Running head: ARTICLE & DISCUSSION
Johns Hopkins University
Master in Organizational Development
Facilitating Strategic Planning, Problems Solving and Decision Making By Carolina Goicochea Castro
January 8, 2007
ARTICLE & DISCUSSION
Overview Introduction of Strategic Planning and Facilitation Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is the continuous and systematic process of guiding members of an organization to make decisions about its future, develop the necessary procedures and operations to achieve that future, and determine how success will be achieved. Oppenheim (2006) defines Strategic Planning as the methodical process by which an organization anticipates and plans for its future by undertaking an examination of the organization and its environment by those who have a stake in its future success.
Strategic Planning is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, as differentiated from tactics or immediate actions. It may employ methods like SWOT analysis to help clarify objectives and strategies. Strategic planning uses "the big picture" to pursue large scale, long term objectives. (Wikipedia - Strategic Planning, 2006).
The primary motive for organizations to do strategic planning is to learn and to make decisions about the future of the organization based on that learning.
The basic strategic planning process includes: 1. Identify your purpose (articulate mission and vision); 2. Assess the Situation; 3. Develop Strategies, Goals, and Objectives; 4. Identify specific approaches or strategies that must be implemented to reach each goal; 5. Identify specific action plans to implement each strategy, and 6. Monitor and update the plan.
A challenge in strategic planning is to decide what bits and where bits of information will be used to support business decisions. In general, strategic plans can fail for two types of reasons: inappropriate strategy and poor implementation. Good strategic planning is typically based on a rich mix of conceptual, qualitative and quantitative information about what works for whom.
The amount of time it takes an organization to complete a strategic plan varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including; the size and complexity of the organization, past experience with strategic planning, accessibility of planning data, and time and availability of board and staff.
Strategic Planning results in a written document that serves as a blueprint to guide the organization towards its future goals, but far more important than the strategic plan document, is the strategic planning process itself. Facilitation
Wikipedia - Facilitation (2006) defines facilitation as any activity which makes easy the tasks of others. From a business and/or organizational development perspective, Gaffney (2000) explains that facilitation "is the process of enabling groups to work cooperatively and effectively".
In particular, facilitation is important in circumstances where people of diverse backgrounds, interests and capabilities work together. Facilitation concerns itself with all the tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting. Facilitation serves the needs of any group who are meeting with the aim of making a decision or accomplish its goals. A facilitator is an expert, not in providing answers, but in managing the dynamics of the group that is doing the work; is someone who skillfully helps a group of people understand their common objectives and plan to achieve them without personally taking any side of the argument. The facilitator will try to assist the group in achieving a consensus on any disagreements that preexist or emerge in the meeting so that it has a strong basis for future action. The role has been likened to that of a "midwife" who assists in the process of creation but is not the producer of the end result. (Wikipedia - Facilitation, 2006). Article & Discussion
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