Strategic Planning

Planning is the conscious, systematic process of making decisions about goals and activities that an individual, group, work unit, or organization will pursue in the future. Planning is not an informal or haphazard response to a crisis. (Bateman-Snell, 2003) The basic planning process begging with the situational analysis which is a process that planners use to gather, interpret and summarize all information relevant to the planning issue under consideration within a time and resource constraints.

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This analysis studies past events, examines current conditions, and attempts to forecast future trends. A thorough situational analysis will point toward the planning decisions that organization will need to make (Bateman-Snell, 2003). During strategic planning, planners often conduct a “SWOT analysis” and use a variety of assessments, or methods, to “measure” the health of systems. The second step is set alternative goals and plans, because the process should generate alternative goals that may be pursued in the future and the alternative plans that may be used to achieve those goals.

This step in the process should stress creativity and encourage managers and employees to assume a broad perspective on their jobs. Evaluation of the merits of these alternative goals and plans should be delayed until a range of alternatives has been developed; goals are the targets or ends the manager wants to reach and should be specific, challenging, and realistic, also should be quantified and linked to a time frame. Plans are the actions or means the manager intends to use to achieve goals, the resources required to reach the goal through those means, and the obstacles that may develop.

Between the types of plans are the single-use plans, which are designed to achieve a set of goals that are not likely to be repeated in the future. The standing plans, which are focus on ongoing activities designed to achieve an enduring set of goals. The contingency plans might be referred to as “what if” plans and they include sets of actions to be taken when a company’s initial plans have not worked well or if events in the external environment require a sudden change (Bateman-Snell, 2003).

Strategies or Activities are the methods or processes required in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals and resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc. , required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are often depicted in the form of a budget (McNamara, 2008). The third step is the goal and plan evaluation, due the decision makers must evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and potential effects of each alternative goal and plan.

They must prioritize those goals or even eliminate some from further consideration; and the manager needs to consider the implications of alternative plans designed to meet high-priority goals. Fourth, the goal and plan selection must set the appropriate and feasible goals and plans, because should identify the priorities and trade-offs among goals and plans and leave the final choice to the decision maker, which must have an experienced judgment (Bateman-Snell, 2003). The implementation is the next step, because the best plans are useless unless they are implemented properly to archive the goals.

A successful implementation requires that the plan be linked to other systems in the organization, particularly with the budget and the reward systems; finally, the monitor and control is essential, due the managers must continually monitor the actual performance of their work units according to the unit’s goals and plans. And must develop also control systems that allow the organization to take the corrective action when the plans are implemented improperly or when the situation changes (Bateman-Snell, 2003).

Strategic planning involves a set of procedures for making decisions about the organization’s long-term goals and strategies, have a strong external orientation and cover major portions of the organization. The strategic goals are a major targets or end results relating to the organization’s long-term survival, value, growth and include various measures of return to shareholders, profitability, quantity and quality of outputs, market share, productivity, and contribution to society.

The strategy is a pattern of actions and resource allocations designed to achieve the organization’s goals and are an attempt to match the skills and resources of the organization to the opportunities found in the external environment. The implements should be directed toward building strengths in areas that satisfy the wants and needs of consumers and other key factors in the organization’s external environment (Bateman-Snell, 2003).