2 Discussion responses (250 word minimum each)


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1. Respond to Lee Gibson

“If done correctly, strategic planning provides an organization, entity, or agency the opportunity to define what it is, what it does, and why it is endeavoring to do it (Bryson, 2018). From the beginning, it is essential to note that strategic planning is a process to develop and refine the above factors and will not succeed without leadership and stakeholder buy-in and successful implementation of the determined approach by organizational leadership. To ensure strategic planning occurs in a “deliberative” and “disciplined” (Bryson, 2018, p. 8) manner, the use of a tested framework is critical. Bryson (2018) recommends using the ten-step Strategic Change Cycle (SCC). The key characteristic of this approach is that the SCC is not a linear progression of steps to attain a strategic plan. However, it is a multi-step process that allows and encourages movement back and forth to allow for the evolution of ideas as the process unfolds. The ten steps include: 1. Initiating and agreeing on a strategic planning process, 2. Identifying organizational mandates, 3. Clarifying missions and values, 4. Assessing external and internal environments to identify SWOT, 5. Identifying strategic issues, 6. Formulating strategies to manage the issues, 7. Reviewing and adopting the strategic plan, 8. Establishing an effective vision, 9. Developing an implementation process, and 10. Reassessing.

While this discussion post does not provide the space for thoroughly reviewing each step, the most crucial steps are initiating the process, clarifying the mission and values, identifying issues, and adopting the plan. Step one is critical because nothing else will occur if the organization does not first determine it needs a strategic plan (or a new one). For the planning process to begin, the organization must also determine who will make the key decisions and what people or groups will make up the planning team. Step three is critical because the plan will focus on building the organization towards a goal that is based on the mission and values of the organization. Leaders must determine the organization’s ultimate purpose and the fundamental values that will guide it to its ideal state. Part of assessing the SWOT of the organization and formulating mitigation strategies requires a thorough understanding of the current issues affecting the organization. Step five provides crucial identification of issues from which the plans will be made to address through avoidance, mitigation, or elimination. Finally, ensuring the leadership team is willing and able to implement the plan with all required follow-up and follow-through makes the process worthwhile.

Strategic Planning in Practice

Cheung and Yu (2020) examined the process undertaken by the Hong Kong police department (HKPD) in their strategic planning process for the 2019–2021 time frame. The HKPD routinely engages in a three-year strategic planning cycle that has proven successful. The process utilized by HKPD is a five-step approach that starts with an environmental scan (step one) that endeavors to understand current local and worldwide trends in law enforcement. Following the scan, the senior officers within the department engage in discussion and interviews to identify the primary issues (step two). Based on the identified issues, the senior officers create strategic directions (step three) from which they formulate options (step four) to address and implement the strategic directions. Finally, the team molds the options into a strategic action plan (step five), which is then executed during the three years of performance.

In a study of the usefulness of strategic planning amongst municipalities, Johnsen (2021) found that using various mandatory documents, such as financial plans, to drive strategic planning created a null or negative effect on the entity. In contrast, allowing strategic planning to occur voluntarily with approaches derived organically resulted in positive returns and a desire to utilize further.

Biblical Worldview

The Bible provides numerous examples of strategic planning from God and His followers in the Old and New Testaments. The story of Joseph told throughout the book of Genesis, describes God’s multi-year plan for a small boy from nowhere to become a great ruler of Egypt whose actions prevent an entire civilization from starving. The key to this story is not that Joseph is a great man but that he remained faithful to God’s plan, even through multiple bouts of prison, enslavement, and persecution. Jesus, when addressing a large crowd, provides another lesson on the importance of planning when He states, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). This simple illustration demonstrates the need for people to understand and plan for what they are undertaking.

2.Response to Amanda Michaud

Strategic planning is an important process for many organizations to try and reach their goals. Strategic planning can be defined as a systematic approach to accomplishment of goals (Wright, 2020). This is implemented in many organizations and businesses. There are 10 steps in the strategic planning cycle which will all be discussed and evaluated. The first step of the cycle is to initiate and agree on a strategic planning process (Bryson, 2018). This step is first because without a plan of action between important leaders it would be difficult to complete goals and have beneficial outcomes. In this first step an agreement between internal and external decision makers is agreed upon and ideas for strategic planning should be established (Bryson, 2018). This step really helps begin the planning process. The next step in the strategic planning cycle is to identify organizational mandates (Bryson, 2018). Depending on the type of organization or business, there may be constraints, mandates, rules or procedures which must be followed and this is important when implementing a strategic plan. Another issue and why this step is important is because many members of an organization are unaware of these and the strategic plans do not include them and ultimately must be changed or discarded (Bryson, 2018). This can slow down the efficiency an organization is attempting to attain by having to make a brand new strategic plan. The third step of the strategic planning cycle is to clarify organization mission and values (Bryson, 2018). This step is important to consider to ensure that the values and missions of an organization align with the strategic plan. The fourth step is to assess the organization’s external and internal environments (Bryson, 2018). This step is important so a strategic plan shows to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the environment which will have an impact to the plan (Bryson, 2018). The fifth step of the cycle is to identify the strategic issues which face an organization (Bryson, 2018). This step can be difficult for many ways especially if the strategic issues may not be as clear. In the identification of these possible issues, there should also be a plan implemented in case the issues end up arising and a worst case scenario has already been established. The sixth step of the cycle is to formulate strategies and plans to manage issues (Bryson, 2018). This step is a result of the previous step and is a solution to a worse case scenario. The seventh step is to review and adopt the strategy and plan (Bryson, 2018). This step is focused on checking the rough draft of a strategic program and to make any changes before the next few steps of the cycle where implementation occurs. The eighth step of the cycle is to establish an effective organizational vision and the ninth step is to establish an effective implementation process (Bryson, 2018). These two steps is where the visions and design begin to come together and plans to push the plan out are determined. The final step of the strategic planning cycle is to reassess the strategies and the strategic planning process (Bryson, 2018). This occurs after implementation of the plan has already begun and allows for review of strategies and the program (Bryson, 2018).

In my opinion one of the most important steps in the strategic planning process is to formulate strategies and plans to manage any issues (Bryson, 2018). This step can help save a plan before it fails and an organization must begin again from the beginning. In the previous steps, dreams, visions and a mission were established and this particular step helps to assess any barriers, constraints or weaknesses that may arise and how to address them if they do (Bryson, 2018). By establishing these reactions to any issues which arise early on in the strategic planning, there can be time and options to rework or rewrite any strategic plans.

One article I found particularly successful at explaining the strategic planning process from the initial plan to the implementation of the plan. The article explains some strategies which have shown effective in implementing sustainable change to an organization to meet the particular organizations missions and strategic goals (Welch & Smith, 2023). The article focuses on the implementation of strategic plans for nursing leadership and the importance of external assessment in attaining organizational success (Welch & Smith, 2023). This article can help for implementing and making change in a variety of different organizations.

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