Strategic Planning: An Organizational Effectiveness Essential
Strategic planning can be defined as an organization’s process of defining and refining its strategy, or direction, and making decision on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people.
For-profit and non-profit organizations implementing strategic planning may ask the questions of:
- What consumers do we currently serve?
- Who are our potential consumers?
- Who are our current funders/donors or largest clients/accounts?
- Who are our potential employees or volunteers?
- What clients or funding sources would be like to add to our portfolio?
- How do we differentiating our products or services from the competition?
- How do we approach our various target audiences?
- What do we need to plan for?
Strategic planning involves the creation of a plan based on information gathered by asking the right questions with concern to the organization’s internal and external environments, an analysis of its past and present, organizational culture, and application of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats via a (SWOT) analysis.
It appears that an organization that wishes to successfully employ strategic planning must be adaptable enough to learn from changes in its internal and external environments, communicated via information and energy from its subsystems and its task environment, and this requires it to be relatively open to receiving said information/energy and hence, open to change. When the structure and/or culture of the organization are too rigid to admit of adaptation, the organization is relatively closed and cannot be a learning organization.
What’s your organization’s challenge?
Today’s organizations are challenged with increasing demands that they effectively manage significant change, especially cultural change, and to do so involves the use of knowledge management as a catalyst to ensure future competitiveness. Knowledge management is suggested to be one of an increasing number of intangible assets that an organization must be aware of, and thus create a plan to ensure the sharing of knowledge between employees and between organizations. This is of paramount importance for an organization to gain and keep a competitive advantage.
An organization with a hierarchical structure is typically more rigid and focused on functionalities and often ignores the input needed from its environments to provide timely, customized solutions for consumers’ needs. Organizations are better served by a collaborative people-and-process model than by rigid functional hierarchies.
What are the top three priorities?
It is recommended that organizations have strategic planning as its top priority. Of utmost importance in that strategic plan are:
- Knowledge Management – harnessing the power of knowledge and creating networks for information sharing
- Managerial Cultural Competence – enabling its adaptation to the diverse demographics of its internal and external environment
- Ethical Foundations – creation of a culture that acknowledges and makes use of employees’ moral compasses
There are several aspects to the successful organization, but among them are emphases on strategic thought, action, and adaptation. As organizations synthesize experience and perception with effective strategy, the need for critically sound foundations for the implementation of these strategies grows. Likewise, so does the need to identify and align partnerships. The importance of linkages, coalitions and networks becomes indispensable, and directly proportional to the internal environment’s strengths and weaknesses and the external environments’ complexities. An organization’s ability to be effective depends upon its success in creating, making actionable, and learning from its strategies’ implementation.