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  • Professional Service

Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Toolkit

A strategic plan shapes and guides what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why. 

This guide provides nine essential tasks to help navigate the diversity and inclusion strategic planning process. 

Although you should work through the tasks in order, you will find the process can be circular. As you conduct move through the process, you may return to earlier tasks in order to change and/or expand on your original thinking.

Treat this as a flexible — rather than a rigid — process.

The Strategic Planning Process in 6 Steps: 1. Getting Started; 2. Environmental Scan; 3. SWOT Analysis; 4. Vision, Mission, Strategic Goals; 5. Objectives, Tasks, Metrics; 6. Implementation and Alignment

Strategic Planning Process

Getting Ready for Strategic Planning

A strategic plan shapes and guides what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why. Effective strategic plans also articulate how an organization will know it is successful.

Strategic planning answers the following key questions:

  • Where are we?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we get there?
  • Are we getting there?

Diversity and Inclusion at Your Organization

Please review your organization’s current definition of diversity and inclusion. Ask yourself the following:

  • Are there elements that are missing?
  • Are there areas that need attention?
  • Is this definition well understood?
  • Is this definition engrained in the culture of the organization?

Assemble Your Team

Engage your leadership team to work through the essential tasks in this toolkit and to make critical choices about your institution’s strategic direction.

Teams will vary in size, depending on the amount and history of diversity within the organization. Below are some suggestions for people to invite:

  • Deans
  • Faculty
  • Stakeholders from within and outside your department
  • Staff responsible for implementation
  • An administrator to record steps, arrange meetings, etc.

Tip: Select people who are strategic thinkers and good at solving problems. It is not enough to only consider the organizational charts; rather, consider where influence in your organization is housed and identify individuals whose perspectives carry more weight, regardless of their place in the organization.

Establish Scope

Define the scope of your strategic plan. Understand the key area(s) of emphasis for the plan as outlined by the leaders who started the strategic planning initiative.

  • What is it that this plan is seeking to accomplish within the confines of your organizational structure?
  • Where are the boundaries for your work, and how will this plan engage all the invested constituents?

Determine Your Timeline

To maximize the effectiveness of this toolkit, you and your team will need to invest time in researching and collecting information to answer the questions asked in each essential task.

You will also need meeting time to review materials, delegate tasks, discuss findings, and make decisions. We suggest that you develop a timeline for your team and set aside enough time (three months or more) to complete this process.

Environmental Scan

SWOT Analysis

A group of people look at a woman as she writes something on a sheet of paper attached to a wall.

Task 3: Identify Leverage Points and Challenges


Data Collection Standards

AAMC Data Resources

Organizational Change Resources

Objectives, Tasks, Metrics

Task 6: Develop accountability methods and metrics to measure achievement of each objective


Data Collection and Accountability Resources

Related Resources

Implementation and Alignment

A group of women sit in a circle and discuss work.

Task 7: Establish roles, responsibilities, and decision-making channels


Roles and Responsibilities Resources

Advisory Council and Communication Resources

Related Resources

Task 8: Develop a Realistic Timeline for Executing All Action Steps


Timeline Development Resource

Related Resources

Want to know more?

Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Medicine: A Strategic Planning Guide is available through the AAMC Store.