Strategic Planning Implementation and Execution Survey (SPIES)


Sample Report for SPIES

Strategic plan stalled? Learn why and how to re-build your institution’s momentum. Many institutions have a collaboratively created shared vision and have high aspirations for their strategic plan, but implementation often starts and stops. This institution-wide assessment gives you insight on where to focus your work and where your implementation efforts could be getting hung up. Identify exactly where to focus your efforts and begin experiencing real and meaningful strides to accomplish your strategic plan.


We used the SPIES survey at the Cabinet level at our college to assess our current capacity to implement our collaborative strategic plan. We found the results informative and  insightful, and will use the information we gained to strategize how to actually execute our plan.”
-Dr. Dorothy Escribano, Provost, The College of New Rochelle

The survey was taken by the President’s Cabinet and the Strategic Planning Implementation Task Force participants – over 40 people. We found the results to be enlightening and powerful – and extremely useful going from planning to implementation. Great instrument.
-Don Lewis, Vice President of Administration and Finance, Anoka Technical College and Anoka Ramsey Community College


The SPIES tool demonstrates both good construct validity and discriminant validity. Academic Impressions spent more than one year validating this tool, inviting responses to an early draft of the assessment from over 300 professionals across a range of colleges and universities. Using the data from those respondents, about half of whom were high-ranking executives, we refined the assessment to identify only the most critical measures of an organization’s overall execution ability. The SPIES tool demonstrates both good construct validity and discriminant validity.

Validation Details

We administered an initial pool of 90 items to 320 higher education professionals, about half of whom were high-level executives and who worked at a wide range of institutions across the United States. Of those respondents, 214 had complete enough data for analysis; this final sample was diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, age, type of institution, and job role. We then used exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and Cronbach’s alpha to arrive at a final instrument consisting of one 10-item measure of an organization’s overall execution ability (titled Alignment to reflect the linkage between plans and operations), plus five additional 10-item subscales that measure specific aspects of the organization’s ability to implement its plans, titled Decision Making, Organizational Discipline, Collaboration, Culture, and Engagement and Inclusion. Subscale reliabilities ranged from .85-.93, a magnitude generally considered acceptable for clinical diagnostic tests. The instrument also showed good construct validity based on EFA and respondents’ use of the full range of response choices, as well as discriminant validity based on an ability to differentiate between members and nonmembers of the executive cabinet. The instrument is recommended as a tool for evaluating institutions’ strengths and weaknesses for executing their plans, and normative data from the current study may serve as a helpful reference point in these evaluations. One limitation of the current tool is that the dimensions of execution were highly correlated, reflecting a possible inability of survey respondents to differentiate such constructs as an organization’s culture and its communication practices.

Regardless of how inclusive the planning process was or how well-written the plan is, there are significant factors that impact successful plan implementation. I had the opportunity to take the initial draft of the SPIES Survey in 2013 and found it to be a valuable too. The results provided a very strong diagnostic for identifying institutional strengths that could lead to success as well as areas of needed development that could impede plan success if not addressed.

-Kathleen D Gaval, Ed.D., Higher Education Consultant and former VP for Planning at Saint Joseph’s University

How to Use

More than Just the Tool 
This is not a tool you have to purchase and implement yourself. We are partners in this process of helping you identify areas of strength and weaknesses, and turning those findings into action. Once you purchase the tool, you will receive a .PDF that explains the background research, the survey itself, and over 20 valuable findings from our research into strategic plan implementation and execution. We will also work with you to help ensure a successful deployment of the survey.

We used the SPIES survey with our President’s Cabinet and our Administrative Council and found the results very educational.  We were able to contrast the two group’s perceptions of our capacity to execute our strategic plan and now feel more informed about our strengths and weaknesses. I would highly recommend this instrument.

-Sandra L. McLean, MBA, SPHR Vice President of HR & Organizational Development

What You Get 

You will receive a complete download (pdf) of the assessment, including specific directions on how to use it. You will also receive an electronic link to administer the assessment with your team. You will see recommendations of key stakeholders that should participate in the assessment, however the assessment does not limit the number of users that can participate. Once we reach a certain threshold of responses, we will produce a complete report that will give you an X-Ray into your implementation strengths and opportunities. The report will share your overall results, break the results down by the six dimensions of implementation, look at how different stakeholder groups responded, and show a detailed item analysis so you know exactly which areas to take action on. You will also receive a 1-hour phone consultation session with higher education strategic planning expert, Patrick Sanaghan, to help in interpreting your results and developing next steps.

  • PDF Assessment and Instructions
  • Implementation guidance and consultation from the AI team
  • User-friendly Online Administration and Data Collection (no work on your end!)
  • 1-Hour Post-Assessment Consultation with Higher Education Strategic Planning Expert

If you have any questions about the tool, please contact Amit Mrig at 720-988-1210.

Included Products

When you order this product, you get all the following products for free!!