Strategic planning relates to the procedure of positioning a company to achieve its prospective objectives based on its unique terms. It is an organizational management approach used to establish priorities, reinforce operations, allocate resources, ensure employees work toward common objectives, and evaluate and adjust a company’s direction in response to the evolving business environment.1 Strategic planning is a crucial element of the change management process, which occurs in response to the wide-ranging and rapid adjustments experienced by business entities, including municipalities. From a business perspective, this procedure helps a company sail through turbulent market environments by facilitating the alignment of the organizational resources effectively to ensure optimal performance in the face of rapid market modifications.2 This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the procedures used to distinguish strategic issues and the criteria for ascertaining their priority.
Identifying Strategic Issues
The first step in identifying the strategic issues involves describing the policy or management concern facing the organization. The policy issue’s description consists of understanding its nature by investigating fundamental aspects of the problem. For instance, it is crucial to comprehend the best course of action to be undertaken and why it should be considered for the organization. Furthermore, in the quest to fathom the nature of the policy or management issue, one should consider the plan for addressing the problem and the appropriate timelines. Moreover, understanding the persons involved in addressing the issues and the policy issue’s probable pros and cons is fundamental in identifying the strategic problem.
The second phase entails formulating a discussion of the relevant factors contributing to the problem’s strategic nature. The factors under review include external and internal factors, environmental aspects, mission, and mandate linked to the strategic issue. The internal environmental elements related to a policy issue include the influence on the organizational management and the need for the organization’s resources. The external features associated with a policy or management issue include the response to the changes in the market characteristics and the contribution to the organization’s competitiveness given the other players in the market3. The influence of the policy issue on the realization of the organizational mission is a fundamental element. Further, the scope of the mandate attached to the policy issue will determine its strategic nature.
The third and ultimate phase under this procedure incorporates drawing a brief discussion concerning the consequences that would befall the organization if the policy issue fails to be addressed. Understanding the impact –whether negative or positive– on the policy matter is essential in identifying a strategic problem. Indeed, analyzing the consequence of the concern towards the organization’s functioning through the departments such as finance, human resources, research and development, planning, and production is crucial4. The failure to address the policy issue would generate unfavorable or favorable outcomes; hence, the strategic planning team must have the nature of the consequences in their mind.
Criteria for Determining the Priority for Strategic Issues
Urgency and Strategic Relevance
A strategic issue’s urgency expresses the political and management consequences to an entity or organization such as a municipality if the strategic issue lacks some action within the short-term operation period. If the failure to address the strategic concern results in grave consequences for the organization, then the strategic problem is a high priority and vice versa5. On the other hand, the strategic relevance criterion involves assessing the degree or extent to which the management of the policy concern will contribute to attaining the organizational vision. Thus, if the strategic issue positively impacts the achievement of the corporate or municipality’s vision, it has a higher strategic relevance.
Controllability, Imposed Significance, and Ease of Action
A strategic issue’s controllability deals with the extent of influence or control that an organization such as the municipality commands concerning the policy concern. Thus, if an organization has significant power (control) over the strategic issue, it has low priority. The criterion for imposed significance focuses on the managerial demands imposed by external bodies such as regulatory authorities6. For instance, if the government’s agency requires that an organization fulfill a particular strategic issue’s needs, then the policy concern has a higher priority due to the imposed significance. The criterion for ease-of-action deals with the degree of availability regarding the resources needed to address the issue. Hence, if resource availability is low, then the strategic problem is of high priority.
Strategic planning is a procedure utilized by a corporation to define its business approaches or direction, and making decisions related to resource allocation to pursue the developed strategy. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the processes used to identify strategic issues and the criteria for ascertaining their priority. The first step in distinguishing strategic issues involves describing the policy concern. The subsequent phase consists of formulating a discussion of the relevant factors contributing to the issue’s strategic nature. The third phase entails presenting a brief discussion concerning the organization’s consequences if the policy issue is unchecked. The criteria for determining the priority for strategic problems are essential for strategic planning.
Alosani, Mohammed, Yusoff Rushami, and Al-Dhaafri Hassan. “The effect of innovation and strategic planning on enhancing organizational performance of Dubai Police,” Innovation and Management Review 17, no. 1 (2019): 2–24.
George, Bert, Walker Richard and Monster Joost. “Does Strategic Planning Improve Organizational Performance? A Meta‐Analysis,” Public Administration Review 79, no. 6 (2019): 810–819.
Tindal, Richard, Conteh Charles and Stedall Shelley. Municipal Administration Program: Management in the Municipality. Ontario: AMCTO, 2020. 218–232
- 1. Alosani, Mohammed, Yusoff Rushami, and Al-Dhaafri Hassan. “The effect of innovation and strategic planning on enhancing organizational performance of Dubai Police,” Innovation and Management Review 17, no. 1 (November 2019): 3. doi:10.1108/INMR-06-2018-0039
- 2. Richard, Tindal, Charles Conteh and Shelley Stedall. Municipal Administration Program. Management in the Municipality (Ontario: AMCTO Municipal Experts, 2020), 225.
- 3. Tindal. Municipal Administration Program (Ontario: AMCTO, 2020), 225.
- 4. George, Bert, Walker Richard and Monster Joost. “Does Strategic Planning Improve Organizational Performance? A Meta‐Analysis,” Public Administration Review 79, no. 6 (October 2019): 812. doi:10.1111/puar.13104
- 5. Tindal. Municipal Administration Program (Ontario: AMCTO, 2020), 226.
- 6. Tindal. Municipal Administration Program (Ontario: AMCTO, 2020), 226.