The 2030 University of Mary Strategic Plan presented a vision for the athletic department within the overall University, and called on Athletics to express its unique contribution to the overall 2030 vision. This was a strategic opportunity for athletics to reflect on the University’s brand, in particular the University’s focus on faith, virtue, and servant leadership, and offer an understanding unique to its own specific environment. Following the 2007 transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, Athletics had grown and evolved, and with this growth came the need to ensure that it continued to be not simply aligned with, but to intentionally drive the University of Mary’s overall vision and mission.
During spring 2018, the University of Mary engaged with the Institute to outline how Athletics could be a driver of University mission while also offering an alternative vision for the student-athlete experience within the field of intercollegiate athletics. The Excellence with Integrity approach centers on finding the balance between achieving the most favorable outcomes and the most favorable strategies for doing so—strategies that are rooted in the specific vision and virtues of each organization. At the University of Mary, the Institute process engaged stakeholders in an exploration of the current state of the organization and of the desired-state objectives, while clarifying the organization’s unique brand value and the related brand promise.
The Institute helped the University of Mary Athletics craft a customized strategic planning process, which not only lead to an updated strategic plan, but established a forum for an authentic strategic conversation. The Institute guided the University of Mary Athletics through the articulation of a bold vision for athletics and identified the practical action steps needed for shaping the department culture through enhanced Clarity of expectations and communication, intentional Habits, Accountability about what matters, and Mindset focused on growth and optimal performance.