Holistic Strategic Planning: Achieving Sustainable Results

By Plant, Thomas | Public Management, November 2008 | Go to article overview

Holistic Strategic Planning: Achieving Sustainable Results


Plant, Thomas, Public Management


The current environment in which the public sector operates is defined by heightened fiscal caution and increased scrutiny of public organizations. Local governments are under growing pressure to become more responsive to the needs of their constituencies.

One way to respond to these challenges is to develop a strategic plan that outlines the organization's vision and strategic priorities. For such a plan to be successful, however, it must be a "living" strategic plan that encompasses all components of the planning process. If it doesn't meet this standard, the plan will simply gather dust and have no impact on the organizational decision-making process.

This article focuses on developing a holistic approach to strategic planning. It suggests that in order to get achievable, sustainable results, all components in the process have to be seen as an integrated system through a holistic strategic framework.

To shed some light on this framework, selected benchmarked localities are profiled that have implemented components of a holistic system. A review of gaps in the process and recommended solutions is provided to assist local decision makers in applying the framework in their environments.

HOLISTIC STRATEGIC PLANNING MODEL

A holistic strategic planning model views the planning process as encompassing a number of independent yet interrelated components. In this way, the strategic plan is more than just a guiding document for the organization; it is a process that can impact the organizational culture and can position the local government to be able to provide greater accountability and transparency in the decision-making process.

A holistic system is based on the assumption that all of the system elements are interrelated and interdependent. As can be seen in Figure 1, the model consists of these four key elements:

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

1. Developing a strategic vision and goals involving stakeholder input.

2. Aligning and prioritizing strategic initiatives with the vision.

3. Developing operational business plans that align with the strategic plan and budgeting process.

4. Measuring success and reporting the results. (1)

The first step in the development of a holistic model, carried out to achieve buy-in, is to develop a strategic vision involving all relevant stakeholders in the process. The degree of stake holder involvement will depend on whether the strategic plan is a corporate plan or community-based plan. In a corporate plan, the focus is on articulating the community's goals and objectives.

In a community plan, the focus is on defining the goals and objectives of both the community and its diverse stakeholders. Once a strategic vision has been developed, this vision should be aligned with the strategic goals and objectives that provide greater clarification of the strategic vision.

The strategic initiatives that are developed are the individual initiatives or projects that when implemented provide benchmarks that can be used to communicate the success of the plan. To guide this process, it is important that criteria be established to determine whether the initiative is a strategic or operational initiative. Further, criteria should be developed to assist prioritizing the initiatives as high, medium, or low.

One of the final elements of the holistic model is the development of an operational business plan that highlights both the key business objectives for the department's operations and the performance indicators to evaluate departmental efficiency and effectiveness. The last major element is the establishment of a measurement process that will provide quantitative evidence in order to evaluate success in achieving the strategic goals and objectives and furthering the organization's vision.

BENCHMARKING

Few local governments have achieved implementation of all components of the holistic strategic plan model. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Holistic Strategic Planning: Achieving Sustainable Results
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.