a. Explain the basic steps in the planning process.
Strategic planning is an important tool applied in business management as well as other fields in order to achieve a specific objective and implement an important action plan. The strategic planning process involves a number of basic steps as discussed below. These steps begin with planning and preparation and end in the implementation and review of the strategic plan.
The first step in the planning process is preparing goals and objectives of the strategic plan. Goals and objectives serve as the guidelines for the planning process. Goals and objectives provide measurable achievements that the planning process must meet. They also provide an excellent oversight for monitoring and review of the planning process (Barksdale & Lund, 2006).
The second step in the planning process involves carrying out a situational analysis. This analysis is aimed towards identifying the internal and external forces that are affecting the planning process. A situational analysis helps in ensuring that all the issues arising from the planning process are identified. Furthermore, it assists in determining all the risks that may impede the implementation process. Once the risks have been identified, a risk mitigation plan can be outlined in an effort to reduce the impact of the identified risks on the implementation of the strategic plan (Barksdale & Lund, 2006).
The third step in the planning process is developing a written action plan. The written action plan will provide the necessary implementation steps for the strategic plan. The written plan will also identify all the resources needed to implement the strategic plan as well as ensuring that the resources are correctly assigned to the implementation process. It will also identify the duration required for appropriate implementation of the strategic plan.
The fourth step involves implementing the written action plan. This involves completing all the required strategic steps in the written action plan. This also involves assigning all the required resources for implementation of the strategic plan (Barksdale & Lund, 2006). The resources assigned must be utilized efficiently in order to eliminate wastage.
The fifth step in the planning process is monitoring the implemented action plan in order to ensure it meets the goals and objectives laid out in the first step. This is a critical step as it helps in identifying changes needed in order to improve its efficiency. Monitoring also helps with ensuring that the action plan was implemented fully and works as required (Barksdale & Lund, 2006).
The last step in the planning process is reviewing and revising the action plan. This is done with an effort to improve the results drawn from the action plan implemented. The reviewing and revising steps helps in eliminating any problems identified in the previous step (Barksdale & Lund, 2006).
b. Describe the steps in the decision-making process, and predict how the personal attributes of the manager influence decision making.
Decision-making is critical in business as well as other fields. Decision-making helps business managers and leaders in picking between many different available alternatives. The steps in the decision making process will be discussed in detail below.
The first step in the process is identifying the problem that needs a solution. During this step, the business leader needs to list all the problems that have to be addressed. This will ensure that the solution selected best solves the problems faced (Williams, Hall, & Champion, 2011).
The second step in the process involves identifying all the available alternative solutions to the problem. All the available alternatives should be listed and prioritized. Once the alternative solutions have been identified, information should be gathered about each individual solution (Williams, Hall, & Champion, 2011).
The third step in the process is developing a decision matrix. This is a table that lists all the alternatives and their pros and cons. It helps the decision maker easily compare all the alternatives. Furthermore, it will also have a weighed criterion where each alternative will receive a score. This is important, as it will enable the decision maker to select the most appropriate solution for all the problems identified (Williams, Hall, & Champion, 2011).
The fourth step involves selecting the best decision. As stated earlier, based on the decision matrix developed, the alternative with the highest score should be selected. Once it has been selected, the decision maker should implement this decision. All the necessary resources should be assigned towards the implementation process.
The last step in the decision making process is reviewing and revising the alternative selected. This is critical as it helps in ensuring that the selected solution is the best and has been implemented effectively by the decision maker (Williams, Hall, & Champion, 2011).
The personal attributes of a manager may influence the decision making process since factors such as personal preferences may directly influence the decision made. As individuals, everyone has their own personal preferences that may directly linked to personal attributes. These personal preferences may directly affect how a manager views the different alternatives available in the decision making process. Furthermore, individualism also has a direct effect on the decisions made since uniqueness directly informs the decision made by an individual (Lussier & Achua, 2013). Lastly, personal factors such as experience may also directly influence the decision making process. This is mainly because experiences may directly influence the alternative selected (Lussier & Achua, 2013).
c. Predict how the steps of the strategic planning process and the environmental factors that influence decision-making impact the quality-productivity-profitability link.
All factors (environmental factors and the planning process) influencing decision-making have a positive impact on the quality-productivity-profitability link. From the strategic planning process discussion above, it is clear that business leaders need to follow a number of steps in order to develop an effective strategic plan. These steps are develop in order to ensure that the strategic plan developed is effective and efficient (Lussier & Achua, 2013).
Therefore, a business manager can use the steps identified to develop a strategic plan aimed towards improving the quality-productivity-profitability link. Once the effective strategic plan is in place, a business manager can be able to take the necessary steps towards ensuring that the link is efficient and a business is running optimally. For example, in a manufacturing company, strategic planning steps can be utilized in setting up an employee motivation program aimed towards increasing productivity as well as profits for the company.
Furthermore, environmental factors also have a direct link to the quality-productivity-profitability link. This is mainly because environmental factors take into account the internal and external forces affecting an organization. These factors directly influence the decision making process and affect the type of decision that a business leader can make. For example, as discussed above environmental factors such as the manager’s personal preference and experience may directly affect the type of decision made (Lussier & Achua, 2013). Other factors that may influence the decision-making process include the amount of resources available for implementing a specific decision. In conclusion, the quality of decision made directly affects the quality-productivity-profitability link.
Barksdale, S., & Lund, T. (2006). 10 steps to successful strategic planning. Alexandria, Va: ASTD Press.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2013). Leadership: Theory, application & skill development. Australia : South-Western Cengage Learning
Williams, C., Hall, I., & Champion, T. (2011). MGMT. Toronto: Nelson Education.