Strategic Plan Analysis
Strategic planning is an inseparable and critical element of successful organization’s development. Such business success is possible only because of the outside-of-the-box examination of the company and the specific explanation of the managers’ vision where they want their business to go and how they are going to reach the objectives within a certain time. This research paper analyzes the strategic plan of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization within the frames of its objectives, goals evaluation, and priorities for developing in future based on “where, when and what” details. It also discusses whether the plan corresponds to the immediate and long-term needs of the organization and helps to position the company better in comparison to other relevant organizations. Finally, it presents the recommendations on how to improve the plan.
Immediate and Long-Term Needs Analysis
Business owners of any organization usually develop strategic plans in order to reach their general goals; and, as a rule, they conduct such planning separating the whole process into phases. This approach allows understanding of the improvements that where reached immediately during the process of progress evaluation towards reached targets or goals. Thus, it is essential to focus on different time-sensitive company’s elements within its environment and structure. Short-term or immediate strategic planning usually helps analyzing the organization’s characteristics during the present time and aims at the development of different strategies to improve them.
Looking at the DAV strategic plan, none of the short-time goals is indicated. The organization divided the whole plan into a couple of sections with a major part concentrating on the goals, metrics of success, and general strategies how to reach those goals. The areas that are covered in this part are significant for the company’s development; however, the specific steps to reach short-term or immediate objectives are omitted.
Taking into the consideration long-term goals, every company usually wants to solve permanent problems or issues in order to reach general targets. For this reason, such planning is about the reaction to the organization’s situation on competitive market with particular analysis of it’s political, economic, and social environment within the frames of the company’s adjustment of its developed strategies and the ability to influence others on a market.
In particular, DAV developed its long-term goals clearly as general strategic view within the following areas: general and volunteer services, employment, legislation, membership, communications, and fundraising. Every goal is one sentence long and demonstrates general direction for the organization to follow in perspective. At the same time, it would be essential to examine the procedures and policies that would help reach the ideas of the management that would lead the organization to the top. Indeed, every goal has its short-term strategies indicated; however, it would be more beneficial if the DAV representatives mentioned more about specific steps in examining the long-term ones (Poister & Streib, 2005).
As a rule, the latter strategies are based on short-term achievements ensuring organization’s progress and continuing accomplishments. Since no short-term goals are indicated, it is complicated to conclude about that successful long-term plans achievement. The aforementioned facts lead to the question whether DAV’s strategic plan helped in positioning the company in a better place in comparison to other organizations that work in this area.
DAV’s Strategic Plan and Competitiveness
Examining the DAV’s strategic plan, it is easy to notice that its structure lacks the general elements that are necessary for successful planning of the organization’s development; however, those ones that are present in the paper are still in the reverse order. For example, the mission statement, including a vision and values of the organization, should be placed at the beginning of the document. This element is the major part that gives a general idea of what the company is and wants to achieve within the short and long-term objectives. The DAV’s mission statement is written in a single paragraph and indicates certain steps. Indeed, it should be more precise and formulated into one sentence; however, the explanation of how to reach it should be more structured. Moreover, the organizational vision and values are not developed in specific enough form.
The DAV’s strategic plan itself is dated as of June 2015; therefore, it was probably written then. However, it is unclear for how many years the organization developed it. For instance, if to compare the DAV to other organization such as the Salvation Army, which is similar in its activities, the first element that gathers attention is its title “Strategic Plan 2011-2016” (The Salvation Army, 2017). The title is probably the only element that makes the Salvation Army strategic plan successful. In fact, it lacks general structure because it is written in a couple of paragraphs on the website as an address to the friends of the organization.
In addition, DAV’s strategic plan is organized as a separate document, which makes it more serious and solid. However, it still lacks substantial elements that would make it successful, which would further help the company develop faster within the set objectives and reached targets. Thus, it is essential to analyze the needed elements for the DAV’s strategic plan to make it complete but not failing. Considering that the presence of a separate document, which is called “strategic plan,” is already a positive phenomenon and since everybody attempts to succeed on competitive market, it is vital to try not only to reach but also to overcome the existing work results.
Every organization, whether it is profitable or not, needs to have a strategic plan developed in order to grow, and the DAV is not the exception. In spite of the fact that organizations differ based on their activities and overall mission, some elements are inseparable in every strategic plan. Thus, the first section of the DAV’s strategic plan should have the executive summary so that to show the list of the other sections. It is an important part for all of the stakeholders, such as investors/donors, consultants, and employees, in order to quickly understand the plan and decide whether they support it or not.
The second section offered by Lavinsky (2017), which he calls the “elevator pitch,” should include the description of the business. It is important to update this section annually in case the work direction changes so that employees could concisely and clearly articulate about DAV to other interested parties such as donors or potential partners. The next section in the structure of this strategic plan should be the mission statement and goals, which are well developed in the case of the DAV.
Furthermore, one of the inseparable elements of any organization’s strategic plan is SWOT analysis as it helps determine the existing strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities, and threats for the DAV’s development. In particular, the organization’s personnel should develop its strengths in the closest prospective in order to improve faster and grow higher.
Another section that is absent in the DAV’s strategic plan is the key performance indicators. In spite of the fact that the organization is not sales business, it is still significant to underline the numbers that are necessary to be achieved for the successful development. For example, in the first goal about the service, the DAV states about the recruitment process, training, and retraining of the best professional employees. It will be more efficient if the organization indicated the number of new employees it plans to recruit and train and the number of existing professional employees. This measure is only the fist example designed based on the first strategy in the first goal. The numbers as key performance indicators should be provided to each part of each strategy, which will help the leaders of organization see where they are now and where to progress in future.
It is also recommended to add the section about DAV’s target customers in order to understand what its target group is and what marketing efforts they should focus on so that to get more customers involved and receive a higher return on investment in the advertising matters. Moreover, this section should be connected with the industry analysis, which is a logical continuation of the strategic plan. It will help see DAV’s position on competitive market better while identifying the organization’s growth opportunities and various additional advantages within its scope of work.
In addition, marketing and operations plan should be inseparable parts of DAV’s strategic plan. The first one will help promote the company on the national and international level, gaining more partners, donors, or investors; the operations plan will help the company transform its opportunities and goals into real actions. It is also essential to develop individual projects within the operations plan and the steps to complete them. The aforementioned measure is the logical need for another section that is about the existence of human resources that would implement the previously mentioned goals and objectives. Finally, the DAV should have financial section in order to plan its financial projections.
To conclude, a strategic plan is essential for every organization. The correctly composed one with each section developed accurately helps the company progress faster. Thus, it is important to know the required amount of finances so that to pursue set goals and opportunities including the expenditures for the existing teams, marketing operations, and customers.
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