Strategic planning is about creating and maintaining competitive advantage. It is the process of making difficult choices among competing priorities and focusing the organization’s human and capital resources on those areas with the greatest long-term benefit.
HealthTech’s three-year planning cycle focuses on engaging participants, information gathering and communication. It is a key component of HealthTech’s management cycle that includes a management action plan, budget and annual report on progress.
In the first phase, Determine Readiness, the hospital evaluates whether it is ready to embark on a planning process. This step reveals potential roadblocks for the organization as they plan and seek to achieve strategic objectives. The second, Define the Planning Process, identifies the appropriate people to be involved and builds consensus for the process, outcomes and objectives.
The answer to, “Where are we now?” is determined during the Situation Analysis. This phase includes an assessment of the external market, organizational characteristics and competitive advantages and disadvantages. In addition, a five-year baseline financial forecast allows the board to see the financial implications of maintaining the status quo.
Phases four and five answer the question, “Where should we be going?” Once current market position has been established and strengths and weaknesses identified, Strategic Direction examines alternative futures, mission, vision and values. During phase five, Formulate Strategies, the organization evaluates those alternatives and picks the best from them, establishing strategies, goals and objectives. The five-year financial forecast is updated to validate that the resources required to implement the plan would be available.
And the sixth phase, Develop the Implementation Plan, determines how the hospital will achieve its vision. Key implementation tactics are defined, responsibilities spelled out, time lines agreed to and success measures identified. Finally, Measure Results helps ensure that the organization keeps its eye on the target by encouraging regular review of progress.
The seventh phase approach to strategic planning provides information to stimulate effective discussion and defines a clear path for implementation. With a consensus-driven strategic plan and methods for tracking implementation and progress in place and visible throughout the organization, employees see how their day-to-day actions help achieve the organization’s vision. The result — a plan that is realistic and achievable.