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Business Professors Explain New Approach to Strategic Planning

Date: 10/8/2012

Why do companies with solid strategic plans fail? That question and others will be answered on October 16, 2012 at 2:30 p.m., when authors Scott D. Ballantyne, Mary Ellen Wells, and Beth Berret discuss their book, Planning in Reverse. All of the authors are award-winning, published professors in the business department at Alvernia University, which offers traditional graduate and undergraduate degrees as well as an online MBA program in Reading, Pa.

Part of the 2012 Literary Festival, this lecture will take place in the Bernardine Lecture Hall, at Alvernia’s main campus. There is no cost for attending.
The main focus of this lecture is how non-profit and for-profit organizations can improve their strategic planning. Part of the answer, according to the authors, is to streamline communications and trust the ideas that come from customers, employees and vendors.

As Dr. Ballantyne explains, organizations must have the ability to react and adjust to external and internal changes. 

“Society is changing so rapidly. Everyone sees little changes but if someone mentions these changes, too often they are ignored or dismissed,” says Dr. Ballantyne. “Companies fail when they have an inability to react and adjust to external and internal changes.”

For the small business entrepreneur, this lecture will outline a process that could replace traditional strategic planning. The approach provides an opportunity to take advantage of short-term information to increase long-term viability.

PH: Planning in Reverse bookBased on Real Life Experiences
Drs. Ballantyne and Berret came up with the idea for the book while they walked to the classes they taught at the university’s Upland Center. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they would talk both ways, brainstorming about examples they could use in the book. They each wrote sections of the book, then asked Dr. Wells to help put it into one voice.

“The ideas and the examples in the book came from staying current in our field,” added Dr. Wells. “As we collaborated, we spurred each other to think creatively.”
The publisher approved the concept after just reviewing the outline and it was published last year.

Book Used in Traditional and Online MBA Classes
While not a text book — the authors feel it contains valuable advice for a manager or a small to mid-sized business owner — the book has been used in two MBA classes: Strategic Formulation and Implementation and the Capstone Leadership class. 

“The students really responded positively to the book. It’s easy to grasp and put into action,” says Dr. Berret.

Dr. Ballantyne also thinks the book would be valuable for students studying for their M.Ed. 

About Alvernia Traditional and Online MBA Programs
Alvernia, a leading provider of traditional and online MBA in Reading and the surrounding communities in Pottsville, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Kutztown and Philadelphia, offers classes accredited by ACBSP. All classes are taught by experienced faculty and with several course formats, most students complete their degree in just two years or less.  For more information, visit:http://www.alvernia.edu/academics/graduate/mba-programs/index.html

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.