Photo credit: Radachynskyi

Published: 6 Nov 2020

Hadi El Cheikh, Quality Health and Safety Executive Manager at Veolia Water Technologies, Middle East, shares some tips that will help businesses and organisations achieve their ultimate vision.

Most organisations’ top management have a vision, but not all of them achieve their strategic planning goals. This is because most of them fall into the trap of heading towards the goal without a solid foundation levelling of the four strategic planning levels. These strategic planning levels are: Organisational Capacity, Processes/Operational Excellency, Customer Perspective/Satisfaction, and the businesses’ Financial Perspective. Some questions that a lot of company executives often ask are: “Do we really know where we are standing now? What does that mean? What is the best tool to use to gauge where our company is standing in the strategic planning process?”

Creating a clear path

If a business wants to go from Point A (current state) to Point B (future state), it needs to know where point A is first by studying its context. The context can be done by determining external and internal issues that are relevant to the organisation’s purpose and strategic direction, internal and external interested parties that are relevant to the quality management system as well as the latter’s needs and expectations, which will shape the organisation’s scope and processes interaction.

Understanding the external context of the organisation can be identified by arising political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal (PESTEL) issues. The internal context can be identified by issues related to values, culture, knowledge and the organisation’s performance. The issues can include positive (eg, new products/services) and negative (eg, legal cases and economic recessions) factors or conditions for consideration.

This way, you can use your vision to go from Point A to Point B. Businesses should use their mission to plan everything within its boundaries, as well as the quality management system, scope and policies that it sets for the organisation and its processes. Organisations should define their strategic planning and major goals, which are related to the four strategic levels, in addition to the objectives derived from the latter (eg, mini-goals/Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) targets).

When you link the issues (internal or external) with the parties (internal or external), along with their needs and expectations, you will cover all risks (both negative and positive), as the risk is the effect of uncertainty that may lead to a negative risk or an opportunity for improvement that businesses will need to grab when they can.

Context study

The context study can be done for an entire organisation and for each process (department) separately. The best way is to combine both.

One major issue is that change may arise from internal or external issues. This means that the whole context study may change. This should be fine because change is not an enemy, rather, it’s a good opportunity for continual improvement if businesses have managed, adopted and planned for it effectively. With that in mind, make sure you keep your organisation’s context study dynamic, and updated regularly, so that you can keep monitoring the businesses progress/journey from Point A to Point B.

As a business, you will never reach your destination unless you know where to start

You must plan well to understand your organisation’s context as it will help you to identify the best opportunities for your business, the weaknesses to offset, and help you to protect it from internal and external threats.