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The Strategic Planning Process Template outlines the planning process for the determination and selection of new IT systems in an organization. The overview page (A — Strategic Planning) moves from target selection to requirements definition to the decision phase, and includes links to placeholder pages for the detailed definition of the three decision outcomes. In Task A02 (and others on this page), notice that the Supporting Role is the name of a group rather than an individual role. The Process Connector Labeled E01 leads to a continuation page (not included) that involves creating training for the new work processes. The Process Connector Labeled F01 leads to a continuation page (not included) that defines the procurement process for the new system. The Process Connector Labeled G01 leads to a continuation page (not included) that defines the development process for the new system.
This page contains the sub-process for Task A07, so note that the map begins and ends with Process Connectors labeled A07.
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Thoughtfully listing the STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS of your situation should be done at least once a year.
A SWOT analysis is useful for hospitals, medical groups, and individuals in private practice—it helps focus your marketing in areas that harbor the strongest benefits.
Create a four-part grid on a single piece of paper to provide an overview that helps visualize the relationships. STRENGTHS: List of your capabilities and resources that can be the basis of a distinct competitive advantage. OPPORTUNITIES: In addition to new or significant trends, what other external opportunities exist and how can we best exploit or benefit from each?
If you’d like to know more about putting this high-value assessment tool to work in your plan, we would be pleased to provide a well-informed and objective sounding board for you. Stewart GandolfChief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success StrategiesStewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. This journey begins in Module 1 with important definitions, concepts, tips and insights for those looking for an overview of discipline. Issues management is an anticipatory, strategic management process that helps organizations detect and respond appropriately to emerging trends or changes in the socio-political environment.
Organizations engage in issues management if decision-makers are actively looking for, anticipating, and responding to shifting stakeholder expectations and perceptions likely to have important consequences for the organization. Issues should precipitate action when a collective, informed assessment demonstrates that the organization is likely to be affected. In contrast, the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, provided an example of effective issues management in action when it worked with disabilities advocacy groups to ensure a new arena would not merely comply with the specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but rather, would meet a higher standard set collaboratively (Matera & Artique, 2000).
A 2002 survey by the Foundation for Public Affairs revealed that 44 percent of all companies with an internally recognized public affairs function have staff members working on issues management full-time.
In the context of corporate issues management, issues are controversial inconsistencies caused by gaps between the expectations of corporations and those of their publics. Issues are commonly described as having a lifecycle comprising five stages–early, emerging, current, crisis and dormant. For example, an ice storm in November 2002 caused extensive, multi-day power outages in North and South Carolina.
While there are many models of the issues management, most contend that the process comprises between five and 10 steps that fall into three major categories: (1) issue identification and analysis, (2) strategic decision-making and action, and (3) evaluation. Scanning–The first step in effective issues management is the application of informal and formal research methods to explore the organization’s environment. Given our information-rich time, the challenge is not sourcing information, but in mining that information for organization-relevant, intelligible and credible insight.
Monitoring–While often paired with scanning and used interchangeably, monitoring is conceptually and practically a step separate from scanning. Prioritization–Determining which issues demand organizational response and, therefore, the allocation of resources demands detailed analysis. Strategic Options–Like any other management discipline, robust issues management strategy emerges from sound data, diverse viewpoints and ingenuity. Identify environmental forces by scanning and monitoring; select a logic or story line (Explain why and how these forces might take different paths.
Action Taking–According to issues manager practitioner-expert Tony Jacques, the greatest barriers to effective issues management are the lack of clear objectives, and unwillingness or inability to act (Jacques, 2000).
The steps involved in evaluating the success of issues management initiatives will vary as much as the issues themselves.
Practitioners today have access to more measurement tools than ever before; the challenge is to find the tools that best fit the set objectives. Scan and monitor what is being said, written and done by public, media, interest groups, government and other opinion leaders.
Advocate the company position to prevent negative impacts and encourage actions with beneficial effects.
There is an established mechanism to identify current and future issues through environmental scanning and issue analysis.
Responsibility for stewardship of the issue management process is clearly assigned and mechanisms are in place to build organizational expertise in the discipline. Ownership of each major issue is clearly assigned at an operational level with accountability and results linked to performance reviews. Progress against key issues is formally reviewed with organizational owners on a regular basis and the status of each is monitored at the highest management level. Formal channels exist for managers at all levels to identify and elevate potential issues for possible integration into broader strategic planning, including external stakeholder management. Issue management is recognized and organizationally positioned as a core management function that is not confined to a single function or department.
For a practical description of a corporation engaged in issues management, Palese and Crane (2002) offer a detailed case study from DaimlerChrysler.
A well-designed issues management process that has authentic management support can help move the organization closer to its goals, empowering managers to anticipate and respond to changes in its external environment.
Most definitions of issues management will specify steps and stages in the process, including (1) environmental scanning, (2) issue identification, (2) issue impact assessment and prioritization, (3) development of objective-driven strategy, (4) action and (5) evaluation.
While public relations and public affairs practitioners and scholars have driven much of the discussion about and development of issues management over the past 40 years or more, issues management does not belong exclusively to just one or two departments and is not a line function.
But, don’t focus on communication at the expense of understanding the critical importance of other functions. Like so much of what compels the attention of public relations practitioners and scholars, issues management is easy to define, makes intuitive sense and is worthy of being labeled a critical organizational function.
While one of the benefits of effectively responding to emerging issues may be the successful aversion of a future crisis, to frame issues management only in terms of what it helps organizations to avoid is inaccurate and very limiting. Includes information on such topics as budgets for public relations departments within corporations, as well as staffing levels, reporting lines, and the use of outside public relations firms. For critical views of corporate issues management activities and related topics, see Corporate Watch, PR Watch and Greenpeace. Modern approaches to issues management emerged in the 1960s, a time of significant social change.
The author started examining the efficacy of well-known planning approaches such as Porter’s 5 Forces, SWOT Analysis, Ashridge Mission Model, Experience Curve Model, Scenario Planning, BCG Matrix, McKinsey Matrix, beside performing a review of management literature on corporate planning. While Armstrong found that many companies of all sizes are using such tools, he did not find much evidence of a guaranteed success with their use of a formalized approach to Strategic Planning.
Major changes in a company structure such as Mergers or Acquisitions, big marketing changes or New Product Development. A period of strong Uncertainty such as when companies are faced with a relevant Crisis, or during important economical or political changes. Projects characterized by a high level of complexity, where a synergic collaboration is required from different parts of an organization. According to Armstrong, only under such circumstances a formal approach to strategic planning can be effective for a company success.
In all steps of the strategic planning process, the stakeholders' commitments not only need to be high, but also be given equal "weight". In 2006 we introduced our Talent Management Framework, as part of our High-Impact Talent Management® research program. As this colorful model shows, many of the original concepts remain the same – but we have carefully added some new elements and reworded several functions to show how this whole area has evolved.
Compensation Planning enables complete planning and management of all types of compensation programs including salary, merit increases, market adjustments, lump sum payments & other discretionary pay components.

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In addition, it also includes a sub-process page (AG — High-level Business Case) to illustrate how the Sub-process TaskID field is used in Task A07.
Although providing separate role names is usually desirable when creating TaskMaps, using a group name is often appropriate when three or more people consistently work as a group throughout a process. The Sub-process TaskID indicates that Task A07 is broken down into more detail on another page, in this case page AG. For example, Build business case (AG01) might require multiple tasks instead of the one shown here, and might involve multiple roles. It also includes a less likely but very real possibility, Business case rejected, which causes the Business Analyst to start again. At least twice each year, use the SWOT analysis to discover key internal and external issues and refresh the strategies and tactics of your marketing plan.
Here are a few ideas to maximize the value and generate effective strategies from this exercise. No practice is immune to threats, but too many people miss, ignore or minimize these threats, often at great cost.
Be Realistic: Use a down-to-earth perspective, especially as you evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Apply Context: Distinguish between where the organization actually is today, and where it could be in the future. Update your marketing plan and goals: Once the key issues have been identified, define the action steps to achieve change. Dougall’s article contains definitions, concepts, tips and insights on what research teaches us about issues management.
In fact, the USC Annenberg 2007 GAP V survey of senior public relations practitioners revealed that those with direct budgetary responsibility for issues management (42 percent) were more likely to report higher levels of C-suite support, effective working relationships with other departments, larger budgets, and more access to resources for research, evaluation and strategic implementation.
Module 2 provides a brief overview of the origins of the discipline and Module 3 explores selected concepts from contemporary scholars of business and communication strategy.
These trends or changes may then crystallize into an “issue,” which is a situation that evokes the attention and concern of influential organizational publics and stakeholders. Such responses may be operational and immediately visible, such as McDonald’s anticipatory move from plastic to paper packaging in 1990. For example, in 2007, changes to local laws made the retrofitting of car sunroofs illegal in Beijing and left a national manufacturer of sunroofs scrambling to negotiate with other local and regional governments to protect their profitable business. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) had been on the issues management radar of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) for years when, in 2003, the first case of BSE on American soil was identified in Washington State.
Chase (1984) argued that issues management is a natural fit for public relations and its various disciplines including public affairs, communications and government relations. The same survey showed that within companies regularly using non-dedicated members to manage issues, 71 percent obtain these individuals from other corporate staff functions like human resources or finance (Mahon, Heugens & Lamertz, 2004). In simple terms, as the issue moves through the first four stages, it attracts more attention and becomes less manageable from the organization’s point of view.
In spite of steps taken by the health authorities and major power utilities to issue standard warnings about the indoor use of generators, gas grills and charcoal grills for temporary heating and cooking, hundreds of carbon monoxide poisoning cases were recorded across the state during the power outages that followed. Developed by and for practitioners, Palese and Crane (2002) propose a four-stage model comprising issue identification, analysis, strategy and measurement (see Figure 1).
Practitioners and scholars alike have tended to focus most on the first two categories of steps (See Anticipatory Management Process). At the strategic decision-making stage, an appointed issue action team analyzes the issues and priorities in more detail. The assumption is that mindful scanning of the environment is a kind of insurance against “surprise threats or missed opportunities” (Bridges & Nelson, 2000, p. In general terms, environmental scanning is the systematic, multi-method collection and review of potentially relevant data from industry, government and academic sources. When scanning systems reveal a situation or problem with the earmarks of an emerging organizational issue, the decision to monitor should be taken. Although there are many ways to analyze issues using open access and proprietary models, the two most critical dimensions of issues are probability of occurrence and organizational impact.
Assembling the right people, sometimes called an issue action team,arming them with credible information, and identifying realistic and measurable objectives provides the foundation for effective anticipatory and responsive strategy development.
For example, energy utilities faced with environmental concerns are making choices between “retro-fitting” or updating existing facilities vs.
For example, measuring the extent and tone of media coverage is meaningful only if one of the pursued objectives is to secure specific media attention in t erms of volume, channels, tone and so on. This company is committed to “a weekly process that uses several innovative tools to stimulate collaborative dialogue with a team of global managers who are all, technically, issue managers,” (p.
Emerging in the 1960s as an organizational response to uncertain socio-political environments, issues management was originally described only in defensive terms as an early warning system or process that helps organizations avoid undesirable public policy outcomes. Many observe that issues management is a misnomer because the term overstates the capacity of any organization to control issues that have emerged in public opinion, public policy and other dimensions of the socio-political environment. Identifying an issue and figuring out if and how much it’s likely to matter to an organization now and in the future demands insight that can only emerge from formal and informal research. You don’t have to be a corporate communication or public affairs specialist to be engaged in issues management. It is a process to organize an organization’s “expertise and enable it to participate effectively in the shaping and resolution of public issues that critically impinge upon its operations” (Arrington & Sawaya, 1984, p.
Communication specialists who are blind to operational opportunities and constraints, and to the wider strategic goals and processes of an organization, cannot fulfill the boundary-spanning demands of any contemporary communication management role. Measuring and evaluating the success or failure of issues management in practice, however, is conceptually and practically complicated. Issues management is about moving the organization forward by offensively addressing strategic goals. The application of issues management and risk management processes may, however, overlap when issues emerge in the issue environment that result from contention over the risks associated with an organization such as a product, service, policy, by-product or some other aspect of its operations. Public disaffection with business began to manifest in regulations and other public policy initiatives. Armstrong in his 1982 article “The Value of Formal Planning for Strategic Decisions”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. After having carried out research on many companies, and having completed 28 validation studies to evidence his early hypothesis, Armstrong explained his simple approach to formal strategic planning and underlined under which circumstances it might work well.
Think of the current page as the 35,000-foot view of the process and page AG as the 5,000-foot view of the details. Weaknesses can sometimes be the absence of certain strengths, and in some cases, a weakness may be the reverse side of one of your strengths. As the paper explores selected concepts from contemporary business and communication scholars, readers are encouraged to post comments and to click on the links to the author’s original sources. For those who have battled for the legitimacy of public relations as a management function, the credibility and senior management access issues management can deliver is something that communication professionals may find only in the midst of crises. So emphatic was the relationship between issues management and key indicators of effective practice, the authors added establishing an issues management strategy to the list of 13 best practices for public relations. At its best, issues management is stewardship for building, maintaining and repairing relationships with stakeholders and stakeseekers (Heath, 2002). Other common strategic responses are direct, behind-the-scenes negotiations with lawmakers and bureaucrats, and proactive campaigns using paid and earned media to influence how issues are framed.
Introduced in advance of the 2008 Olympics, the laws were the outcome of lobbying by various stakeholders, including health and safety agencies, and car manufacturers. By anticipating the event and mapping out a goal-driven response in advance, the NCBA was able to respond rapidly. Heath and Cousino (1990) argued that public relations practitioners understand and can play important roles in increasingly complex environments, including promoting the bottom line interests of the organization and building relationships.
Furthermore, Regester and Larkin (2005) contend that public relations practitioners “are well placed to help manage issues effectively, but often lack the necessary access to strategic planning functions or an appropriate networking environment which encourages informal as well as formal contact and reporting,” (p. While organizations, stakeholders and other constituencies may be concerned about the same issue, their perspectives are rarely the same.
Disproportionately represented among the affected were non-English speaking Latino immigrants. Regester and Larkin (2005) recommend a seven-step process including monitoring, identification, prioritization, analysis, strategy decision, implementation and evaluation (see Figure 2). This team should include people who are closest to the issue and best equipped to direct and implement the organization’s response. Long laundry lists itemizing where to scan for early and emerging issues are provided in essential texts such as Robert Heath’s “Strategic Issues Management.” These lists change over time as information and communication technologies expand and improve.

Heath (1997) argued that monitoring should occur only after the issue meets three criteria: The issue (1) is listed in standard indexes, which suggests growing legitimacy as signaled by journalists and other opinion leaders, (2) offers a quantifiable threat or opportunity in terms of the organization’s markets or operations, (3) is championed by a group or institution with actual or potential influence.
Anticipatory management specialists William Ashley and James Morrison contend that scenarios are a highly effective way to stimulate strategic thinking by helping provide maps of the alternate pathways along which issues may develop. The scanning, monitoring, prioritization and strategic decision-making steps have no value unless action is taken toward achieving specific and measurable objectives.
Other objectives, such as influencing the drafting of legislation, positioning the organization effectively in relation to an industry-wide problem, or correcting allegations about a product or service all require different metrics. While the need for effective issues management is more acute than ever, the Issue Management Council has identified nine best practice indictors. By the 1990s, practitioners and scholars began to give explicit recognition to the critical role of stakeholder expectations, but the emphasis continued to be on the reactive and defensive role played by issue managers in relation to “closing gaps” and avoiding problems. As a practice, issues management demands research expertise (data gathering, analysis and interpretation), mindfulness, a rich and current understanding of the socio-political environment of the organization, the industry and perhaps most importantly, the ability to advocate with senior management and across organizational boundaries.
Articulating measurable objectives at the outset of any issues management initiative is an essential first step.
While one of the side-benefits may be the aversion of crises, it’s a mistake to characterize the discipline as defensive and reactive (Heath, 1997, 2006; Jacques, 2002). A case-in-point is the debate about the effective communication of risks associated with prescription drugs. Today, the Public Affairs Council describes issues management as “the process of prioritizing and proactively addressing public policy and reputation issues that can affect an organization’s success.” The addition of the word “reputation” is an important one that pushes the discipline beyond the public policy boundaries of earlier models of issues management. A 2007 survey of CEOs revealed their expectation that communications chiefs be equipped to “see around corners” and anticipate how different audiences will react to different events, messages and channels (The Authentic Enterprise, 2007, p. The emerging trend was increased attention being paid to health and safety concerns in that city–including air quality, motor vehicle safety and traffic reduction. Helped by the fact that only one infected animal imported from Canada had been identified, the following strategic response effectively contained consumer concerns about American beef.
Issue communication is an important strategic component of issues management, but good decisions about communication strategies and tactics are more likely to be made by practitioners who understand the full scope of issues management, have an extensive knowledge of the organization and its environment, and are skilled collaborators equipped to negotiate within and across organizational boundaries. The role of the issues management process is to divine and determine the existence and likely impacts of these contestable points of difference.
As the issue matures, the number of engaged stakeholders, publics and other influencers expands, positions on the issue become more entrenched and the strategic choices available to the organization shrink.
The warnings, issued only in English, had failed to reach the rapidly expanding migrant, Spanish-speaking labor force moving into North Carolina. At this stage, the team allocates resources to an emerging or current issue and initiates the investigation of various strategic options–including issue communication.
While the labels applied may vary, organizational environments are typically divided into sectors, including the social (i.e. Jacques also makes the point that issues management no longer “belongs” to corporations; in fact, community organizations, NGOs, and other activist and advocacy groups have enacted some of the most innovative, aggressive and successful issue management initiatives of the modern era. While the drafting of legislation can be tracked relatively easily, repositioning or correcting allegations present more complex measurement challenges and require insights into the identity, perceptions and behaviors of target stakeholders before and after the issues strategies are enacted. Led by Tony Jacques, the outcomes of the ambitious Issue Management Council Best Practice Project are detailed in his article Using Best Practice Indicators to Benchmark Issue Management,(Public Relations Quarterly, Summer 2005).
Today, issues management is applied both opportunistically and offensively, progressing from reactive crisis prevention tool to maturing strategic management discipline (Jacques, 2002). One person is unlikely to possess all these attributes, but these are the resources that must be marshaled in the issues management process. Any organization or group formally or informally engaged in pursuing an issue that is relevant to its goals can benefit from understanding issues management concepts and processes. The United States pharmaceutical industry is widely criticized for inadequately communicating the risks of many popular and widely advertised drugs.
The sunroof manufacturer was caught in the crossfire of stakeholder interests, unable to respond effectively. The response was multi-layered, including direct consultation with regulators, consumer advocacy groups and other key stakeholders, as well as intensive national and international news media outreach.
Clearly, issues management is a process that demands cross-functional teams and effective collaboration.
If and when the issue becomes a crisis for the organization, the only available responses are reactive and are sometimes imposed by external parties, such as government agencies. The utilities and many other corporate and government organizations in the state had neglected to recognize the many implications of a growing population of non-English speakers.
See, for example, Greenpeace’s role in drafting the Kyoto protocol in 1997, an international treaty to curb greenhouse gases.
Tools such as surveys and interviews, as well as behavioral measures such as purchasing decisions, may all be necessary to evaluate such a layered objective. Building an integrated issue management process as a source of sustainable competitive advantage. These best practice indicators are organized into three categories–structural, implementation and integration. Furthermore, contemporary issues management can be much more than a defensive process useful only to corporations.
In sum, issues management is a complex discipline worthy of further scrutiny, keeping the following provisos in mind. Indeed, the discipline has much to gain from the attention and contributions of practitioners and scholars with diverse interests beyond business goals and corporate concerns. The risks and communication of those risks have precipitated the widespread attention of the public, media, advocacy groups and regulators.
Planned Parenthood) are well-established institutions that have long contended the same issue using many similar strategies and tactics, but with opposing and openly antagonistic positions.
Not all issues reach the crisis stage and many crises are not the result of an underlying issue. Although not culpable for the deaths, the utilities recognized the need to transform their capacities to communicate effectively across language barriers in emergencies. The process requires ongoing collaboration of key internal stakeholders, facilitated by frequent interaction. Issues can be moved up on the agenda for action, or back to continued monitoring, depending on prioritization. The agreement was subsequently ratified by almost all countries other than the United States. More resources than ever before are available to guide practitioners through their measurement and evaluation challenges, which are comparable across disciplines rather than specific to any one process.
The issue that compels the concern of stakeholders and publics* is about the drug companies’ perceived willingness to put profits before people. More significantly, beef demand rose by almost 8 percent in 2004 and consumer confidence in American beef increased from 88 percent just prior to the BSE event in 2003 to 93 percent in 2005; consumer spending on beef also increased an estimated $8 billion between 2003 and 2004 (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, 2005). The issue was not the ice storm or the power failure, but the fact that experienced and well-resourced utilities with sophisticated communications departments and carefully crafted public profiles failed to anticipate the changing state demographics and to incorporate known variables, such as the increasing number of energy consumers without English literacy.
In other words, issues management demands cross-organizational collaboration, regular teleconferences and email communication, and face-to-face meetings. One essential ingredient for success of initiatives like this is that they are guided by singularly clear objectives set and driven by committed actors who are willing and able to take action.
See, for example, Using Public Relations Research to Drive Business Results by Katharine Delahaye Paine, Pauline Draper and Angela Jeffrey. After being circulated globally to 175 people within DaimlerChrysler, the proposal is discussed via email and conference calls.
The strategies and tactics of issues management have long been a tool of organized labor, government and even activists, not only corporations (Heath, 2006). Issues managers don’t just plug into a database and relinquish all responsibility to information science. No discussion of issues management would therefore be complete without giving explicit recognition to the influence of organizations and groups outside the corporate realm. In other words, assessing the likelihood of an issue gaining momentum via the Internet must be considered.
This briefing includes actionable intelligence, and provides the name and contact information for the lead issue manager (p. See resources listed at Issue Action Publications for more on this, and other prescriptive models and recommendations.

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