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Strategic Management Essay, Research Paper

Strategic direction

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What is Strategic Management? Strategic planning is a procedure to supply way and significance to daily activities. It examines an organisation & # 8217 ; s values, current position, and environment, and relates those factors to the organisation & # 8217 ; s desired future province, normally expressed in five- to ten-year clip periods. The organisation may be a plan, school, school territory, public or private bureau, or any other establishment that wishes to command its hereafter. If the organisation existed in a inactive environment in which no alteration was necessary or desired, there would be no demand for strategic planning. But, our environment is altering -demographically, economically, and culturally. Therefore, strategic planning is both a reaction to, and a tool for accommodating to, those alterations and making an organisation & # 8217 ; s hereafter within the context of alteration. McCune describes strategic planning as a procedure for organisational reclamation and transmutation. She identifies another difference between long-range planning and strategic planning: in long-range planning, ends and projections are based on the premise of organisational stableness, while in strategic planning ; the function of the organisation is examined within the context of its environment. Strategic be aftering provides the agencies for an organisation to accommodate its services and activities to run into altering demands in its environment. It provides a model non merely for the betterment of plans but besides for the restructuring of plans, direction, and coactions, and for rating of the organisation & # 8217 ; s advancement in these attempts. ( 1 ) What Does It Involve? As a procedure, strategic be aftering involves an orderly sequence of activities, each vital to the success of the whole. Strategic planning activities include: 1. Measuring the external environment. 2. Measuring internal capacity. 3. Developing ends and aims. 4. Implementing the program. 5. Measuring advancement and revising the program. ( 1 ) The planning procedure depends on a formal information system. The external and internal appraisals provide a world base on which to construct future programs. The vision or mission identifies the organisation & # 8217 ; s aim and its coveted hereafter province. The procedure of internal appraisal and future visioning may bring out, with in an organisation, differing positions of its intent, its current degree of effectual cape, and its potency for the hereafter. Therefore, consensus edifice may be an of import component of these stages. Once consensus is reached, the practical stairss necessary for making that hereafter province over a given period of clip & # 8211 ; the ends and aims of the organisation can be identified and actualized in the execution stage. Evaluation and alteration occur at the terminal of the planning rhythm, but may happen at any phase with in the planning procedure. Why Do It? In the simplest footings, a strategic program can assist better public presentation. School staff or members of any organisation, can go so bogged down in everyday operation and day-to-day challenges, they can lose sight of the organisation & # 8217 ; s aim. A strategic program can non merely refocus members & # 8217 ; sense of intent, but can excite future-oriented thought based on a shared sense of mission. Collaboration between members of an organisation is more effectual when everyone is working with in the same set of premises and toward the same ends. Today & # 8217 ; s educational system must get by with alterations in demographics, household forms, and workplace demands. Many of these alterations provide interrelated challenges to the system. Sing them as a web of jobs may be overpowering ; seting them in the position of an organized strategic program allows the organisation to cover with them in a co-ordinated manner, turn toing pieces of the jobs as portion of a patterned advance toward a entire solution. ( 3 ) This allows the organisation to act upon its environment and take control of its hereafter, instead than responding to it. Strategic planning is non an appropriate activity for every organisation at all times. When an organisation is in crisis, when its really being is in inquiry, the crisis must be addressed before any other activity is initiated. Strategic planning makes no sense when the organisation & # 8217 ; s hereafter is in uncertainty. Developing ends and aims. Who, what, when, where, why, and how is non merely the mantra of journalists, it is besides the guideline for developing ends and aims. And, the future vision of the organization- the why- is the steering force in their development. ( 1 ) Specific ends, what is to be achieved, are identified to assist travel the organisation from its current province to the desired hereafter province. Goals may be consecutive over, for illustration, a five-year strategic program, with a completion day of the month specified for each end. The aims may be considered action stairss, the accretion of accomplishments necessary for achieving each end. Objectives answer the inquiries of who is responsible, what specifically will be done, how and where it will be done, and when it will be completed. The ends and aims must at all times convey a sense of motion toward the coveted terminal province. Pfeiffer and others refer to this phase as strategic concern mold. ( 3 ) For them, the strategic concern theoretical account consists of two parts: the strategic profile, which states the concern & # 8217 ; ends in quantified footings ; and clear statements stating how each end will be achieved. ( 3 ) As with ends and aims, strategic concern mold must be compatible with the organisation & # 8217 ; s vision for the hereafter. This is the kernel of the full strategic program. As a papers, it clearly and briefly outlines the consequences of the predating stairss. It builds from a statement of the current state of affairs to a description of the coveted hereafter state of affairs, with a design of how that hereafter is to be achieved. Section headers may include: The strategic program should be the organisation & # 8217 ; s steering spirit, supplying a common sense of way and intent. It need non place every measure in the procedure ; that can be left to the execution program. The guideline, nevertheless, must be normally agreed upon and in topographic point before daily activity can hold meaningful execution. Measuring the external environment. There are many ways to measure the external environment. Swerve analysis is a method of analyzing alterations over clip in order to anticip

ate future conditions and events. Trends within the economic, demographic, social, and political arenas, sometimes referred to as the macro-environment, can also be examined in relation to each other to identify patterns that may have implications for the organization’s future. (4) Competition is a factor to be examined in the external environment. Some members of social service and educational organizations think they are outside of the competitive market place, but that is not the case. The competition for limited funding is fairly clear. The turf problems frequently encountered between agencies are, at heart, competition for clients. An important factor for community educators is assessing current needs and projecting future needs for the community as a whole and for the various constituencies that may be served by the community education program both now and in the future. Typical questions posed during an external assessment include: ? What is my community like today? ? Are the demographics changing? How? ? What are the implications of today’s trends for the future of my community? ? What other agencies currently serve my community? ? What services do they provide? To whom? ? What needs exist today? ? What needs are anticipated for tomorrow? How Is It Done? The most basic question to ask before starting a strategic planning process is whether to develop a strategic plan. Unless this question is answered honestly in terms of the organization’s current status and the attitudes of its members and leadership, the planning process may be doomed before it begins.(2) The question of whether or not to develop a strategic plan may be based on answers to the following questions: ? What purpose will the strategic plan serve? ? How will it help the organization? ? Will it be better than the system we use now? ? Are those in leadership positions committed to strategic planning? ? How much will it cost in terms of time and personnel effort? ? Who should be on the planning team? ? Does anyone have experience with strategic planning? ? Do we think we can do it? If the answers to these questions support the development of a strategic plan, then the process can be initiated. Strategic planning can be accomplished in as little as four to six two-hour planning sessions. (4) It is important to stay focused on the critical issues. The planning design frequently calls for a small team to direct efforts and develop the written document, but input should come from the entire organization so that each member has a stake in the process and outcome. Team members should work well together, be committed to the process, and be respected by their peers. Whoever leads the planning team should understand planning well enough to help others through the process. If this is a first-time experience for everyone involved, out side expertise may be useful to provide an initial orientation or a jump-start. With this in mind, a planning team can work through the steps of the planning process, adapting and adjusting the procedure to fit the organization and its members. Implementing of Strategies. Implementation shifts the organizations focus from developing the strategic plan to acting upon it. This occurs not only at the organizational level but within each program or unit of the school or organization. The degree to which the plan was developed through honest self-examination, environmental scanning, and stake holder involvement can determine the ease- or difficulty- the organization will experience in moving toward its envisioned future state. Implementation is, in effect, a reality check on the assumptions and future visioning of the planning process and a test of the organization’s capacity, unit by unit, to achieve its stated goals. Implementation may require greater specificity in the objectives, a detailed description of the steps that must be taken in each unit or program in order to reach the organization’s long-term goals. The focus here is on the short-term activities that lead to goal achievement. Implementation can also serve as a strategic management tool, providing both a framework for staff development and a solid basis for evaluating progress. Evaluating progress and revising plans. Although listed as a separate set of activities, evaluation and revision are implied in every step of strategic planning. If continuous evaluation and revision have been an integral part of the strategic plan development process, formal evaluation and revision following implementation are unlikely to involve major changes. The advantages of this are obvious. Each step of the strategic planning process involves a degree of investment by the organization in terms of time, energy, and commitment. (2) The later in the planning process a major revision occurs, the greater retrenchment necessary.(1) Strategic planning requires a broad base of in formation. It involves stakeholders in order to develop consensus around a future vision for the organization and the specific steps or activities necessary to reach that future. With faulty information or lack of consensus, there is an insufficient base to support the future vision. Thus, evaluation and revision must begin with the first steps of developing a strategic plan to ensure an adequate base for further development. Additionally, the environment is not static during the development of a strategic plan. Revisions may be necessitated by changing events or changes in personnel, funding patterns, or needs. Summary Some groups of people, or inspired leaders, have a natural ability to respond quickly and effectively to new challenges and opportunities, making strategic planning superfluous. However, for most organizations and most organization members, strategic planning provides a powerful framework. Developing a strategic plan can be expensive, especially in terms of personnel time and energy. This cost must be considered in relation to the expected benefits. For some organizations or units within an organization, strategic planning is a burden imposed by a higher authority – a funding source or an umbrella organization. If there is no internal commitment to the plan, and no intent to implement it, strategic planning is a waste of time and energy. In sum, strategic planning is for those who are willing to be honest, who want to focus on revitalization, and who are committed to influencing and creating their future.

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