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Strategic planning is a process of setting priorities, making decisions, directing resources and outlining strategies in an organization. The strategies are executed by a strategic planner who also involves other parties and relies on research sources to get information about the organisation and its environment. Strategic planning will determined whether an organisation will succeed and the actions they are going to take. A strategic plan is meant to communicate the goal of the organisation and what action to take in order to achieve the goals. The important thing about strategic planning is that it helps the management to focus on the ultimate objectives.
Basic Steps in the Planning Process
The first step in planning is getting ready for a strategic plan. Determine whether the organisation is ready for a strategic plan. The leadership of the organisation should be committed to the goals of the organization. In order for an organisation to be ready they should be able to identify the issue to be address, clearly define roles, come up with a committee that will plan and find a way to collect the necessary information needed (Bryson, J. M. 2011).
The second step focus on where the company should be heading. Clearly set out the mission and vision of the organisation. A mission communicates the importance of the organisation. The essence of a mission is to communicate the purpose, business and the values of the organisation (Bryson, J. M. 2011). The mission and vision of the organisation is a form of commitment as to why it exists and what they do.
In step three define the objective that the organisation should achieve. The important action is to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to an organisation. This information is meant to show the critical issues affecting the organisation. The planning committee should come up with critical issues that need to be looked into. The information gathered should be accurate in order to help them make decisions on the critical issues.
In the fourth step the idea is to create goals, objectives and strategies. The organisation should come up with strategies for the critical issues identified. A lot of discussion and information is needed here. The planners should come up with the goals, strategies and objectives with the idea of the mission and vision in mind in response to the critical issues being experienced in the organisation.
In the final step, it involved putting the whole process down in paper. After it has been written it will be taken to other parties for review. The members will consult with each other to see whether the plan will yield to success (Bryson, J. M. 2011). Members can raise any question or issue; the document can be revised to ensure it meets the goals and objectives. When everyone is satisfied the strategic plan can now be implemented.
Steps in Decision Making Process
First identify the problem that needs to be solved. In order to come up with a solution a decision must be made (Garvin, D. A. 2012). For example a supervisor might realise most employees are exhausted during working hour, hence level of productivity has gone down.
The second step is to gather information, in order to make a decision it’s important to have all the relevant information (Garvin, D. A. 2012). It’s important to find the best and relevant source of information. In the case of the example used the supervisor will gather information from the employees and also carry out their own investigation to determine why the employees seem exhausted.
In the third step analyse the situation and come up with alternative solutions. After all the information has been gathered it’s possible to come up with more than one alternative for the problem. Make a list of desirable solutions after brainstorming all the relevant information.
The fourth steps choose an alternative to the problem. After going through all the solutions outlined, pick one that is mostly to succeed, gather more information if it’s necessary. Seek second opinion to get the views of others. A second opinion might give you a new perspective to the solution (Garvin, D. A. 2012).
In the fifth step implement a decision, after thorough consideration go with the best solution and implement it without trying to second guess your decision. Ensure that everyone is aware of the decision and they are on the board with the plans put forward.
Lastly monitor the implementation of the plan and evaluate if it’s working well. If it’s working well ensure that everyone is adapting well to the decision and if it’s not working change to another potential solution.
Personal attributes can influence the process of decision making for example past experience. Previous decisions made in the past mainly influence the future. If the manager made a decision and the outcome was positive they are likely to reason in a similar way, if they outcome was negative they will avoid that line of solution (Garvin, D. A. 2012). Another attribute that influence decision is cognitive biases. Example of cognitive bias is generalisation which may lead to poor judgement, illogical thinking and faulty memory. Cognitive biases influence people to rely on the previous knowledge and disregard the information they have. This will influence poor decision making. Individual differences such as age, socio-economic and cognitive abilities are also factors that influence decision making process. Cognitive performance decline with age, older people tend to prefer few choices as compared to younger individuals. (Krajewski, et al 2012).
In evaluating a strategy we look at whether the plan is suitable for the organisation. The strategies should identify and solve the key issues in the organisation. Suitability assesses the rationale of the strategy, if the strategy is good and likely to be a success it can be implemented. By assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat of an organisation they should be able to have a plan that will improve the quality of service offered. By ceasing the available opportunities in the external environment they should be able to improve on productivity and profits. A suitable strategy will merge with the mission and vision of the organisation. A suitable strategic plan should be able to work to the advantage of the organisation (Krajewski, et al 2012).
The feasibility of a plan mainly depends on whether the organisation has the resources to implement the plan, by resources I mean market access, time, personnel and funds. These resources will determine whether the plan will be carried out or not. For example if the plan requires experts in IT and they are not available it means the plan will not be executed as intended. A breakdown of the strategic plan will allow the organisation to know how feasible their plan is. If the input is in check, it is then used to generate an output. If the plan is feasible then the output will generate good quality, high profits and high productivity.
Acceptability is all about meeting the expectation of the organisation and the customers. The organisation should be aware of the strategic plan and the risk involved. The plans put in place should provide expected returns. The employees are mainly concerned with the non-financial aspect hence they should strive to work hard to meet the expectations of the organisations. If every member of the organisation is put on board with the plans of the organisations they should strive to achieve nothing less of the intended.
In conclusion strategic planning is critical for the success of any organisation. Strategic planning is first approach to problem solving and it should be done at the appropriate time and with the right task force.
Bryson, J. M. (2011). Strategic planning for public and non-profit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement (Vol. 1). John Wiley & Sons.
Garvin, D. A. (2012). The processes of organization and management. Sloan management review, 39.
Krajewski, L. J., Ritzman, L. P., & Malhotra, M. K. (2012). Operations management. Pearson Education Limited.