ADVANTAGES OF STRATEGIC PLANNING

Last edition, we began a discussion on Strategic Management .in continuation in this edition, we will highlight some of the advantages of applying Strategic Management in the running of your organization whether purely business or religious. If properly planned, executed and monitored, Strategic Management will facilitate your move towards excellence in the running of your organization. In particular, management Enhances the organizations ability to be proactive, anticipate problems, and stay focused on both the future and the present. strategy Allows decisions to be based on the best alternatives, since decisions are based on the groups consensus. This is the idea behind the Shura (consultation) that Allaah has recommended in the Quran: "and consult them in the affairs."

Then when you have taken a Improves the participants understanding and motivations, since they are following a clear and consistent vision in which they were participants in its formulation. Instills unity and internal consistency among all decisions and actions. Facilitates effective implementation of decisions and decreases resistance to change. This advantage is similar to what is derived from the consultative dimension of Japanese management. Japanese managers discovered that when they involve personnel in the decisions that affect them and include their insights and suggestions, implementation is smoother and faster. Similarly, involving personnel during the strategy formulation stage facilitates strategy implementation. most effective results In our quest to serve Allaah, one of strategic managements most important goals is to attain excellence. Shaddaad ibn Aws (RA) relates that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Allaah has ordained excellence in everything .... " (Muslim)

In this regard, the Quran emphasizes that ones reward should be commensurate with ones effort (Q3: 136; Q99:7 and Q48: 19). This rule applies to the immediate reward in this life as well as the deferred reward in the Hereafter. Ones work is rewarded not only by other people, but also by Allaah (Q50:30). The idea of ihsan correlates with the concept of a sustainable competitive advantage (SeA). In the corporate world, achieving SCA means that a firm occupies an industry position that leads to superior performance over 10 or more years. SCA is not easy to achieve. Many institutions and organizations have short burst of excellent performance, but then soon dwindle to mediocrity and barely linger on before vanishing. SCA is achieved by those few that take time to be strategically aware and pursue excellence in a determined and restless manner. According to Hawawiri, Subramanian, and Verdin, only small minority of firms achieves a sustainable competitive advantage. Amazingly, these excellent companies, are rarely the one seeking the public limelight, and their leaders are often not under spotlight. Explanations for the inability of once leading organizations and business to achieve, excellence or SCA are many and obvious.

These reasons include:

1. A lack of attention to and understanding of strategic management,

2. Leadership succession with an emphasis on dynasty, a good old boys network, orasabiyyah.

3. Poor use of inadequate resources,

4. Living on past glory and focusing solely on past achievements

5.1nability to adapt to a changing environment , and to respond to the changing needs of market.

6. Obsolete competences, including a distrust of modem technology. Unfortunately, these reasons tend to apply to many Islaamic and non- Islamic organizations throughout The world. To reverse organizational rigidity, leaders must master strategic management so that they can enhance their ability to .engage in "down-board," as opposed to immediate, thinking.

For example, world class soccer players not only think about their immediate moves but also look "down-board" by anticipating their opponentslikely responses to their moves and thus think several moves ahead. Strategic planning is quite similar: Planners must look down-board, assess the implications of their plans, and then formulate additional plans based on those contingencies. An excellent example of this took place in 4AH, when the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) sought the Banu Nadir tribes help.

While among them, he found out that they were planning to kill him right then and there. Knowing that he had to take decisive action, the Prophet (salallahu alayhiwa sollam) left the settlement on the outskirt of Madeenah, returned to the city center, summoned Muhammad ibn Maslamah (RA), and told him to inform the Banu Nadir that they had to leave Madeenah within ten days because of their treacherous behavior : This proactive strategic stance preempted major future problems.

The Strategic Management Model: This model is oriented towards Islamic organizations , whether for profit or nonprofit. Unlike other management models, it covers both strategy formulation and implementation, as well as performance assessment, and emphasizes ethics monitoring and adjustment. For non-profit Islamic organization or a Muslim business, this emphasis permeates the entire strategic management process, for work is considered part of a Muslims ibaadah (worship).

The eighth tasks of strategic management include the strategy formulation phase (viz., conducting swot analysis, developing a vision and a mission, listing ones goals or strategic priorities, developing long-term objectives and strategies, formulating short-term objectives or targets, and assessing resource needs) and the strategy implementation phase (viz., matching the organization structure, culture, and leadership to the strategic and operational plans, and finally, evaluation and adjustment).

Typically, these eight tasks are sequential. However, they can be revisited if they need to be recalibrated. Hence, the strategic management process is an evolutionary, not a linear, process that never stops. The end product of the strategic planning phase is an integrative yet flexible plan. This, then, is where the strategy implementation phase starts.

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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