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Strategic planning is a capacious process, meaning not only the planning of the current activity of a healthcare organization, but also the basis for the formation of short-term and long-term plans, reflecting organizational objectives, opportunities, and prospects. Strategic planning at St. Francis Maternal Health Centre requires paying attention to details. The implementation of a strategic plan should be based on the examination of potential barriers, application of appropriate methods and strategies, measurement guidelines, tolerance range, and corrective actions. It should present a coherent procedure taking into account the elements mentioned above and landmarks of the health care organization.
Problems of strategic plan implementation include non-compliance with the tasks outlined at St. Francis Maternal Health Centre and actual circumstances of its introduction to the management of human, material, and non-material resources of the health care organization (Bryson & Alston, 2011). The following factors contribute to this problem:
1) A tendency among employees in the organization to take only those initiatives that they perceive the most appropriate for them;
2) The strategic plan contains complex or controversial initiatives that can be difficult to understand or interpret differently, especially in case of organizational expansion;
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3) Organizational difficulties in the implementation of initiatives;
4) A hostile attitude of employees if they do not agree with innovations;
5) Any initiative in the strategic plan is perceived as a threat;
6) A low level of confidence in the senior and top management;
7) The ineffectiveness of current processes to facilitate the implementation of initiatives outlined in the strategic plan;
8) The lack of understanding of strategic needs of the business, which leads to the perception of the strategic plan as both irrelevant and even counterproductive;
9) An inadequate assessment of external environment and cultural factors that affect the content of the strategic plan;
10) The development of ill-conceived and inappropriate initiatives, possibly under the influence of fashion trends or as a result of a poor analysis of the allegedly best practice, which does not meet the requirements of the Health Centre;
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11) The underestimation of practical difficulties of undertaking initiatives by all stakeholders and implementing them into everyday organizational practices;
Each of the above factors may act as a barrier to the successful implementation of the strategic plan at the Health Centre. They may arise at any stage of development and implementation. These barriers should be overcome through taking the following actions gradually:
- An initial analysis of the needs and corporate culture of the organization, internal and external environmental factors;
- Formulating a strategy defining objectives, costs, and benefits of plan implementation;
- Receiving support from the senior management, line managers, employees, and union members, including an explanation and justification of intentions, as well as the involvement of stakeholders in the formulation of the strategic plan;
- Preparing a plan of action, which must be prescribed necessary steps, responsibilities, and deadlines;
- Organizing the management of the project according to the plan of action or a project plan, including monitoring and solving problems;
- Taking follow-up actions and conducting an evaluation (Swayne, Duncan, & Ginter, 2012).
Ways of Communicating the Plan to the Employees
For the employees, it is important to understand the strategy of the organization. Those who are familiar with Health Centre’s plans can apply solutions on a daily basis that will not contradict the strategy of the company. Therefore, the plan of communicating strategic initiatives to the employees should include the use of special, the most convenient, and usual communication channels (general meetings, trainings, surveys, and questionnaires), careful selection of the most important information, and control over the correct understanding of specific and general provisions of the strategic plan. It should explain the choice of models of strategic behavior, and advantages of such a plan. Getting a positive response from employees is crucially important. Using a feedback, top managers can complement the strategic plan with proposals of employees.
Market Entry Strategy
The market entry strategy of St. Francis Maternal Health Centre is active promotion of healthcare services through the application of marketing tools and communication channels to capture the healthcare segment of people with maternal needs and different ailments. This strategy will enable the Health Centre to obtain more marketing opportunities and improve the public health. In terms of the strategic plan, it will be implemented through the detail examination and exploitation of market advantages of the organization and involvement of necessary categories of responsible persons to attract more patients, carry out general meetings, and to research the ever-changing outside environment of the healthcare organization. Furthermore, the implementation of the strategic plan should involve the regular coordination of the compliance of factual performance with the expected results.
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Methods and Strategies Supporting Plan Implementation
Implementation processes should be supported by organizational and managerial methods. The latter include a compensation program, development of the management structure, method of a continuous search, budget distribution, management by goals, and others. These methods directly influence the implementation of the strategic plan through stimulation and rational exploitation of resources available at the Health Centre. Thus, strategies that will support the implementation of the strategic plan should include appropriate resources allocation and communication, as well as the development of services, including an innovative outcome, vertical integration with suppliers of drugs and facilities, HRM development, job design for employees, financial improvement, business sustainability, and strategies related market research. All these approaches will automatically facilitate the implementation of a strategic plan as a landmark.
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