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A Commentary on Strategic Planning Published: Sunday, April 17, 2005 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

The planning process is an evolutionary venture that encourages and it’s consistent with an open-system perspective of the organizations. This means that the internal processes of any given organization have to be coupled to the market and/or an external environment in which it operates, and vice versa.

We work with many and different kind of organizations facilitating the planning process. This means that we intervene in various points within the organization in order to perform an advisory strategic function. While executing these tasks one useful concept of how a planning process operates in large diversified organizations identifies three levels of strategy (top-level executives, divisional managers, and functional managers) and three cycles of strategy. Our empirical experience dictates that even when organizations have a planning staff, managers should never neglect planning as individuals for their own units.

Three kinds of action plans are tactical plans, single-use plans, and standing plans. Tactics are an organized consequence of plans designed to execute strategic decisions and achieve strategic goals. Single-use plans are those designed to carry out a course of action that is not likely to be repeated in the future. Programs and projects are example of single-use plans. Standing plans, at the other extreme, are plans structured to carry out courses of action that is likely to be repeated several times. Policies, standard of operating procedures, and rules and regulations all point to elements of standing plans.

Organizations plan over three times horizon: long-range (greater than 5 years), intermediate (between 1 and 5 years), and short range (1 year or less). Short range plans also include operational and reaction activities. It is crucial that plans spanning different time horizons be properly integrated.

There is five core organizational components involve in the planning process: (1) the board of directors, (2) chief executive officer, (3) planning staff, (4) executive committee, and (5) line management.

With the intensity and the rate of rapid change within any dynamic market or business environment a contingency perspective about planning is more than necessary. It refers to the development of alternative courses of actions or even scenarios to be taken if an intended plan is unexpectedly disrupted. Contingency planning is an important process for all organizations.

Barriers to the planning process include dynamic and complex environments, a reluctance to establish and work with goals, resistance to change, various constraints, and the time and investment involve. Methods for overcoming these barriers include starting at the top, recognizing the concrete scope of planning, careful communication, stakeholder strategy, a broad base of participation, effective integration of time frames, contingency planning and the deployment of a robust exercise of leadership, as a set of directive, supportive, participate and achievement-oriented behaviors.

 


Copyright 2005 QBS, Inc.

 

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