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CHAPTER 7 Identifying Strategic Issues, Strategies, and Long-Term Objectives This chapter discusses the ways the planning team can identify the issues that should be Creating a Process Plan and Road Map addressed in the strategic plan, determine the organization's strategies, and set long-term objectives (Chapter 3) to address the strategic issues identified. The purpose of this chapter is to enable the planning team to do the following: Evaluating and Understanding the Identify the most significant strategic issues that the organization faces. A strategic issue is a Organization fundamental policy choice affecting an organization's mandates, mission, product or service (Chapter 4) level and mix, customers or users, financing structure, processes, or management. Determine if the organization has adopted, or needs to adopt, a generic strategy. The concept Defining and Articulating the Organization's Mission, of "generic strategies," developed by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, sug- Vision, and Values gests that cost leadership, differentiation, and focus (cost focus and differentiation focus) are (Chapter 5) the primary sources of an organization's competitive advantage.81 Determine the grand strategy or strategies that the organization should adopt. Grand strate- Scanning the Environment gies provide a comprehensive general approach to guide the major actions necessary to accom- and Predicting Developments plish the long-term objectives of the organization. (Chapter 6) Set long-term objectives that address the organization's strategic issues and support the organi- zation's strategies. Long-term objectives are statements of the results an organization seeks to Identifying Strategic Issues, achieve over a specified period of time (typically 3 to 5 years). They represent enabling actions Strategies, and Long-Term for achieving the organization's strategies. Objectives (Chapter 7) 7.1 Identifying Strategic Issues Formulating Short-Term Objectives and Creating Action Plans Strategic issues are the most important challenges for an organization to address during the (Chapter 8) term of the strategic plan, particularly during the 12-month or fiscal year cycle following com- pletion and adoption of the strategic plan. Strategic issues may be identified, in part, by review- ing the information from the organizational review (Chapter 4 worksheets) and the internal and Writing, Communicating, and Executing the Plan external environment scan (Chapter 6 worksheets). (Chapter 9) The 20082012 strategic plan of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC, owner and operator of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport [MSP]) is an example of the types of strate- Monitoring, Evaluating, and gic issues that may be identified by the operators of larger airports in their strategic plans: Modifying the Plan (Chapter 10) The most critical issues [the] Metropolitan Airports Commission will face in the next 5 years [are]: Meeting Customer Expectations for Service Levels Challenge: Customers expect MAC to maintain and improve service levels throughout our system of airports. Allocation of financial resources necessary to meet expectations needs to keep pace as the size and complexity of the infrastructure continues to grow. 81 Michael E. Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (New York: Free Press, 1998). 90