Strategic plan development is different for each organisation and factors such as leadership style, vision, company size, company values, growth expectations, competencies and available capital all have a major influence in the approach taken. The purpose of this essay is to explore a number of these influences and discuss the impact these influences would have on both a small organisation, whose primary focus is to serve a local market, and a large organisation, whose market extends globally. The influences discussed within this essay include the importance of leadership, different growth strategies and considerations regarding funding strategies for growth.
A key ingredient for the development of a strategic plan is leadership and the leader’s vision for the organisation. As Giordan (1995) summarised “leaders who fail to be visionary do not remain leaders for long”, so how does a leader determine the vision for his or her organisation? For small organisations the leader tends to be the major shareholder, understands all facets of running the business and as the boss wants full autonomy to determine the vision and strategic direction of the organisation (How to Succeed in Small Business, 2006). For larger organisations taking this “lone wolf” approach without the involvement of other stakeholders, including employees at various levels within the organisation, will usually result in confusion and the strategic plan not being realised (Giordan, 1995). Large organisations, including successful privately owned organisations, now adopt a more inclusive approach to developing a vision and strategic plan (Johnson, 2007) and currently two chains of thought exist regarding the development and implementation of a strategic plan for large organisations.
The first chain of thought takes the more orthodox approach of involving all qualified sources, under the leadership of the CEO, to determine the vision and strategic plan for the organisation and then galvanising this within the organisation through effective communication (Giordan, 1995). The second chain of thought takes a step back with the leader first making sure that he or she has the right people on board, and in the correct roles, and then starting the process to develop the vision and strategic plan (Collins, 2001). The advantages of this approach include:
The resulting vision and strategic plan is more robust due to the quality and experience of the personnel involved in its development.
If the organisation has to quickly change direction, usually due to external opportunities and threats, by having the right people on board, and in the right positions, these changes can be quickly assessed and implemented.
By taking time to select the right people and putting them into the right roles, the leadership ability of the upper echelons of an organisation is greatly improved. This leadership acumen will naturally flow through all other levels of the organisation thus facilitating the galvanisation of the vision and strategic initiatives.
Once the vision and strategic plan have been developed, empowerment of staff at all levels of the organisation is essential to ensure its success (Giordan, 1995). Within a small business there are usually only one or two levels of management and staff empowerment across the organisation is relatively easy to achieve. Within a large organisation, due to the size of its organisation structure, it is not quite as easy and it takes a considerable amount of change management to fully empower its employees. Based upon experience working as a manager for large organisations such as Wang Laboratories, Gen-i and Telecom if empowerment is not disseminated throughout the organisation the following organisational issues will occur:
The organisation will develop organisational inertia and runs the risk of being slow to change to customer demands and market opportunities.