SWOT analysis and organization’s strategic planning
SWOT analysis would greatly contribute to an organization’s strategic planning process by assessing strategy implementation and improvement in four areas. Actions to be taken would be, appropriate organizational structure, people and synergy, (Porter, 1996). Actions that need to be considered are core requirements for successful implementation is an empowered planning committee. This committee needs to possess enough decision-making authority to turn a strategic planning into a participatory endeavor away from an anarchic scenario.
This does not imply that the planning committee can have special rights or immunity from repercussions since they should still be accountable to the larger community which is the company. The team should have sufficient independence so as not to require approval for every step that they implement. The board of directors needs to give a clear indication of its confidence on the planning committee regarding the members’ skills and judgment (Mittenthal, 2002).
This planning committee is tasked to oversee the strategic plan implementation from the very start until its completion. This should involve review of covered work and tracking of these actions through regular progress reports. Before the planning committee takes the initial steps in the implementation, it is beneficial to look back and look around for lessons. This means that a company can learn from its past successes and setbacks. From a review of these events, the committee can extract the best practices that proved effective to the whole group.
An important factor should be considered, however, which are the changing consumer needs and preferences. A compatible merging of these two factors can be of essential impact to future efforts to be initiated by the planning committee. In addition, the planning committee can also make use of other companies’ experiences relevant to the actions at hand. Other companies may have gone through similar changes and should have somehow devised ways to go around loopholes and obstacles.
Again, the committee should focus on best practices which may or may not be particularly applicable to the target company. An extensive study and comparison of identical situations and companies in local or international settings would entail series of interviews literature reviews and database searches (DFP, 2003).
Before actions are evaluated, priorities and implementation plans should have been established. The importance of prioritization can never be overemphasized. Without a clear priority, the planning committee and the larger community may be overwhelmed by the immense work to be accomplished. Prioritization imparts focus for the allocation of resources and manpower. This way, goals are easier to achieve compared to a situation when no clear priority is identified leading to diversified attention and resources. Implementation is basically a step-by-step process wherein for every step a goal should be placed. A review for each goal achieved is critical for the continuity and completion of the whole action plan. In a way, prioritization and implementation through step-by-step process lends a synergistic characteristic to these endeavors since members are encouraged to direct attention to a single objective and to carry this in a common pace (Kono, 1994).
Before the implementation of a strategic plan, the structure of the organization is naturally an important consideration for changes for a more efficient organization. However, during the planning and implementation, this structure initially remains the same. Therefore before the implementation, the board and the staff constitute the whole of the company. During the implementation, a creation of a third major functional group which is the planning committee is required. However, there is an option for an external agency’s role for consultation and assessment of the organization’s function and performance during the structural changes if the board is to be restructured, and then the focus of the changes is obviously its members.
Assessment of each functional role needs to be identified in relation to importance and performance. A minor board restructuring may involve addition or change of functions while comprehensive restructuring may involve a complete reshuffle Restructuring of the staff is more complex as the hierarchical , group and functional interrelationships should be considered in addition to the large number of people concerned (Porter, 1996).
A successful implementation of structural changes relies heavily on clear identification of roles, functions, and responsibilities. An interconnection of such positions likewise necessitates careful balancing. Specific structures may fit different types of organizations and industry. Evaluation of similar external organizations may prove helpful in designing appropriate organizational structure. Risks and problem areas can also be gleaned through such efforts although elucidation of benefits should be clearly the primary objective (DFP, 2003).