CEO, COO, CFO) management. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. in Law/Jurisprudence). Sanje is based out of Santa Monica.