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Strategic planning, in my opinion, is more than just a theory. It is useful since it provides a limitless service for planning interventions and courses of action. With an emphasis on the case study and current academic research, the method has major organizational benefits. The following factors justify why managers in non-profit ventures should engage in strategic planning.
Strategists are proactive in determining an enterprise's future. Rather than waiting for an organization to defend its survival, strategic plans enable it to launch an offensive in the industry. Therefore, a well-laid strategy leads the firm to take advantage of opportunities, adapt to environmental challenges and emerge victorious (Tschirhart & Bielefeld, 2012). Planning protects a non-profit making institution from being a victim of circumstances.
Strategic planning gives the firm a direction towards achieving its purpose of existence. The strategists define the mission that is translated into realistic goals and objectives. It dictates what will be done to meet the intended ends. Similarly, the strategy provides the basis for measuring the performance of the employees and progress of the whole organization. Therefore, it is the foundation upon which all decisions are made regarding the future of the business.
Strategic planning facilitates making optimal decisions regarding allocation of limited resources. Development of a strategy entails assessing all feasible business ideas and processes that lead to the achievement of the firm's mission. Advanced decision models and financial frameworks enable planners to utilize the optimal choices and tactics. Only courses of action that maximize the value of the firm can be followed. Therefore, it gives a basis for designing policies that guide resource allocation.
Strategic planning gives a firm a focus towards realizing its vision. The business world is dynamic, and resources are limited. Consequently, the future of an organization depends on its ability to utilize its scarce resources and pursue its agenda efficiently. Achievement of this is only possible where the management is keen on implementing its strategic plans effectively. Therefore, the longevity of the business is guaranteed by proper implementation of programs.
Strategic planning is the key to the expansion of an organization. Designing and executing effective plans enables the firm to understand its customers and deliver offerings that fulfill the needs. Targeting clients appropriately will allow a business to increase its market share and gain more returns. Consequently, a firm with a solid bottom line will gain a strong market position.
Implementing strategic plans allows an organization to differentiate itself and its offerings from the competition. Using a differentiation approach makes the firm unique and signifies value to customers. Consequently, a company that is far apart from its rivals gains a wonderful image in the market. It will leverage on its uniqueness to attract more clients, charge premium tariffs as its offerings are highly valued. It can be concluded that it has unlimited utility in practice, considering the high contributions of strategic planning.
Although organizations design proper strategies, putting them in practice is what makes them powerful tools. The leadership of a firm is responsible for motivating the employees and driving their efforts to meet the set goals. In for-profit ventures, the plans are successfully implemented due to the profit motive. On the contrary, the strategies in the non-profit making industry are not very sound. For instance, the staffs always believe that the management is not interested in implementing the strategic plans. On the other hand, the executive boards of these not-for-profit enterprises think that it is simply a validation of subordinates' views in meetings. Consequently, the teams in the organization do not attain a strategic intent that is essential for successful implementation (Tschirhart & Bielefeld, 2012). Thus, lack of management commitment and appropriate leadership in executing the plans makes it only theoretical with limited practical utility.
An approach is a tool used to evaluate the internal situation of an organization. It examines factors that constitute the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on the competitiveness of a firm. Such an examination allows planners to determine the present state so that points of inadequacies can be identified. It establishes the capabilities by assessing the strengths and weaknesses. The former refers to internal processes and resource that give the organization a competitive advantage. Such factors in 2V\ ACT include a highly motivated and dedicated workforce, a strong financial muscle, a favorable corporate image and a strong brand name (Evans School of Public Affairs, 2005). On the other hand, weaknesses refer to internal factors that limit the capability of the enterprise. Limitations include inadequate financial resources, less qualified or incompetent workforce and poor branding considering the organization in focus.
The external factors include opportunities that refer to favorable conditions that present the firm with a growth potential. Such elements in the case of 2V\ ACT include identification of new client segments, the emergence of advanced technologies and changes in demographics. Threats refer to conditions in the external environment that impinge on the organization's activities. For the firm in the case study, such factors include a general slump in the economy, intense rivalry, adverse political pressure and unfavorable social trends.
Decision Options Analysis
The challenge of making an optimal decision for 2V\ ACT to progress requires a strategic view. It is essential to consider the internal situation of 2V\ ACT before the manager chooses whether to merge, form a strategic alliance or 'farm-out' programming. Considering the current state of the organization shows a networked and dedicated staff with strong programming skills. The growth strategy to take should leverage on the competitive advantages to give the firm a big bargain. With superior people skills, farming-out programming is not an optimal choice. Furthermore, the institution has ample connections with the elected officials. Such a political leverage offers 2V\ ACT support regarding meeting favorable policies. However, a weaker financial situation would make the firm a weaker partner in a merger. Therefore, a strategic alliance is the best option for taking the organization to the next level. 2V\ ACT has a core competency in programming and a healthy workforce. Therefore, an alliance with a financially sound organization will be the best decision. It will allow it to concentrate on offering its services as the other partner deals with fueling operations. Therefore, a new partnership will allow the firm to reach to youths outside Seattle using technology. It will minimize the shortcomings that cause inefficiencies. Such limitations as the need to focus, economic slumping, and growing cynism about political and social divides will be overcome.
A strategic alliance will lead to accessing new markets by meeting new youths from different racial grounds. Similarly, it will make the brand name of 2V\ ACT to reach beyond Seattle due to the financial leverage. However, the challenge lies in the selection of the right partner. An active alliance requires building a mutually beneficial partnership that upholds trust and honesty. Therefore, a systematic process should be followed to identify and select a corporate ally.
Evans School of Public Affairs. (2005). 2V/ACT: Planning for Change and Determining Relevance. Seattle: University of Washington.
Tschirhart, M., & Bielefeld, W. (2012). Managing Nonprofit Organizations. New York: Wiley.
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