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32 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry 3.5.2.2 Descriptiveness A common format used in strategic plans is a simple bullet point structure with most para- graphs consisting of no more than a sentence or two. A hybrid format involved the use of more descriptive paragraphs in some sections of the plan, with bullet points used in other sections. Other plans consisted almost entirely of lengthy paragraphs. Most of the strategic plans reviewed also included tables to display data. When determining length, style, and understandability of the written plan, the planning team should consider the prospective readership. Brevity and conciseness will likely characterize plans that are useful and widely read. In addition, the planning team should develop a written plan that can easily be made available via the Internet. 3.6 Defining the Stakeholders Involving several department leaders and groups in the strategic planning process will improve the credibility of the plan and ownership of the process and the results. Involving mul- tiple parties also leads to the definition of a common mission and vision for the organization and the airport(s) it manages and a common understanding of the action plan. In any case, the strategic planning process should be internal to the organization. Consultants can be engaged to facilitate development of the plan; however, the core plan should be defined and executed in house. Approximately 40 percent of the respondents to the online survey indi- cated that consultants should facilitate the process and moderate the work sessions, but that, ulti- mately, the plan should be developed by airport management. Another 40 percent responded that consultants performed detailed analyses that served as input to the process, but that the plan is best developed by airport management. Nine percent of respondents indicated that consul- tants only provided input to the benchmarking analysis. There are different ways to involve staff members and internal and external stakeholders in strategic plan development, including strategic planning sessions/retreats, personal interviews, and meetings. However, each individual or group will be responsible for different tasks: The core planning team should be responsible for defining, ensuring the execution of, and monitoring the execution of the plan. One or all members of the planning team may be responsible for facilitating the planning sessions. The planning team should be responsible for developing the airport's mission, vision, and values statements; adopting generic and grand strategies and long- and short-term objectives; and communicating the plan to department leaders and staff members. The size of the strategic planning team will vary according to the size and complexity of the organization. For medium and large hub airports, an effective team would most likely consist of 6 to 10 members, while smaller airports may have strategic plan- ning teams consisting of 2 to 3 members. Airport department leaders must meet their objectives (as set by the planning team), define tasks to be carried out by their staff in pursuit of these objectives, allocate needed resources, and ensure the execution of set tasks. The planning team should include sufficient members to represent all departments in the organization, but not so many members that it becomes too cumbersome to manage. Airport staff members should be responsible for executing the tasks defined by their depart- ment leaders. The policy board (i.e., the airport's governing body) is responsible for reviewing the plan. External stakeholders provide input to the process. The decision regarding who should participate in the strategic planning process should be thoughtfully considered. The number of persons to be involved will vary depending on the size of the airport organization, the planning phase being undertaken, and available resources. Table 3-1

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Creating a Process Plan and Road Map 33 Table 3-1. Participants in the process. Strategic Planning Activities Recommended Participants Participate in Strategic Planning Awareness Session All Staff and Board Members/Governing Body Evaluate and Understand the Organization Core Planning Team Articulate Values, Mission, and Vision Core Planning Team and Board Members/Governing Body, with input from all staff Scan the Environment and Predict Developments Core Planning Team Analyze Critical Gaps and Reassess Vision All Staff and Board Members/Governing Body Define Generic and Grand Strategies Core Planning Team and Board Members/Governing Body Select Key Strategies Core Planning Team and Board Members/Governing Body Define and Prioritize Specific Objectives Core Planning Team and Board Members/Governing Body Select Key Performance Indicators Core Planning Team and Department Leaders Write, Communicate, and Execute the Plan Core Planning Team and Department Leaders Monitor, Evaluate, and Modify the Plan Core Planning Team and Department Leaders provides an example of participants in the process and Exhibit 3-5 indicates the responsibilities at each organizational level. 3.6.1 Bottom-Up versus Top-Down Approach In a top-down approach, the overall strategy sets the general direction of the organization, which is then interpreted by the different functional areas of the organization (marketing, finance, operations, administration, engineering, and planning, and so forth) in their functional strategies. Organizational Level Planning Component Typical Decision What is the social responsibility of the organization? What are the critical issues and opportunities facing the organization? Executive What are the organization's mission, Organization Leadership vision, strategies, and objectives? Vision Should the mission change? Which capabilities need to be developed/strengthened? How will mission support be funded? How should resources be Need to Ensure Alignment invested/allocated? Do the individual department objectives fit Core Planning the overall strategy? Consolidated Team Are there any repetitions/redundancies in Strategy the department objectives? Are all departments working toward the grand and leading strategies set by the organization? Are resources available to support implementation of strategies? What role should each department play? Internal What is the department's priority? Department Department What services will each department focus Strategy on? What elements in the environment must the department consider? Exhibit 3-5. Responsibilities at the organizational level.

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34 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry By contrast, in a bottom-up approach, input is generated from the functional and unit levels first and then progresses to the top level of the organization, from which a company vision is derived. A top-down approach takes a more strategic, longer term, but maybe more interventionist view, while a bottom-up approach is closer to employees and staff and tends to be shorter term. The major challenge for an organization, including airports, is to achieve a synthesis between these two approaches. According to the feedback received during the focus group discussions, both approaches influence the strategic planning process and equal emphasis should be placed on top- down and bottom-up communications, including board members to management; management to department leaders; and board, management, and leaders to the organization's staff at all levels. Participants in the focus groups also emphasized the importance of the bottom-up approach with regard to building consensus for the adoption of the organization strategic plan. Key ben- efits of the bottom-up approach include the following: Developing accountability at all levels. A bottom-up approach emphasizes the role(s) of each person in the organization in the adoption and implementation of the organization's strate- gic plan. It also provides an opportunity to define how to work and communicate more effi- ciently between and among departments. Building consensus. Every department in the bottom-up approach is required to translate the top-down message, develop its own strategies that are consistent with the role of the organi- zation, and share its strategies with other departments. Understanding the needs and issues of other departments and developing a common vision for the organization will bring the orga- nization's departments together and help build consensus for the adoption and implementa- tion of a strategic plan that takes into account the views of the lower levels of the organization. Building ownership. The bottom-up approach creates a sense of ownership of the organiza- tion's strategic plan. Using this approach, staff steer the transformation of their organization. Exhibit 3-6 illustrates the top-down and bottom-up approaches as part of the strategic plan- ning process. 3.6.2 Defining Who Should Lead the Strategic Planning Process The strategic planning process can be led either by an individual (i.e., an airport manager) or a group, referred to here as the core planning team. This individual or core planning team should be responsible for the following sequence of activities: 1. Defining the strategic planning process to be followed by the organization 2. Facilitating the meetings or recruiting a strategic planning facilitator Strategic Strategic Strategic Plan Adopted Planning Team Planning Team Planning Team by the Airport Established Identifies Develops/Drafts Policy Board Top-Down Approach Priorities Airport Strategic Planning Plan Launched Bottom-Up Approach Working Sessions Individual Stakeholders Plan Out for Plan Distributed with Internal and Departments Recommend Review to Internal and External Develop Plans to Airportwide Plans External Stakeholders Address Each to Address Each Stakeholders Priorities Priority and Priority Emerge Define Objectives and Action Plans Exhibit 3-6. Top-down and bottom-up approaches.

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Creating a Process Plan and Road Map 35 3. Developing a communications plan 4. Developing an action plan 5. Monitoring and evaluating the strategic plan 6. Reporting progress to board members/policymakers For airports with limited staff, a core planning team is not needed. Rather, the airport man- ager and key staff members would act as the unified team that oversees development of the strate- gic plan in addition to participating in developing and implementing the strategic plan. The following questions should be asked to facilitate formation of the core plan- ning team. Who in the organization has a vested interest in the strategic planning process and agrees that a need exists to bring together staff, managers, stakeholders, and the community with a com- mon vision and shared objectives? Who is responsible for decision-making? Who could provide leadership for strategic planning activities and sessions? Who has experience or expertise related to strategic planning? 3.6.3 The Role of Consultants The role of consultants in the strategic planning process varies from one organization to another. Typically, however, consultants guide the process, work to achieve buy-in from all involved, facilitate and schedule all meetings, conduct the research and analyses, bring organi- zational development best practices and expertise, and document the process. In addition, a con- sultant can help ensure participation and be a neutral reminder for attendance. The airport organization and its employees, however, remain the owners of and main contributors to the process. As indicated previously, this definition of the role of consultants was confirmed by the online survey. A majority (80 percent) of respondents indicated that the role of consultants is to facili- tate the process, moderate the work sessions, and perform detailed analyses that serve as inputs to the process. Conversely, only 1 percent responded that their consultants developed the strate- gic plan and airport management executed it. These results confirm that the plan is generally developed by airport management, not consultants. 3.6.4 Defining Who Should Participate in the Process The strategic plan will have greater support if many people are involved in its development. As part of the strategic planning process, it is of key importance to hear from people who have different points of view. These different points of view will help the planning team make deci- sions with more complete information and avoid some unexpected problems. If a strategic plan is to be successful, stakeholders must be managed in a systematic manner over the life cycle of the planning process. As part of this process, the opinions of the most powerful stakeholders can be used to define or refine the organization's objectives. Gaining support from stakeholders will also support implementation of the plan, as stakeholders who favor the plan are likely to engage in its implementation and/or bring the assets needed to

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36 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry ensure successful implementation of the strategic plan. Stakeholder management involves the following steps: Identify key stakeholders Determine stakeholder expectations Define stakeholder roles Develop a communications strategy To define who should lead and facilitate the process, complete Questions 5 through 8 of Worksheet 3.03, "Project Scope and Leadership Selection." 3.6.4.1 Identify Key Stakeholders Stakeholders are those individuals, groups, or entities that have a particular interest in the air- port. Stakeholders are important because they have the power to influence the outcome of air- port projects that may be linked to the organization's strategic plan. Thus, they are an integral component of the strategic planning process. No matter what data are collected or methods are used, an organization's situational analysis is fundamentally characterized by inquiries into the organization's context and practices that go beyond general inquiries about the organization's routine, day-to-day operations. Stakeholder involvement among the airports surveyed tended to focus on board members, elected officials, key tenants, airlines, and the FAA. Deciding who should be involved in the strategic planning process, how, and when is a key strategic choice. In general, people should be involved if they have information that cannot be gained otherwise or if their participation is necessary to ensure the successful implementation of initiatives built on the analyses.11 As it may be difficult for the strategic planning team to define what is too much or too little participation in the early stages of the process, the selection of stake- holders can be approached as a sequence of choices, in which the process is initiated by an indi- vidual or small group and then others are added later as the advisability of doing so becomes apparent.12 Stakeholder groups include both internal and external stakeholders. Lists of internal and external stakeholders follow. The values given in parentheses following a stakeholder group indi- cate the percentages of respondents to the online survey that indicated that the stakeholder group listed should be involved in developing the airport's strategic plan. Internal Stakeholders are the following: Airport employees (41 percent) Department leaders (84 percent) Policy board/governing body (65 percent) Senior management (96 percent) According to the respondents to the online survey, the primary role of the board of directors (or equivalent governing body) is to approve the final strategy (34 percent). Other roles included 11 John C. Thomas, "Public Involvement and Governmental Effectiveness: A Decision-Making Model for Public Managers," Administration & Society, 24, no. 4 (1993). 12 Charles F. Finn, "Utilizing Stakeholder Strategies for Positive Collaborative Outcomes," in Creating Collaborative Advantage, ed. Chris Huxham (London, UK: Sage Publications, 1996).

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Creating a Process Plan and Road Map 37 monitoring performance against established goals (19 percent), participating in and helping to develop strategic content (16 percent), identifying key strategic issues (15 percent), and challeng- ing emerging strategies (10 percent). External Stakeholders are the following: Airlines (67 percent) Federal Aviation Administration (61 percent) Department of Homeland Security (51 percent) Metropolitan Statistical Area representatives (24 percent) Local area elected officials or community representatives (49 percent) Local regulatory agencies State agencies Other federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Justice) Airport tenants (71 percent) Airport users (71 percent) Passengers (39 percent) The general public (41 percent) Chamber of Commerce A majority (52 percent) of the online survey respondents stated that airlines and other air- port tenants should be major contributors to the airport's strategic plan development. Another 34 percent indicated that airlines and other airport tenants should play only a specific role in the process, while 14 percent indicated that they should be excluded altogether. To help identify the internal and external stakeholders that should be involved in the strategic planning process and determine the extent of their involvement, fill out Worksheet 3.05, "Stakeholder Identification and Involvement." 3.6.4.2 Determine Stakeholder Expectations The next step is to determine the expectations of each stakeholder. This determination should be objective and, to the extent possible, fact-based, not based on preconceived judgments or assumptions. The expectations of the stakeholders are generally gathered though interviews and discussions. The expectations of passengers and employees can also be empirically verified by surveys, focus groups, or other methods. To map stakeholder expectations, the strategic planning team should answer the following questions: What is the stakeholder's interest in our organization? What is the stakeholder's expectation from its relationship with our organization? What contribution could the stakeholder make to our organization? What is the stakeholder's influence on our organization? What is the stakeholder's current opinion of our organization? 3.6.4.3 Define Stakeholder Roles Once the stakeholders are identified, their levels of participation should be defined. The lev- els of participation range from a minimum of simply informing stakeholders to empowering

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38 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry CASE STUDY Defining Participants in the Process--Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport In August 2006, the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) initiated a 14-month comprehensive audit of the management and operational practices at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Inter- national Airport (the Airport). The audit resulted in the creation of a comprehensive strategic plan, consisting of 16 strategic initiatives. Unlike some airport organizations that conduct the entire strategic planning process internally, the NOAB hired two outside consultants to conduct the process. The audit and strategic planning process was executed in five phases. The first phase involved a situation analy- sis, which included interviews with over 35 Airport stakeholders. The purpose of the interviews was to gather data about the Airport's vision, mission, values, structure, markets, customers, employee and contractor abili- ties, processes, systems, tools, stakeholder relationships, and reputation within the airport community and external community at large. The interviewees were as follows: Core Airport Staff--Deputy Directors, as well as other managers and employees of various Airport departments. Board Members--Select NOAB members. Airlines--Representatives of the major airlines serving the Airport. Concessionaires--Representatives of concessionaires, including disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) partners. Government Officials--Representatives from Jefferson Parish, St. Charles Parish, the City of Kenner, and the City of New Orleans. Community Leaders--Local community and business leaders. Professional Services Contractors--Providers of select professional services to the NOAB (e.g., outside legal counsel). As part of the audit and strategic planning process, the consultants met with the "audit endorsement team" to present and finalize the results of each phase of the process and to receive their feedback. The audit endorse- ment team included the Chairperson of the NOAB Audit Committee, the Airport's Director of Aviation, and two other members of the NOAB. At the end of the audit and strategic planning process, the final strategic plan was presented to the full NOAB and the Director of Aviation for approval. Implementation and monitoring of the strategic plan are led by the Airport's Director of Aviation with the assis- tance of a consultant. The NOAB, similar to any organization seeking to successfully implement a strategic plan, is being guided to do the following: Sustain a genuine commitment from executives and senior managers. Make sure key stakeholders understand why the organization is changing. Appoint an executive champion of the implementation process. Have executives and senior managers model needed behavioral changes. Learn to think and act strategically. Manage the natural human resistance to change. Monitor and share results with key stakeholders. Solicit and act upon feedback from key stakeholders. Make necessary course corrections in the implementation process. Emphasize that executives and senior managers lead with honesty and trustworthiness.

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Creating a Process Plan and Road Map 39 stakeholders by including them as part of the strategic planning team and the decision-making process. Each participation level has a different goal and makes a different kind of promise to the stakeholders. In addition, not all stakeholders need to be involved in all aspects of the process. The participation matrix shown in Worksheet 3.05 can assist the strategic planning team in categorizing its strategy for involving stakeholders. The types of participation shown in the worksheet are generic and should reflect the desires of the strategic planning team. The types of participation included in Worksheet 3.05 are the following: Inform. Stakeholders will be kept informed of the process status and its outcomes. Consult. Stakeholders' opinions and suggestions will be taken into account and they will be kept informed of the process status and its outcomes. Involve. Stakeholders will work with the strategic planning team, and their concerns, ideas, or tactics will be considered and reflected as part of the strategic plan. Collaborate (Planning Team Member). Stakeholders will be part of the strategic planning team so that their advice and recommendations can, to the extent possible, be incorporated into the organization's strategic plan. To summarize stakeholder participation and stakeholder roles, the strategic planning team should develop a power versus interest grid, as illustrated on Exhibit 3-7. This grid provides a clear snapshot of which stakeholders should be involved and consulted and which stakeholders are likely to be advocates/supporters of the process. This grid should include all stakeholders expected to take part in the process and be color-coded to differentiate advocates and supporters, poten- tial critics, and others who will most likely be neutral. 3.6.4.4 Develop a Communications Strategy to Keep Stakeholders Informed Deciding when and how to involve stakeholders can be a challenge. No single process works well in all cases, and a standardized strategy to address all of the complex situations encountered High Board Members Consult Collaborate Local Regulatory Dep. Agency Airlines Leaders Power FAA Inform Involve Airport Dep. of Homeland Employees Low Security Low Interest High Note: Dep. Stands for Department. Sources: Adapted from Colin Eden and Fran Ackermann, Making Strategy: The Journey of Strategic Management (London, UK: Sage Publications, 1998). Exhibit 3-7. Power versus interest grid.

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40 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry by airport department leaders is unrealistic. In most instances, the following questions should be asked when developing a communications strategy: What information do the stakeholders expect from the planning team? How do the stakeholders want to receive information from the planning team? What is the best way of communicating the organization's message to the stakeholders? The planning team's communications strategy should provide the framework for all commu- nications regarding the strategic plan and include a plan for all communications that reflects the number and type of stakeholders, the objectives of the communication, and the stakeholders' roles and expectations. This plan should also include information on who is responsible for all activi- ties in the planning process and identify the links and critical activities through a detailed work schedule. The aim in developing a communications strategy is to show how the planning team will involve stakeholders so that they can contribute to and shape the organization's strategic plan. Stakeholder Information Needs. The planning team must define the information needs of the stakeholders who it is anticipated will contribute to the organization's strategic planning process. These needs include both the information required by the stakeholders and the infor- mation required from the stakeholders. The information needs pertaining to each stakeholder group can be recorded using Worksheet 3.05. Typical questions that should be answered by the planning team when defining the information needs of the stakeholders include the following: What information is this stakeholder group interested in? What information does this stakeholder need to contribute to the strategic planning process? What is expected from this stakeholder? What are the mandatory communication needs for this stakeholder? What are the informational communication needs for this stakeholder? (Typical informa- tional needs include updates and progress reports on the planning process. Stakeholders can be kept informed through staff newsletters, focus groups, soliciting their input at different stages of the process, and building two-way feedback into already scheduled meetings.) What are the marketing communication needs for this stakeholder? (Marketing communica- tion should be designed to build buy-in and enthusiasm for development of the strategic plan and its implementation. Typical marketing products that the team can develop as part of the process include newsletters and posters.) What is the information level of detail required for this stakeholder? How often does the stakeholder need an update? What is the preferred delivery mechanism? Informing Stakeholders and Inviting Stakeholder Participation. Typically, it is a good idea to provide a number of ways for stakeholders to participate in the strategic planning process and be informed about it. The planning team needs to create several ways for stakeholders to partic- ipate in development of the plan based on their level of interest and available time. Opportuni- ties for informing stakeholders and inviting their participation that can be built into the strategic planning process include the following: Website updates (intranet/Internet). Stakeholders can remain informed through a dedicated web page on the organization's intranet or Internet site. Use of an organization's intranet or the Internet provides a means to communicate a large volume of information, distribute materials and the process timeline, and gather feedback from stakeholders. In addition, the organization's intranet or Internet site can be used as a portal to other methods of communication, including newsletters and PowerPoint presentations. The main disadvantage associated with use of the Internet or an intranet to communicate with stakeholders is that significant development time would be required if the organization does not already have a website.