An Analysis on the Strategic Planning Process

Abstract

This research work will focus on comprehending the meaning, significance and process of strategic change cycle in a detailed manner. Bryson (2011) has developed an effective model that comprises of ten steps to assist an organization in the development of the strategies. By following these stages, an organization can develop the right strategies and implement them in an effective manner. During the course of this research work, the researcher will focus on discussing the ten steps of the strategic change cycle in detail with the help of different examples. The researcher will focus on a secondary research to conclude to the paper. This is a form of research under which the already existing literature is collected, studied and analyzed to draw a relevant conclusion. Hence, the researcher will focus on using text books, academic journals, newspapers, magazines etc.

Keywords: Strategic Planning, Strategy

Introduction

A strategic change cycle is mainly utilized to correlate the planning process of an organization with the vision, mission and values of an organization (Bryson, 2011). This implies that an organization should focus developing its strategies that may assist it to accomplish its long run vision. This will assist the organization in managing the entire organization in a strategic manner in order to gain a sustained growth in the future.  The key objective of the strategic change cycle is to make sure that the organization continues to provide maximum value to the stakeholders by undertaking the right strategies at the right time. With the help of the strategic change cycle, the organization should also ensure that a proper vigilance is kept on the internal and external environment to understand the future challenges and opportunities. Hence, this is one of the key concepts that may assist an organization to gain success.

Steps in the strategic planning process

  • Initiate and agree on a strategic planning process

This is the first step of the strategic planning process that aims at initiating the entire process in the organization. This implies that someone from within the organization should negotiate an agreement with the decision makers regarding a comprehensive planning process and the key steps that are involved in the same. It is quite obvious that an individual or an entire group should focus on undertaking this first step and initiating the entire process. This individual or group should understand who are the decision makers in the organization and who all should be involved in the strategic planning process. This will assist in developing an effective understanding and smoothening of the entire process. It should be noted that the key decision makers should agree on the following –

  • The aims and objectives of the strategic planning process
  • The key steps that are involved in the process
  • The individuals, groups or departments to be engaged in the execution and implementation
  • The form and timing of report
  • The role and function of every individual engaged in the process
  • The required resources for the execution and implementation
  • Any other positive or negative aspect that is associated with the entire process

Key terms: Strategic planning, Resource identification

 

  • Identify organizational mandates

Before the execution of the strategic planning process it is highly essential to understand the organizational mandates. These are considered as the ‘musts’ or the restrictions that are imposed on the organization by the article of associations, relevant legislation policies, ordinance, charters and many more. It should be noted that every organization should operate within the boundary of their mandates. If an organization goes beyond or goes against any of the mandate then it may be considered as unethical or immoral by the stakeholders and the entire society. The other mandates from the government, political and legal scenario is also crucial to be maintained. No organization should go against the laws prevailing in a country or state. For instance, when Wal-Mart entered the UK market, it lowered the prices of its products to magnetize the target audience and take the market share away from Tesco (its closest competitor in the UK). However, lowering the prices to such a huge extent goes against the pricing laws of the country and hence the government penalized Wal-Mart for undertaking unfair competition (Azad, 2009). Since Wal-Mart was taking losses on several product categories to gain the market share, it was penalized by the court of law (Needham, 2012). Another example can be in reference to the mandate on the environmental laws. In the UK, the environmental laws are very effective and they expect all the organizations to undertake environment friendly activities. Taking this into consideration, Wal-Mart had to invest an additional $ 1, 000, 00 to make sure that the packaging of its private label products is much more environment friendly (Azad, 2011, p51).

Key terms: Mandates, Business environment

  • Clarify organizational mission and values

It is highly essential for an organization to communicate its mission and values in an effective manner. This is mainly because the mission and value statement may assist the stakeholders and the entire society in developing a proper understanding of the organization’s business and its ethics. The mission of an organization is the statement that justifies its existence in the market, the business that it will undertake, the target audience that it will cater and the other useful information for the stakeholders. It should be noted that the mission statement of an organization should be short and crisp so that it is easily understood by all. Similarly, the organization should also develop a value statement that should throw light on its values towards the employees, customers and all the stakeholders that are associated with the organization.

Key terms: Mission, Vision, Value statement

  • Assess the external and internal environment to comprehend the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats

Business environment is the most crucial force that should be understood by the strategic planners. According to Baker (2000), business environment is a set of all those forces that may have a direct or indirect impact on the operations of an organization. This business environment of an organization is divided into two parts i.e. internal and external environment. The internal environment factors are inside the organization and are highly controllable by the management. For instance, men, money, material, machinery and many more are considered as the internal environment variables for an organization. The external environment is a set of all those factors that are outside the organization and are highly uncontrollable (Blythe, 2001). This implies that the organization has no control on the external environment variables. The external environment variables are mainly represented with the help of PESTLE analysis i.e. political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and environmental factors. It is highly essential for every organization to study and comprehend the business environment at the right time so that the business strategies can be planned in an effective manner. Apart from this, the analysis on business environment can also assist an organization in understanding its strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. The strengths and weaknesses are internal to an organization and hence can be studied easily with the help of an internal environment analysis. Similarly, the opportunities and threats are external and can be very conveniently judged with the help of the external environmental analysis.

Key terms: Internal environment, External environment

  • Identification of the strategic issues

The strategic issues are the fundamental key questions or problems that the organization is facing at present or may face in the near future. It should be noted that the company may not get affected by a strategic issue at present but such problems may create a lot of hassles for the organization in the near future. For instance, the increasing attrition rate of an organization is a strategic issue. It may not affect the company’s performance today but it can definitely affect the future performance of the company. The first four steps of the strategic planning process can also assist an organization in comprehending the strategic issues. This implies that an organization can easily determine the strategic issues. by initiating the planning process, understanding the mandates, evaluating the current practices and matching them with the mission and vision statements and analyzing the business environment variables to comprehend the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. Apart from this, an organization can also undertake a lot of brainstorming activities, quality circles and the other thinking techniques to make sure that all the strategic issues are well identified and resolved. This may assist the organization in gaining a sustained growth. There are three main components of strategic issue identification. They are –

  1. The issue should be ideally defined in a single paragraph. This is necessary to maintain clarity and transparency
  2. The entire team should write down the factors that are acting as a fundamental challenge to the organization
  3. The team should also list the consequences of the failure to address the strategic issues.

Key terms: Planning process, Strategic issues

  • Formulate strategies to manage the issues

A strategy can be defined as a blueprint that can assist an organization in taking the future decisions with high efficiency. It is very much important for every organization to make sure that the right strategies are formulated at the right time so that the organization can gain a sustained growth. If an organization is unable to formulate the right strategies then it may become difficult to even survive in the long future. There are numerous approaches and method with the help of which an organization can prepare its future strategies (Needham, 2012). However, in the research work, the author has focused on two main approaches. The first approach is the five part approach under which the organization follows a five step approach to better prepare its strategies for the long run. The second approach is the mapping process under which the organization has to create relationships within the different variables in order to develop better strategies. No matter which approach an organization follows, it should be understood that by developing the right strategies, an organization can succeed in the long run and provide high satisfaction to the stakeholders. The most interesting thing about this step was to undertake innovative process that is used to develop the new strategies.

Key terms: Strategic development, Brainstorming

 

  • Review and adopt the strategies or the strategic plan

After developing the right strategies at the right time, the organization has to make sure that the strategies are effectively reviewed. This implies that the organization should comprehend its present goals, objectives and then review whether the developed strategies will assist in accomplishing them or not. Apart from this, the organization should also review the internal and external environment to make sure that they understand whether the developed strategies are in synchronization with the business environment. For this, the organization should create a team or an official to make sure that the review is undertaken in an effective manner. The most interesting part of this step is to develop the right means of reviewing the strategies. It is not an easy task for the organizations to review the entire strategic plans but with the help of this step, an organization can easily do the same.

Key terms: Review, Monitoring, Strategic plans

  • Establish and effective organization vision

Vision of an organization is always defined as a long run dream that highlights where it wants to reach in the future. As per many experts, it is highly essential for an organization to develop its vision statement. This is a direct signal of clarity, transparency and credibility of an organization. The strategies of the organization should enable it to accomplish the vision in an effective manner. It should also be noted that the vision may or may not be accomplished but it is a communication to all the stakeholders of the company. Also, it must be noted that the stakeholders also expect an organization to develop a clear cut vision because it tells the value that can be derived (Frost, 2015). The mission and value statement of an organization should also compliment the vision statement of an organization. Hence, this is the most important statement for an organization.

Key terms: Vision

  • Develop and effective implementation process

The implementation of the strategic plan is also a very crucial stage of the entire strategic planning process. This is mainly because without an effective implementation, it is not possible to be successful and gain a sustained growth. The organization has to make sure that it arranges all the necessary resources for the implementation of the strategies. For instance, there are three main resources that are very much required for the implementation of the strategies. They are money, employees and technology. With the help of these three resources, an organization may implement the strategies in an effective manner. However, the resources may differ from one organization to another. Apart from this, the organization should also create and action plan and steps that the entire planning process will go through. It is also advised that the organization should understand the expected results and milestones which may assist the organization in the evaluation process later on. Lastly, the organization should also focus on creating an effective communication system during the implementation system. Communication is the heart and soul of a business enterprise and hence it is highly required to create an effective communication plan for the implementation of the business strategies.

Key terms: Implementation, Resource management

  • Reassess strategies and the strategic planning process

After the implementation of the strategic planning process, the organization should again reassess all the strategies and the entire process. This will assist the organization in evaluating whether the strategies have been implemented in an effective manner or not. In the previous stage, the organization has also developed some expected results and the milestone that the organization should accomplish with the mentioned strategies (Sharma, 2016). Hence, these benchmarks can now assist the organization in reassessing or evaluating whether the strategies are implemented in an effective manner or not. The strategic planning process should be reassessed to comprehend its strength and weaknesses. This may also assist the organization and act as a future reference. This implies that whenever the organization is preparing a strategic planning process in the future, it can learn from the strengths and weaknesses of the previous plans. Hence, this can act as a reference for the future strategic plans.

Key terms: Reassessing process, Benchmarking

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it can be very well stated that strategic management plan is highly crucial for the success of an organization. Bryson (2011) has developed an effective model that comprises of ten steps to assist an organization in the development of the strategies. By following these stages, an organization can develop the right strategies and implement them in an effective manner.

 

 

 

References

Azad, P. (2009). Retail Management. APH publishing Corp

Azad, P. (2011). Marketing Management. APH Publishing Corp, New Delhi

Baker, M. (2000).Marketing Management and Strategy. 3rd edition, Macmillan Business.

Blythe, J. (2001). Essentials of Marketing. 2nd edition, Prentice Hall

Bryson, J. M. (2011). Bryson on Strategic Planning : Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations : A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement (4). Hoboken. US: Jossey-Bass.

Frost, S. (2015). What elements must be taken into consideration when developing the communication policy designed?. Houston Chronicle.

Needham, D. (2012). Business for Higher Awards. Oxford, England: Heinemann.

Sharma, S. (2016). Strategic planning in nonprofit companies. The Marketing Masterminds journal

 

 

 

 

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