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Chapter Forty-Four - Environmental Scanning and Strategic Planning

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Articles on Environmental Scanning and Strategic Planning

Systems Thinking and Learning Organizations
The systems paradigm is a way of thinking about the strategic environment, and how to develop processes in organizations that achieve strategic goals. The systems paradigm should be viewed as a tool that leaders can use to design their organization's capability to: (1) analyze tactical and strategic environments; (2) develop and enact strategies in response to environmental demands; and, (3) sustain an adaptive and productive organizational culture. These three types of organizational processes are important in determining whether an organization can achieve strategic objectives in competitive environments.

Environmental Scanning
Successful management of colleges and universities depends upon the ability of the senior leaders to adapt to rapidly changing external environment. Unfortunately, the lead time once enjoyed by decisionmakers to analyze and respond to these and other changes is decreasing. Traditional long-range planning models, with their inward focus and reliance on historical data, do not encourage decisionmakers to anticipate environmental changes and assess their impact on the organization (Cope, 1981). The underlying assumption of such models is that any future change is a continuation of the direction and rate of present trends among a limited number of social, technological, economic, and political variables. Thus, the future for the institution is assumed to reflect the past and present or, in essence, to be "surprise-free." However, we know that this is not true, and the further we plan into the future, the less it will be true.

Environmental scanning as information seeking and organizational learning
Environmental scanning is the acquisition and use of information about events, trends, and relationships in an organization's external environment, the knowledge of which would assist management in planning the organization's future course of action. Depending on the organization's beliefs about environmental analyzability and the extent that it intrudes into the environment to understand it, four modes of scanning may be differentiated: undirected viewing, conditioned viewing, enacting, and searching. We analyze each mode of scanning by examining its characteristic information needs, information seeking, and information use behaviors. In addition, we analyze organizational learning processes by considering the sense making, knowledge creating and decision making processes at work in each mode.

Look Out! Environmental Scanning for Associations
If you saw all kinds of trains moving around at a rail switch, some of them racing right toward you as you stood on the track what would you do? Yes, the right answer is to jump away and quickly! What is amazing is that many associations act as if there are no trains coming toward them, ignoring them so they have to jump away at last minute, or sometimes not at all. Do you look around to take in all the trends, events and conditions that might affect your association, analyze them, and then use them? If so, you are using an effective strategic planning process called Environmental Scanning. If you are not, better look out before its too late!

Strategic Planning by the Chairmen, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1990 TO 2005
This article examines how the Chairmen Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1990 to 2005 used a strategic planning system to respond to their global challenges. By analyzing this planning systems evolution, processes and products along with each leaders use, leadership concepts are identified for future leaders in the following areas: use of vision; balancing flexibility and structure in processes and products; responding to different types of challenges; and influencing climate and culture.

Strategic Planning and the Drug Threat
The primary purpose of this publication is to show how the principles and techniques of strategic and operational planning can be applied to the supply reduction side of our national effort to curb the trafficking of illicit drugs. An earlier version was published in 1991 which introduced campaign planning methodology as a means to help bridge the gap existing between the policy and strategy documents of higher echelons and the tactical plans developed at the field level. These campaign planning principles, formats, and examples of operational level techniques have been retained and updated for use as models for current interagency actions. This expanded edition provides a more detailed overview of the drug problem in the opening chapter and adds a new chapter devoted to strategy--what are the key ingredients and how is an effective strategy formulated? The United States is at a critical juncture in its campaign to eliminate the rampant drug problem. Past gains are in danger of being lost. Recent trends suggest a resurgence in illicit drug use and that younger and younger Americans are falling prey to the drug pusher.

The Strategic Planning Process
In the 1970's, many large firms adopted a formalized top-down strategic planning model. Under this model, strategic planning became a deliberate process in which top executives periodically would formulate the firm's strategy, then communicate it down the organization for implementation.

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Web-based resources

Strategic Planning Basics

Leadership: A Lifelong Journey through Ever-Changing Roles

Strategic Planning Reference and Resource Book

Environmental Scanning

A selection of Environmental Scanning reports created by a college

Online Environmental Scanning Resources

Environmental Scanning Assessment Tools

Visioning and Strategic Planning

Strategic IT Planning and Management Guide

A Guide to Strategic Planning for Rural Communities

Strategic Planning in Smaller Non-profit Organizations

Strategic Planning in Nonprofit and Public Sector Organizations

Association for Strategic Planning

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Visual Summaries of Various Strategic Planning and Environmental Scanning Models

Scanning and Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Pyramid

Strategic Plan Flow Chart

Environmental Scanning Matrix

The Role of External Analysis in Strategic Planning

Visioning Model

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