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CHAPTER 9 Writing, Communicating, and Executing the Plan This chapter is intended to prepare the planning team for the challenging task of effectively Creating a Process Plan and communicating the strategic plan to employees and other stakeholders. Road Map (Chapter 3) The purpose of this chapter is to assist the planning team with the following: Defining the purpose and content of the written strategic plan Evaluating and Defining internal and external communication strategies Understanding the Implementing the plan by defining roles and responsibilities, selecting key performance indi- Organization (Chapter 4) cators and targets, implementing reward/incentive programs, and developing a training and development program Defining and Articulating the Organization's Mission, Vision, and Values (Chapter 5) 9.1 Defining the Purpose and Content of the Written Strategic Plan Scanning the Environment The written strategic plan is an essential tool for communicating the organization's vision, and Predicting Developments mission, values, and future activities and programs throughout the organization and for assign- (Chapter 6) ing accountability to managers and staff for goal achievement. However, a written plan is not the only tool available for disseminating the organization's strategic plan. As indicated below, other Identifying Strategic Issues, communication tools include meetings, newsletters, articles, and media interviews. Strategies, and Long-Term Objectives The majority of the organizations surveyed document the results of their strategic planning (Chapter 7) process in a written document, generally referred to as the organization's strategic plan. Results of the online survey were the following: Formulating Short-Term Objectives and 28 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a clear and concise document that Creating Action Plans (Chapter 8) summarizes the results of a detailed analysis and is distributed to key staff members/leaders. 20 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a list of goals and objectives that include performance metrics. Writing, Communicating, 16 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a clear and concise document that and Executing the Plan (Chapter 9) summarizes the results of a detailed analysis and is made available to the public and stakeholders. 12 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a list of goals and objectives. 8 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a clear and concise document Monitoring, Evaluating, and that summarizes the results of a detailed analysis and is distributed to all employees. Modifying the Plan (Chapter 10) 4 percent of respondents indicated that their strategic plan is a detailed analysis and report dis- tributed to key staff members/leaders. 12 percent of respondents did not answer this question. As suggested by the responses to the online survey, strategic plans vary in content and design, but the written document generally provides a summary of the analyses and includes a descrip- tion of the organization's strategies and objectives. The planning team should note that the main 103

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104 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry output of the planning process is not the written document, but the information, learning, con- siderations, and decisions that result from the process.96 Therefore, the written document should be brief and include only the key outcomes of the process. The written strategic plan generally serves as a key internal and external communication tool and as a marketing tool. Internally, a strategic plan can be used to communicate the organization's vision, strategies, and objectives to staff and assert the importance of their contribution to the organization's overall performance. The goal is to unite staff and department leaders with a set of common goals on which they can act every day. As participants in the focus groups indicated, communication of the plan is critical to gaining staff buy-in. Employees have to understand the organization's vision so that they can contribute to it in some way. Communication of the strate- gic plan allows for better-coordinated actions and allows staff to share a common vision for the organization. If staff and department leaders understand the organization's vision, strategies, and objectives, they have an opportunity to take actions and make decisions that contribute to achievement of the vision and are in alignment with the organization's strategies and objectives. Externally, a strategic plan can be used to effectively communicate the organization's vision, strategies, and objectives to the general public, businesses, and government agencies. Addition- ally, communication of the strategic plan to external stakeholders helps build the partnerships and support mechanisms required to meet the organization's needs. Communicating the orga- nization's plan to external stakeholders may also improve the organization's image by advertis- ing positive initiatives and results and improve transparency by providing information that explains the process by which programs are initiated. Finally, an organization's strategic plan, especially the executive summary, can be used as a marketing tool for advertising the organization's strategies and programs. The organization's strategic plan, for instance, can be used to attract new tenants (such as airlines) that may have interest in the programs to be completed for the airport. As noted in the focus group discussions, communication of the strategic plan also helps ensure the support of community leaders. If external stakeholders are kept informed of the organization's long-term objectives, they are less likely to question the organization's programs. Each organization should tailor its plan according to the size of the organization and its needs. It is recommended that the plan be formatted so that the body of the plan can be sent to exter- nal stakeholders such as Metropolitan Statistical Area representatives, the general public, and local businesses and be posted on the Internet. In addition, the plan should include appendices that provide the details of the analyses conducted and that would be for internal distribution only. Table 9-1 provides a summary of the elements of a strategic plan and to whom the plan should be distributed. This table was prepared based on information received from the partici- pants to the focus groups that were established as part of this project. To define the elements of the written strategic plan that should be communi- cated to internal and external stakeholders, refer to Worksheet 9.01, "Checklist for Determining Strategic Plan Content." To the extent possible, the strategic plan document should be reviewed both internally and by key external stakeholders. Internally, the plan should be reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and 96 James T. Ziegenfuss, Jr., Strategic Planning, Cases, Concepts, and Lessons, 2d ed. (Lanham, MD: University Press of America/Rowan Littlefield, 2006): 78.