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1. What is a SWOTT analysis? What is its purpose in strategic planning?

Do you have to conduct a SWOTT


Analysis to have an effective strategic plan? Why or why not?
Solution1:

The term SWOT stands for strength, weakness, opportunities and threats faced by an organization and
SWOT analysis is a very important strategic tool used for evaluation of these four factors. It makes ways for
understanding and identifying the specific objective of the business and identifies the various internal and
external factors that are helpful in achieving those objectives. Its purpose in strategic planning is to help in
achieving the targets that are set by the organization. There is no doubt that for an effective strategic plan,
SWOT analysis is very crucial because the entire plan is being analyzed through the identification of the
areas of development. It is a key through which an organization can understand how strengths can be
leveraged, weaknesses can be improved, opportunities can be exploited and threats can be minimized.

It is a process that matches the goals, capacities and programs of the organization with the social
environment (Foong, L.M., 2007).

2. What are the primary internal organization considerations for the development of a strategic plan? Which
consideration is the most important? Why?
Solution 2:

Strategic planning is the process followed by an organization in which it defines its strategies and makes
plans for proper allocation of its available resources to achieve its objectives. While developing a strategic
plan, it is essential to consider the various internal organizational factors in order to help the plan succeed.
The internal organizational factor comprises of mission, vision, values and guiding principles, strategy and
strategic objectives of the organization. Before creating any strategic plan, it is essential to know where we
are standing and where we intend to go. We must have a look at the mission as well as the vision
statement of the organization, match it with the required demands and then frame the strategic plan. The
mission statement depicts the purpose that an organization has and vision statement determines the future
by formulating a picture of the organization. Therefore, they are the most important internal considerations
for the development of a strategic plan (Developing your Strategic Plan).

3. What are the primary external organization considerations for the development of a strategic plan? Which
consideration is the most important? Why?
Solution 3:

For the development of a suitable strategic plan, external considerations are important because a plan
covers the entire aspects of an organization i.e. its internal as well as external aspects. The external
aspects include customers, competition, technology, supplier market and labor market. All these factors
need to be given due consideration as the external environment tends to have an alarming effect on the
business. A business can run smoothly only when plans are made in accordance with the different external
factors. Among these factors, the most imperative factor is the customers as they are the ones who play a
vital role in shaping the business and taking it to greater heights. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every
business to understand the changing needs and preferences of the customers from time to time so that
they can be provided with the satisfactory products and services (Hunger & Wheelan, 2004).

4. What are the key planning factors for competitive success? Provide an example of an organization that
has achieved competitive success through planning. Provide an example of an organization that has failed
to achieve competitive success as the result of failed planning.
Solution 4:

Achievement of competitive success is the dream of any business. It solely depends upon several key
planning factors which play an effective part in the success of the business. These key planning factors are
as follows:

Advertising is an effective tool in attracting customers towards the business and increasing the share of
profit. Therefore, strong advertisement is important.

Providing goods at low prices gives competitive edge over its competitors.

Good quality products are highly demanded by the customers. Therefore, meeting their needs through high
quality products will add to the company's success.

Continuous innovation in the organization by the development of new products and services helps the
organization to move ahead.
The example of an organization that has achieved competitive success through planning is Wal-Mart. It is
well known that Wal-Mart has a large number of stores around the world and its products occupy a place of
great significance. Its branches and stores could be easily found in each and every part of the world. This is
the result of an efficient planning system followed by Wal-Mart that has brought it so far successfully. Its
objectives comprises of satisfying the customers with the world's finest products.

The example of an organization that has failed to achieve competitive success through failed planning is
McDonald's. In its initial stage, when it started its operations in India, it faced a major setback. This was
mainly due to the failed planning strategies of the organization. It could not frame proper objectives
regarding its launch in a new country (Writing a Business Plan- Success Factors).

5. What are the different types of strategies? What are the differences among these strategies? How do you
determine which type of strategy is most appropriate for your organization?
Solution 5:

A strategy of an organization especially defines the various forms in which an organization will achieve its
mission and objectives. Strategy of an organization maximizes the competitive advantage and minimizes
the competitive disadvantage. There are different types of strategies, which are as described:

� Corporate Strategy: The overall direction of a company in terms of its general attitude towards growth
and the management of its various businesses and product lines is depicted by the corporate strategy. This
strategy typically fits within the three main categories of stability, growth and retrenchment.

� Business Strategy: The strategy that occurs at the business unit or product level and that accentuates
improvement of the competitive position of a corporation's products or services in the specific industry or
market segment served by that business unit is termed as business strategy.

� Functional Strategy: The approach taken by a functional area to achieve corporate and business unit
objectives and strategies by maximizing the resource productivity can be defined as a functional strategy.
The main function of this strategy is the enlargement and nurturing of a unique competence to render a
company or business unit with competitive advantage.

Different organizations have differing and varying operations and therefore, the selection of an appropriate
strategy particularly depends upon the operations of an organization. In most of the business firms, usually
all three types of strategies are utilized simultaneously in the form of a hierarchy of strategy. It involves the
grouping of strategy types according to the levels of an organization. In this hierarchy of strategy, the firm
uses strategies in such a way that functional strategies support business strategies, which, in turn, support
the corporate strategies (Thenmozhi).

6. What are strategic objectives? What is the purpose of strategic objectives? What makes an effective
strategic objective? What are some examples of strategic objectives for you organization or one with which
you are familiar?
Solution 6:

Strategic objectives are the defined targets set by an organization in order to make its strategy succeed and
they are generally focused externally. Strategic objectives encompasses various fields like present share of
market as well as new markets, development of novel products along with the skills and methods of
developing them, proper selection and development of human resources, identification of the different
sources of fund and availability of physical resources and their usage. These strategic objectives are of
utmost importance in an organization as they help the organization to effectively utilize its resources to
achieve competitive advantage. These objectives are the milestones that pave ways for the betterment of
the organization. Strategic objectives help in the generation of greater returns for the business by meeting
the needs of the customers or society at large. A strategic objective that can be easily measurable, specific,
appropriate, realistic and timely can be defined as an effective strategic objective. Examples of strategic
objectives for Wal-Mart include the development of different strategies like Focus Strategy, Overall Cost
Leadership Strategy and Differentiation Strategy. It generally relies on the customer satisfaction and
generating operational efficiency (Gregory et al 2005).

7. What is the difference among strategic, long-term, and short-term objectives? What is the relationship
between objectives and goals? What are some examples of this relationship?
Solution: 7

Strategic Objectives: Strategic objectives are the aims for that an organization endeavors for. These
objectives are associated with the organization's vision and mission.

Long-term Objectives: These types of objectives are the ends that signify a position that an organization
wants to achieve in the near future. These types of objectives are less extensive and observational.

Short-term Objectives: These types of objectives are the linear attempts in the way of attaining long term
objectives. These objectives are more observational and gentler.

'Goals' portray what an organization desires to attain in the coming future whereas objectives are the ends.
The relationship among the objectives and goals can be realized with an example of a bank, whose mission
is to be the most cutthroat and liberal establishment in its industry. This assertion depicts the objective of
bank and for attaining these objectives; the goals of the bank are development, originality and efficiency
(Mochal, 2008).

8. What is corporate governance? What role does corporate governance play in strategic planning? Why is
it important? Explain your answer and give an example. Solution: 8

The term 'Corporate Governance' refers to an affiliation among the three groups' i.e. Shareholders or
Investors, Management and Board of Directors. Effectual corporate governance finds out the way and
execution of an organization and due to this, it is believed that the role of corporate governance in strategic
planning is quite significant. Organization is a system, which can be managed only with an appropriate
strategic planning that includes all the goals, objectives, mission and vision along with their formulation to
implementation.

Members of the corporate governance perform different kind of works associated with the company's
strategic planning and in addition they govern the company in right direction and due to their governance
they are very important for an organization (Hunger & Wheelan, 2007). Role and importance of corporate
governance can be understood with an example of Tyco International Ltd., where a huge corporate scandal
took place due to the unethical practices of the company's CEO. This loss could have been avoided if the
company's Board of Directors had followed everything in a planned manner.
9. Why is it important to continuously update the implementation and communication of a strategic plan?
Who should be responsible for updating and communicating a strategic plan? Why?
Solution 9:

The intent of constantly updating the communication and implementation of strategic plan is important, as it
creates a common culture at the workplace, which acts as a strategic advantage for an organization
(Heathfield, n.d.). The aim of such an act is not to control the employees, but to generate an atmosphere,
which shares common goals, is well-coordinated and answers ambiguity such as what, when, why and how
to do a task. The goals and objectives and the strategies adopted to achieve those goals change according
to the changing market dynamics.

Thus, it is essential to keep updating the communication and implementation of strategic plans to produce a
work environment, which has same goals and guided by same set of rules (Heathfield, n.d.). The onus of
performing this task lies with the executives and it cannot be thought of without the support of the top
management, as they are the people, who formulate the vision, mission and goals of an organization.

10. Has your organization's strategic plan been communicated to you? If so, how and by whom? If not, how
would such communication improve your organizational effectiveness? Is it important for employees to
know the strategic plan of a company? Why or why not?
Solution 10:

Yes, the strategic plans of my organization have been fully communicated to me by the manager, as well
as, the top management. Communicating the strategies, which an organization plans to adopt, to achieve
its goals and objectives are much essential in many ways (Bacal, 2009). The process allows workforce to
be involved in the decision making, as they have the access to the means and knowledge required to take
such decisions.

Moreover such a practice instills a feeling of recognition and familiarity, on behalf of the staff members, with
the company's ambitions, mission and measures undertaken by the organization, which has the potential to
make a difference. This affects the effort and efficiency that the employees put in, in a positive manner
(Bacal, 2009). Moreover, such practices reduce the conflicts and disagreements on a daily basis, as most
of the conflicts generate due to varying ideas among employees as to what is vital for the organization.

11. What things should be taken into consideration in the creation of a roadmap for a strategic plan? What
are some examples of external and internal change agents? What role do change agents play in the
execution of a road map for a strategic plan? Solution 11:

The formulation of strategic plans of a firm should follow a certain roadmap. The strategic planning process
must align with the organization's mission or purpose of existence. Before formulating the strategic plans, it
is essential to consult with as many people, as possible. The path that is adopted is as important as
planning itself. Planning is necessary for generating awareness and obtaining support from the outside
world for the business and its objectives (Hill & Jones, 2008). Last but not the least, it is very important to
continuously review and update the strategic plans.

For bringing change, an organization employs external and internal change agents. Internal change agents
can be a staff member, who has the expertise in an area and has the know-how to solve a problem,
whereas, an external change agent can be a consultant or an outside faculty. The change agents play an
important role in implementing strategic plans within an organization. For example, they help in forming
pressure for bringing change by shaping fresh administrative perception of the organizational atmosphere.

12. Why is it necessary to monitor and control strategic plans? Who should be responsible for monitoring
and controlling strategic plans? Why? What are the pitfalls of failing to monitor and control strategic plans?
Solution 12:

Strategic plan renders the framework for all the major business decisions of an enterprise and in a
successful organization it works as a guide to various business opportunities and due to this importance of
strategic plan in an organization, it is indispensable for a firm to monitor and control its strategic plans. With
the help of monitoring and control of strategic plan, adjustments that are necessary can be brought out on
time.

An organization's top management and executives should be responsible f or monitoring and controlling
strategic plans, as they are better aware of the company's objectives and goals along with desired results. If
an organization fails to control and monitor its strategic plans, it will not be able to equip itself with the
capabilities needed to face uncertainties. Without monitoring and control of strategic plans, an organization
cannot make an appropriate fit among its operations and its environment (Camillus, 1986).

13. As an employee of an organization, what role do you play in the strategic planning process? What role
do you play in the implementation process? What role do you play in the monitoring and controlling
process?
Solution 13:

Involvement of employees at every stage of strategic planning process is very essential to keep them
involved in the implementation of the operational plans of an organization. The employees have the
responsibility to understand the strategies and its future repercussions and based on such analysis prepare
an action plan, which not only work towards achieving the needs of the consumers but the organization, as
well (Lussier, 2008).

The staff should be involved at each stage of planning, implementing and controlling. The workforce, along
with functional managers, should try to align the strategy into the day-to-day activities. Moreover, an
employee should also develop his/her controlling skill (Lussier, 2008). It should be seen that strategies are
being implemented as planned within the budgetary limits and any loophole should be plugged in time.

14. What are some examples of regulatory issues that affect the controlling aspect of a strategic plan?
What are some examples of organizations that have failed to comply with regulatory requirements in
controlling their strategic plans? What were some of the repercussions that these organizations have
faced?
Solution 14:

An organization has to plan its strategies, keeping in mind, the regulatory issues, which confront the firm.
An organization has to consider many factors, which govern its decisions, as it is a part of a society as a
whole. Thus, factors like economic, socio-cultural, political or technological matters have to be considered.
The strategic planning of a company cannot be formulated in isolation. For example, when Mc Donald's
entered the Indian sub-continent, it ignored the tastes, preferences and lifestyle of the people in the region
and heavily introduced items made of beef and pork. After the company faced heavy retaliation from public
and huge losses it conducted a market analysis and came up with edible items keeping with the traditions
and habits of the people. Thus, we can see that the company's expansionist strategy took a downturn,
unless, it aligned its strategic planning according to the socio-cultural attributes of the region.
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