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The language of strategic planning

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My university just completed a round of strategic planning, its periodic cycle of self-evaluation, redefinition, and goal setting. Many of my colleagues were excited about the opportunity to define the future. Others were somewhat jaded, seeing such plans as bookshelf documents to be endured until the next planning cycle. Still others were agnostics, happy to see us have a good strategic plan but determined not to let it get in their way. As a linguist, I’m sympathetic to the idea of formalized systems, but the planning cycle also provoked my lexical curiosity. Where did the various terms of strategic planning come from and what do their origins tell us? Strategic planners talk about mission, vision, and values, which are roughly glossed as “why we exist,” “where we are going,” and “how we act.” Planners talk about goals and objectives, which seem to differ primarily in specificity. Sometimes planning is run by consultants (who, according to one wag, are “people that borrow your watch. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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