Strategic planning in management
The importance of SWOT analysis in the management of an organization
For successful implementation of change to happen, there must be a progress monitoring to find out if the change implemented goes on according to plan, so that if there be deviations they can be corrected at the earliest possible time.
But before change is to be implemented totally, all of the factors that comprise resistance for this change to happen must be diagnosed and remedied, so that there is ease in flow of the change processed. Knowing resistance to change is vital to the progress of the organization; hence, its effects are to be monitored if not completely phased-out. Roger Kaufman (2003) defined resistance as a force field that prevents movement toward a new paradigm, especially strategic change. Yet, he elaborated that it is also a natural and expected part of change, meaning that if change occurs, resistance comes with it. Resistance is a barrier to change, thus management leaders must deal with this and conceptualize solutions to counter this problem.
After dealing with resistance, and change is already implemented, then it is time to monitor the progress of the changes in the organization, thus one can at least predict, although not totally, the results of the change. Roger Kaufman (2003) stressed that the biggest single mistake in managing and creating change is to attempt to implement the improvement process too quickly and without buy-in from the organizational partners and without integrating the change with everything else going-on in the organization without changing the incentive. Effective planning coordinates the change and resources required with other activities going on within the organization. Thus, monitoring is important considering that the management can inter-relate the results of the changes with other factors and processes within the organization, and can formulate other strategies and solutions in the process.
Having a Needs Assessment is a form of monitoring progress, this helps in identifying desired results, problems to overcome, and the implications and consequences of ignoring the needs. Eventually, strategic planners are able to generate responsive methods, means, and tactics required to achieve the desired high pay-off results; aligning people, performance, and pay-offs. Dispensing with monitoring and checking the results of the change implemented could prove to be costly, and would render a waste of time and energy for the organization.
Some planners want changes to happen outright that they see the end and result always but not what usually happens during the actual implementation, so that when something bad happens within the area from implementation to the result, they do not know what to do.
Strategic planning encompasses all factors needed to produce the desired outcome. Managerial monitoring tools are included within this. As such it was explained that "strategic planning is a dynamic and responsive process. But it is also a responsible approach. It is not a rigid lock-step approach because it does not always follow a fixed sequence." (Kaufman, et. al., p. 82) It is added that all steps must be considered and completed at some time during the thinking and planning process. Monitoring progress should be considered as one of these steps.
The primary aim of strategic planning is achieving the desired results. Roger Kaufman enumerated three tools which I think are very helpful and indispensable for an organization to succeed in its endeavors. These are the SWOT analysis, Business Logic, and Cultural Screen. Of these three, the one which best appeal to me is the SWOT analysis because it can enable one to assess performance of certain functions from the macro level of the organization down to its micro level.
It is said that "the SWOT method has been an essential step in strategic planning; however it can be applied to any organizational unit, team, or individual. A SWOT analysis is often part of a performance audit that seeks to establish how well the organization is performing in response to external and internal demands and influences." (Kaufman, et. al., p. 263) Using this tool primarily in harmony with the other two methods in monitoring can greatly influence the outcome of the results.
Thus, after conducting the monitoring and determining the areas that contribute to hampering of achieving desired results, the processes improvement follows. This step allows the leaders to correct and fix problem areas, and do some necessary adjustments on the strategic plan. But improving processes alone will not achieve maximum levels of result according to Roger Kaufman, thus for its corrections done, the adjustment on some areas must bring more beneficial results than before the correction.
Desired results couldn't be achieved without first monitoring each time the changes implemented. There are many monitoring tools that help a leader achieve this aim. The SWOT analysis proved to be so valuable, that one can place his trust on this monitoring tool in attaining success in the organization. But the caveat is that this tool alone should not be used in monitoring progress, this should be used in complement with other managerial tools.
Strategic planning encompasses all steps toward organizational success; therefore, monitoring progress, as one of the steps should not be dispensed with in order to achieve the desired results.
1) Kaufman, Roger. et al. (2003), Strategic Planning for Success; Aligning People, Performance and Payoffs. San Francisco, California, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, a Wiley Imprint, 2004.