To expand and deepen Highlands College’s execution skills through leadership development, increased emphasis on work planning, collaboration, clear definition of roles, strategic sourcing of functions, strengthened implementation processes and capabilities, better performance and change management, and improved governance.
Highlands College has a clear and compelling vision supported by an excellent culture and shared values—a reflection of our strong leadership and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our culture is loving and supportive; our leaders are smart, committed, and hard-working. However, we are embarking on an ambitious and complex transformation requiring us to adjust our operating model to emphasize skillful project management. We will apply operational excellence in planning and managing the translation of our vision
to reality. This will require a highly organized and detail-oriented approach that reflects best practices adopted from other high performing organizations, including Church of the Highlands.
aligns and strengthens our leaders. This begins with carefully detailing the President’s and Chancellor’s responsibilities and expectations, including an expanded role for both in advancement. It also includes clarifying and streamlining decision-making to eliminate the possibility of bottlenecks or redundancy and
to continue improved transparency. Increasingly, we are relying on our executive vice presidents to drive implementation and function as a self-directed team. A requirement of this empowerment is a timely and
accurate flow of information within the College. Additionally, we are cultivating the next generation of organizational leaders, ensuring our success is continual. Lastly, we are aligning our leadership structure
with the Strategic Plan, thus reinforcing an objective of inculcating a strategic mindset focused on long-term, high impact priorities that create substantive and sustainable benefits.
are being adopted to facilitate Highlands College’s transformation to an accredited, baccalaureate Academy model in new state-of-the-art facilities. This transformation will resemble a complex mega-project comprised of many large sub-projects. We will establish an office of project planning, management, and assessment to oversee the College transformation. Leveraging technology, this project management office (PMO), within the Office of the President, will identify and develop/acquire tools (e.g., resource estimators and project management software) to facilitate implementation. The PMO will apply a dynamic work plan approach that lays out tasks, dependencies, required resources, critical path, key milestones, and (individual) task owners. This approach will align with and support the Strategic Plan with clear links from goals to sub-goals to actions/priorities to actual tasks on the work plan. Additionally, the College’s units will develop plans that link to, align with, and support the College’s plan.
A cooperative spirit depends on our culture of trust—in each other and the Holy Spirit—and on our shared values. We understand that we are one team and seek/welcome cross-functional initiatives. We incent and reward working together, with a goal of achieving clarity and buy-in. This consensus is facilitated by clear, constructive, and honest communication, relegating personal agendas to the wayside. To further facilitate
camaraderie, we use methods, such as Predictive Index, to better understand and relate to our teammates.
is critical to smooth execution. The roles of both individuals and entities will change as the College transforms. Staff will grow, and roles will become more specialized. The potential for redundancy, conflict, delays, and mistakes will increase. To minimize problems, we are more clearly defining roles, career paths,
and evaluative criteria and processes—revising the organizational structure to support these changes. We are also emphasizing mentoring and succession planning. We are implementing front-line accountability, enabled by empowerment, to facilitate scaling. To attract and retain talented professionals, we are increasingly differentiating approaches to faculty vs. staff.
Highlands College’s transformation means that our organizational relationship with Church of the Highlands will mature. Highlands College will continue to develop its own ecosystem, while partnering with the Church for certain needs, such as expertise and networking with other churches. To this end, the College and the Church must place the highest value on maintaining a close relationship over time while achieving the right level of College autonomy. This might be accomplished through a steering committee comprised of representatives from both the College and the Church.
Highlands College is determining how to best source our functions: internally, externally, or via Church
shared services. To this end, we will establish a supply chain function to manage procurement and management of goods and services. As we grow and develop our own infrastructure, we will shift more functions from shared services to the College. We will develop a plan to transition services to the most operationally excellent option based on defined criteria (e.g., enrollment, cost, quality, responsiveness). Services soon to be evaluated are human resources, creative services, and information technology.
To prepare for trans-formation, we will conduct a comprehensive review of current processes and systems to evaluate our capability to support growth and anticipated changes. With a keen eye on simplicity, key
processes will be documented, and as appropriate, redesigned to minimize steps, dependencies, and hand-offs so as to optimize speed, quality, and throughput. We will develop an enhanced capability to identify, select, and manage technology.
Process design and enrollment growth dictate staffing (and organization structure) and required technology, which should be leveraged to optimize staffing and focus staff on high value tasks. Staff growth must closely correlate with enrollment growth. We will evaluate staff to determine where they can best contribute and develop a hiring and training plan to fill gaps in our expertise. Hiring will be increasingly competitive and might include candidates who are not members of Church of the Highlands; we will increase emphasis on specialized college background/expertise/skills, while maintaining a strong emphasis on cultural fit. We will invest more in staff professional development, especially as it relates to specialization
Our intent is to create a learning organization where problems and mistakes are seen as opportunities to improve. This begins with establishing centralized measurement, evaluation, and reporting that provides simple, clear, measurable, objective, multi-level metrics—supported by robust data gathering and analytical capabilities and by leveraging technology. We will set aggressive, but reasonable, targets for these metrics, based on objective criteria (e.g., peer performance) and well-established baselines. Departmental dashboards will align with and support college-level metrics and targets. We will adopt an annual planning process—aligned with the Strategic Plan and supported by good forecasting—that evaluates and adjusts our master plan, and consequently drives our budgets (not vice versa). Change management and risk management are critical to improving performance. To that end, we are committed to seamless, end-to-end communications. We will also manage risk by identifying and clearly assessing (i.e., impact and probability) major risks. We will develop plans for mitigating risks that become manifest, including building contingency into our plans and maintaining a substantial financial cushion.
Bounded by institutional guard rails that keep us focused on our mission (e.g., theology, integrated auxiliary status, structure of a future foundation, non-changeable by-law provisions), Highlands College will gradually become appropriately autonomous. To facilitate this progression, several changes to the Board of Directors will be made. The Board will become self-governing, including establishment of standard Board committees. This will involve more deliberate succession planning, with an aim of diversifying Board experience to emphasize business, college, and operational experience, and include adding a representative from ARC. This will require further expansion of the Board. Special emphasis will be placed by the Board on financial and operational excellence, while being careful not to get involved in day-to-day operations or operate outside the purview of the President and Chancellor. The Board will perform an annual review of progress against the Strategic Plan and key metrics.