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Models of strategic planning
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DescriptionModels of strategic planning
Model Four - Scenario Planning
This approach might be used in conjunction with other models to ensure planners truly undertake strategic thinking. The model may be useful, particularly in identifying strategic issues and goals.
1. Select several external forces and imagine related changes which might influence the organization, e.g., change in regulations, demographic changes, etc. Scanning the newspaper for key headlines often suggests potential changes that might effect the organization.
2. For each change in a force, discuss three different future organizational scenarios (including best case, worst case, and OK/reasonable case) which might arise with the organization as a result of each change. Reviewing the worst-case scenario often provokes strong motivation to change the organization.
3. Suggest what the organization might do, or potential strategies, in each of the three scenarios to respond to each change.
4. Planners soon detect common considerations or strategies that must be addressed to respond to possible external changes.
5. Select the most likely external changes to effect the organization, e.g., over the next three to five years, and identify the most reasonable strategies the organization can undertake to respond to the change.
Model Five - “Organic” (or Self-Organizing) Planning
Traditional strategic planning processes are sometimes considered “mechanistic” or “linear,” i.e., they’re rather general-to-specific or cause-and-effect in nature. For example, the processes often begin by conducting a broad assessment of the external and internal environments of the organization, conducting a strategic analysis (“SWOT” analysis), narrowing down to identifying and prioritizing issues, and then developing specific strategies to address the specific issues.
Another view of planning is similar to the development of an organism, i.e., an “organic,” self-organizing process. Certain cultures, e.g., Native American Indians, might prefer unfolding and naturalistic “organic” planning processes more than the traditional mechanistic, linear processes. Self-organizing requires continual reference to common values, dialoguing around these values, and continued shared reflection around the systems current processes. General steps include:
1. Clarify and articulate the organization’s cultural values. Use dialogue and story-boarding techniques.
2. Articulate the group’s vision for the organization. Use dialogue and story-boarding techniques.
3. On an ongoing basis, e.g., once every quarter, dialogue about what processes are needed to arrive at the vision and what the group is going to do now about those processes.
4. Continually remind yourself and others that this type of naturalistic planning is never really “over with,” and that, rather, the group needs to learn to conduct its own values clarification, dialogue/reflection, and process updates.
5. Be very, very patient.
6. Focus on learning and less on method.
7. Ask the group to reflect on how the organization will portray its strategic plans to stakeholders, etc., who often expect the “mechanistic, linear” plan formats.
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