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24 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry To the extent possible, these primary arguments should be supported by statistics, examples, or other types of credible information. In this step, the strategic planning team should explain what will happen as a result of the plan and why these results will benefit the organization. Airport staff and stakeholders are most likely to help implement the plan if they buy into it. As Goetsch indicates: "The planning process as much as the plan itself offers the most potential for achieving buy-in. When people are involved in the planning process, the product of the process (i.e., the strategic plan) becomes their plan rather than your plan."9 Consequently, it is essential that the strategic planning team defend the benefits of the process and achieve buy-in from the organization's internal and external stakeholders. Respondents to the online survey viewed strategic planning as important to their organiza- tions. A majority (72 percent) of the online survey respondents indicated that developing a strategic plan is a necessity. 3.3 Assessing the Organization's Readiness To better assess the organization's readiness and plan for success, a Readiness Criteria Ques- tionnaire is included (see Worksheet 3.02). This questionnaire provides a high-level check to determine where the airport organization stands and to assess whether the organization is ready to initiate the strategic planning process. For the process to be successful, the organization should meet the following requirements: · Everyone in the organization understands what strategic planning is. A shared understanding about what the organization is trying to achieve and how it will go about achieving it should be created. The principles and goals of strategic planning should be explained to everyone in the organization. Even though a person may not be involved in the strategic planning process definition and monitoring, everyone in the organization is likely to play a role in achieving the organization's mission and vision. The airport's governing body defines the organization's vision, but the department leaders and staff fulfill the objectives set forth as part of the strate- gic planning process. · Senior management and policymakers understand the process and are willing to commit to it. These leaders should implement programs and allocate resources to meet the objectives of the strategic plan at a level that is "doable" for the organization and level of activity. · Appropriate resources will be made available to conduct strategic planning. The organization's leadership must commit resources to adequately conduct the strategic plan. · Staff will have the time and energy to participate in the strategic planning process. Organiza- tional complexities such as lack of alignment, conflicting parties, differences in values and motivation, and undesirable group dynamics should be minimized. · The organization can adapt to change and there are no serious internal conflicts. People and, more broadly, organizations respond differently when it comes to expressing awareness, inter- est, and willingness to adopt proposed changes. For many organizations, attempts to imple- ment change fail because the leadership assumes that all employees are open to change and ignores the needs of those most resistant to change. · To limit the organization's resistance to change, the strategic planning team should identify the rationale for the proposed changes, avoid the unknown by clearly communicating the organization's strategies and associated objectives, and recognize that implementation of the strategic plan will require everyone's support. 9David L. Goetsch, Effective Strategic Planning for Competitive Advantage, Ten Steps for Technical Professions (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall/Pearson, 2006).