A strategic plan entails document that can be used to communicate organizational goal, the specific actions required to achieve the goals and other critical elements that the implementing team develops during the planning exercise. Strategic planning is an area of management leadership that helps managing an activity to set priorities, focus resources, ensure stakeholders are working on common spirit, and strengthen the operations, assess the activities, set outcomes and adjust the organizational direction to the changing environment (Kuhn and Rudolf, 23-54). Through the Diversity Strategic Plan introduced in the Holmes County School District, I am able to learn the basic crucial elements of strategic planning techniques. For instance, there is the driving force that makes the strategic developers decide on a change in a better outcome. Social discrepancies have led to most students in the Mississippi area to have poor access to quality education, as they are limited to financial and social support. Their dreams have been shattered, as a result, and only the diversity strategic plan can induce a change in them for better education, jobs, and social satisfaction.
Through such a scenario, I learned that, before introducing any plan there is a need to focus on the future outcome. In such a case, cost-benefit analysis techniques, Force Field analysis and, SWOT analysis are important tools as they help determine the right decision. However, it is my observation that strategic planning as a leadership field requires a wide look at the surrounding environment and its impact on the current activities of individuals in an organization (Steiner, 13-41). For instance, poverty has been the key root for the poor access of education and career formation for many students in the Mississippi area and its environs. Such an aspect has been contributed by wanting social demographics where most students come from single parents, limited resources, less cultural exposure among others. These serve as the constellation forces and maybe even pose a challenge to the plan implementation as students lack sufficient parental support for the anticipated change. Social variations from the community also may be a key challenge for a better outcome for the diversity strategic plan.
Implementing the diversity strategic plan has been challenged by various aspects regarding the support from the community. Taking students to new neighbouring schools for benchmarking and learning new cultural aspects was a continuous process that required sufficient funds. However, as the income levels in the community are average; the activities for the plan were limited as students could not be taken to all anticipated areas. The school needs government support in terms of funds while the community needs to join its hands in supporting the programme. The attitudes of the students need to be changed for positive ones as most of the students showed fewer efforts in participating in it. Nevertheless, there is a need for improving the PTA, the School Board and the Implementing Committee communication for continued support, as well as, increasing female gender in the steering committee.
The activity would have been better prepared for offering a support Toolkit that included diverse cultural terminologies, concepts and techniques that are scalable and flexible to the students. Additionally, conducting a SWOT analysis before implementing the plan would have given the steering committee the light regarding the weaknesses and threats to better implementation skills (Macmillan and Mahen, 34-67). Nevertheless, introduction of learning-feedback system that reflects the single district-wide instructional program would help better-learning diversity by the students and place positive attitudes for the disabled ones. Lastly, it is a good idea to formulate a team that communicates the plan after its planning phase and before the implementation. Such an effort aims at eliminating any forthcoming resistance from the stakeholders and the targeted group. Such an effort might be followed by a pretesting survey to foresee the success of the plan. Such activities help to forecast the outcome of the plan and better outcome (Smith, 62-94).
In conclusion, strategic planning is a leadership tool for many organizations that coordinates various strategies and aligns them with the goals and objectives of the organization. For such a Diversity Strategic Plan, there is a need to learn more about the school leadership style, communication style used from the PTA to students and the different criteria used to select student leaders. The type of student leaders selected determines much the success of such a diversity plan. It is also of important to learn from other schools with similar or related diversity plans, liaise with their management Committee and adopt the best practices from them. Therefore, this area of leadership calls for efficient planning, improved evaluation techniques, oriented steering team and stakeholder support for better results.
- Kühn, Richard, and Rudolf Grünig. Process-based Strategic Planning. Berlin: Springer, 2001. Print.
- Macmillan, Hugh, and Mahen Tampoe. Strategic Management: Process, Content, and Implementation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
- Smith, Ronald D. Strategic Planning for Public Relations. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2013. Print.
- Steiner, George A. Strategic Planning: What Every Manager Must Know. New York: Free Press, 2012. Print.