Initiating and agreeing on a strategic planning process
For strategic management to be effective, the key decision makers have to be involved. It would be company to involve people from three organizational levels. This is the top management, middle management and the technical department of the frontline staff. The top management is involved in communications within the organization and outsiders. They are also quick to perceive where there are mismatches between the organization and the environment. They are able to see the threats and opportunities in the external environment. More importantly they control the resources of the company and planning with them makes things easier (Bryson, 2004).
The middle management translates the strategies into operations and is therefore vital. They communicate the strategy to the people therefore; they help overcome resistance and make change easier. The technical staff needs to also be involved. These are the people who are most affected by the changes in an organization. They are aware of the day to day technologies of the organization. They are in constant contact with customers and suppliers. If they do not support the changes they can sabotage the organizations strategy (P. 3). Obviously, strategic management causes elimination of certain departments or employee positions. It is therefore important that the affected people be involved in the strategy planning so as to help them be more receptive to change in the form of retraining, ne jobs, and severance packages and placements assistance. Secondly the strategic plans should be developed over areas where the key decision makers have control over. It would not be wise to develop strategic plans where these key decision makers have no control over.
There are several steps involved in initiating and agreeing on a strategic plan. First of all, the process of strategic management is initiated by involving the key decision players. A person or group of people must champion the process of strategic planning. There should be an analysis of the organization’s readiness in accepting strategic change. This involves looking at the company's mission, finances, information technology, human resources and the leadership. Secondly the concept of strategic planning is introduced to the participants. The people have to know which aspects of the organizational structure, policy, practices cannot be altered and which aspects can be changed. If all aspects cannot be changed then strategic management cannot take place since strategic management involves change. On the other hand if everything can change this will scare the people and make them resistant to change. The participants need to understand what strategic planning is in practice and the implications therein. A commitment is required from each participant. The decisions players finally have to reach a mutual agreement. There are numerous benefits of an initial agreement in the strategy process. The members will appreciate the worth and the purpose of the strategy. The strategy will also be perceived to be in the best interests of everyone and not as an opportunity to serve particular people.
People will also be more receptive to change. The decision leaders are from several different departments therefore creating unity and great coordination. The participants also will know that there is a defined procedure and process of developing strategy. This ensures the process is fair and every person will be heard in the process. They are also sure that they will be informed of progress and the decisions that are made.
In fact they feel appreciated knowing they will be consulted on decision making. Another benefit of developing an initial agreement is that the people are certain the strategy process is rational (Bryson, 2004). The steps followed make sense, are coherent and are understood by all the team members. The strategy plan should be discussed and approved. The plan should also be monitored regularly every six months and updated yearly.
Clarifying Organizational Mandates and Mission.
The vision and mission of an organization show the public value the company will generate. For Non Governmental organizations, there has to be social justification for their existence. There are several important steps to be taken. The formal and informal mandates of the company must be communicated. What is required of the people and what is explicitly forbidden should also be communicated. Through strategic management the strategy team can decide which mandates are useful, which ones are not and need to be changed and even what the mission ought to be (p. 4).
Some organizations think they are really limited and that may not be the case. They just need to reevaluate their mission and goals. There are several benefits of clarifying the missions. First of all there is clarity on what is required and that which is not required. Secondly the more specific the goals the higher the probability it will be achieved by the members. The people will also be thinking of the potential avenues of creating public value since they know they are not really limited by the mandates. The process guidelines for this step are very clear.
Someone needs to write down the mandates of the organization. There should be a review of the mandates in terms of what is required, forbidden and allowed. For an NGO, there are several tests that the organization must pass. The first one is the organizational test.
The organization should be formed to benefit the society by achieving such goals such as education, religion, health, animal rights, promoting sports, literacy or science. It should also pass the political test such that the organization does not benefit one particular person in politics.
The organizational charter should forbid the organization from participation of campaigns of any political person. Finally there is the asset test where the organization should not participate in the distribution of assets with the aim of benefiting one particular person. This step in the strategic cycle is important as the members need clarity on what the organization aims to achieve and its mandate.
Bryson, J (2004). Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations, 3rd edition.