Strategic planning is an indispensable component of success for virtually any organization, irrespective of the nature of its goals. Utilising a variety of strategic planning means, members of an organization can create a plan that will suit their particular needs and wants and help them attain the desired goals. Strategic planning is a “process to establish priorities on what you will accomplish in the future” (Evans). The use of strategic planning allows the organization to unite all its resources and effectively allocate it to the solution of tasks and assignments in the order of their importance that corresponds to the set goals and priorities. Forcing members of the organization to map out future strategy, strategic planning enables them to have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish.
This research paper will include the application of strategic planning model to the functioning of the entrepreneurial organization, InternetGates, a provider of Internet services, design and high-tech solutions. The paper will include a brief review of strategic planning models and in-depth application of these models to the particular organization.
Strategic Planning Models
The ultimate goal of strategic planning is to create an organization that is “agile, collaborative and focused” (Lavia, 2004, p. 56). While the purpose is uniform, there are some actions that can be used to arrive at this purpose that is reflected in several strategic planning models.
The first model is basic and is organized as follows:
- Develop the purpose reflected in the mission statement
- State the goals to be achieved for the realization of the mission statement
- Develop strategies that are needed to attain goals
- “Identify specific action plans to implement each strategy”
- Regularly monitor the implementation of the plan (McNamara, 1999).
This straightforward model is expanded in Issue-Based (or Goal-Based) Planning that also includes the internal/external analysis of the organization and development of the implementation plan (McNamara, 1999). The third model, called Alignment Model, envisages changes to the current situation to be made to adjust the organization, correcting flaws and inefficiencies. Finally, Scenario Planning involves preparation of scenarios to address possible changes in the external environment. This paper will rely on Issue-Based (or Goal-Based) Planning Model to map out the future of the organization.
The development of the mission statement “determines the competitive arena in which an organization operates, how resources are to be allocated, and the appropriate size of the organization” (Mercer, 1991, p. 63). The organization’s mission statement is important because it defines “the overall organizational purpose and driving force(s) (Mercer, 1991, p. 63).
internet games is a complex organization that operates in some areas, delivering news coverage, analytical reporting, high-tech solutions such as logos and multimedia presentations, online advertising, and software and design development services. Therefore, the mission statement should embrace these areas. Also, it should focus on stakeholders the organization wants to benefit such as clients, employees, investors, and others. The mission statement has to answer the question “What business are we in?” and define the driving force as “the primary strength of the organization on which major decisions are based” (Mercer, 1991, p. 63, 64). With all these considerations in mind, this can be an appropriate mission statement for internet games:
InternetGates strives to provide its clients with high-class, state-of-the-art Internet service that will supply one-stop, integrated solutions, with the primary thrust being the high level of services offered enabled through the accumulation of expertise and knowledge in a carefully selected employee body.
This mission statement reflects the concentration of the organization on the provision of comprehensive services network. It also reflects the emphasis on qualified staff retention and stresses the quality of services.
InternetGates, or InternetGates.com, is an electronic media network that includes four sites representing four different projects: FinanceGates, RealEstateGates, GamblingGates, and FashionGates, each with its own topic area and staff. The organization is structured in such a way that nearly every employee is subordinated to the line manager within the project and functional manager, such as Head of the Content Department, Marketing Director, etc. This structure often creates tensions when there are discrepancies between objectives set by various managers, and these requirements clash, competing for the attention of employees. The managers sometimes are not sure who has a greater authority, the project manager or the functional manager, and therefore compete for power.
The main competitive advantage of the organization is its young, enterprising team that consists of professionals who have nearly accomplished the establishment part of their career and are now ready to move into more advanced positions. They have accumulated sufficient expertise they can bring to the projects and possess a vast array of ideas to apply to their work. However, the level of expertise is not level across departments, and sometimes there are instances of unprofessional work such as weak articles and inadequate research on the topic.
The technology in the organization is state-of-the-art and corresponds to all modern requirements. This area is one of the competitive advantages of the team.
The external environment in which the organization operates demonstrates many important trends. Some of those that can be relevant to InternetGates include the expansion of weblogs, increasing role of social networking on the Web, the trend of net users to create their own digital content, increase in the number of smart screen smartphones with Internet access, and rise in the use of mobile digital media (Greenlee, 2005). The organization may be interested in the observed rise in tech stocks, and rising demand from companies for flexible technical solutions.
These trends demonstrate that InternetGates needs to update its business to suit the changing needs continuously. For instance, the addition of weblogging to news coverage is a great advantage to a modern medium source. Accounting for the needs of smartphone users and increasing flexibility can also become appropriate points of focus for the organization.
To increase its competitiveness in the global marketplace, InternetGates should:
Strive to accumulate as much knowledge as possible that can be applied in providing high-level services, solving complex technological problems and finding innovative solutions
Aim at integration of services so that clients can receive a one-stop service that will carefully balance all their requirements
Create a viable community of users united through virtual communication
To achieve these strategic objectives, the organization can implement the following policies:
- Knowledge accumulation
Develop and implement a staff retention program. To accomplish this, the organization needs to decide what members of the staff it wants to retain. Most logically, these can be qualified individuals such as programmers, content managers, marketers and others that contribute to the success of the organization. The retention program has to be designed with consideration of the demographics and other characteristics of the corresponding group. For instance, since a large part of the qualified staff is about 25-35 years of age, a good option can be the introduction of an affordable childcare facility. The implementation of the plan needs to consider the resource base of the organization. Recruitment has to be improved to exclude the option of hiring under-qualified professionals that allow lapses in their work. Rigorous testing, the introduction of a trial period and test assignments can answer these concerns effectively. Ongoing training should be provided to personnel to help them navigate in the vast amount of information that can be used to improve their prospects.
- Integration of Services
Services have to be integrated in a smooth way that will provide cooperation between various departments. This can become possible if the organization creates cross-functional teams that will unite professionals from different departments. These teams can meet on a regular basis, solving issues relevant to the customer. The implementation will be more successful if it is monitored by someone with experience in teamwork, perhaps in a different organization.
- Creation of User Community
The programmers have to design and implement features on the website that will enable user comments to articles permitting users to get better to know each other. Comments have to be added at the bottom of the page, not eclipsing editorial content, but at the same time being visible to a new visitor.
Addition of weblogs to regular news coverage can be a viable option that will permit the organization to use its resources better to help people meet each other on the Web and share their thoughts and feelings.
The successful development of InternetGates.com will depend on the organization’s ability to realize its strategic planning. The mission statement developed by the company emphasizes its strengths, enabling it to take these strengths to a new level, generating a lasting competitive advantage. This mission was used to reflect on strategic objectives. The presence of three strategic objectives can be considered an optimal number for any organization as it will enable it to concentrate on key areas, without spreading its efforts too thin. These strategic objectives were translated into specific strategies that will support organizational development.
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