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Some think that it will take you forward forever—it won't. The biggest mistake people make is already having the end result in mind when they start.
Of all the compelling reasons for your group to engage in strategic planning, perhaps the most critical is the speed at which forces in your environment are changing. For starters, having everyone in the same room fosters collegiality and creates a milieu in which you can focus on the direction of your practice, away from patient care and other duties.
In addition, the process promotes the open and creative exchange of ideas, including putting disagreements on the table and working out effective solutions.
Short- and Long-Term Planning Establishing the direction of your practice and identifying overarching goals provide the foundation for strategic planning, whether short or long term. In the field of health care today, a long-term plan will likely address no more than the next 3 years. After the strategic course is determined in the initial planning session, the group should meet at least annually. During these sessions, the partners should revisit the practice goals, update the environmental assessment with new data, and identify strategies needed to address issues that will arise within the next 12 months.
For example, as the retirement of one or more partners approaches, a succession plan may need to be developed as described in related article on page Meanwhile, growth in patient volume may call for recruitment strategies for both physicians and midlevel providers. Should You Use a Consultant? Although use of an outside facilitator entails expense, turning to a strategic planning professional has a number of advantages that can contribute greatly to success, especially if you are undertaking strategic planning for the first time.
A professional has done this before—many times—and thus can direct the process efficiently. He or she knows how to collect and analyze diverse information—opinions, practice data, and market reports, for example—and present it in a concise way, thereby saving you and your administrator many hours of work. As a moderator, a consultant knows how to keep a group moving forward, prevent it from getting bogged down in side issues, and objectively help participants resolve disagreements and develop effective solutions.
Perhaps the biggest value added by a consultant is guidance in assessing your environment. A well-qualified strategic planning consultant should have a thorough and current knowledge of national trends in medicine as well as detailed knowledge about oncology practice. Regarding your community, although your group naturally knows the local marketplace well, an outsider can provide a fresh and objective perspective; in fact, the familiarity of physicians with the local scene may create blind spots.
Similarly, in assessing the strengths and limitations of a group, a consultant can contribute objectivity and should be able to provide national benchmarks for objective comparison. In choosing a consultant, look for an individual or firm that will contribute valuable knowledge about national reimbursement, patient care, and business initiatives and trends affecting oncology practice.
Many management consultant firms offer strategic planning services, but you will be best served by a consultant who has worked with physician practices and has significant recent experience with oncology practice. Scheduling a Strategic Planning Session: Who, When, and Where Just as there is no one way to define strategic planning, there is no single way of doing it.
Examples and guidelines are presented here that you may draw on to implement a process that makes sense for your practice. The decision makers of the practice should be the ones who conduct strategic planning. If your practice is so large that including all partners could make a meeting unwieldy, it might make sense to have a smaller group, such as the executive board, do the planning.
In addition to shareholders, you may want physician associates and key managers to participate. Inclusion of individuals who are not partners, at least for some parts of the meeting, may also have advantages. This can foster download-in to the strategic direction, thereby contributing to the success of the resulting action plan.
The oncology group at the Toledo Clinic, a large multispecialty center in Toledo, Ohio, found it beneficial to include the executive director of the clinic. By participating, the director gained valuable insight into the special administrative and practice needs of oncology.
Setting aside at least one day for strategic planning is recommended, especially if this is the first time your group has undertaken it.
Distribute an agenda ahead of time, and use a moderator to keep the meeting on track. The location should be comfortable and private.
The participants must be able to focus solely on strategic planning, without interruption, so arrange to have patient-related calls covered. Members of the Toledo Clinic used a consultant to guide them through strategic planning, and the consultant facilitated a one-day retreat at a country club. The meeting began around 9 am, after physician rounds, and the nurse practitioners of the group provided patient coverage.
Other oncology groups may have conference space available in their office. A half-day meeting can be adequate for groups that have been doing strategic planning for many years. Starting Point: Mission and Values Developing a mission statement for your practice—a statement of its basic purpose—is the first step of strategic planning and provides the foundation for the entire process. You may think that putting your mission in writing is a bureaucratic waste of time, but in fact, determining how to articulate your mission is a productive experience.
It sets the stage for later prioritization, and the process compels the shareholders to reflect on and express the purpose of the practice.
At this moderate cost, the rigor of formal structure in strategic decision-making has the benefit of sequencing the process such that important facts are less likely to be overlooked and thoughtful, self-critical consideration of trade-offs is much more likely to occur.
In this way, using MAP triggers conscious reflection. In typical unstructured decision-making, by contrast, we often unconsciously weigh losses more than gains , the near future more than the distant future, and vividly presented anecdotes more than dull statistics.
As urgency mounts and enthusiasm about the one-off deal builds, serious issues may be ignored or relegated, say, to an appendix of a presentation document. It is easy to see how these dynamics can lead to mistakes in judgment.
Using a structured decision-making process ensures that the checklist of key questions is defined in advance and that, at the time of final decision, all its elements are given sufficient visibility.
Strategic Planning: Why It Makes a Difference, and How to Do It
This rigor limits the risk that a compelling narrative will sway the board. Our advice is not to assign explicit weights to assessments, as some decision theorists would suggest.
Executives reject that type of framework because it mechanizes decisions and removes room for intuition, including the possible interactions among the criteria. The holistic judgment of experienced executives is valuable, but it must first be prepared by a profile of mediating assessments. Nor do we advise treating all assessments equally. Rather, some dimensions that are simply more important than others should be framed as make-or-break assessments and evaluated first.
For example, when evaluating a new technology, considerations such as time to market and cost are important, but the assessment of whether the technology will work at all is paramount. Structuring Recurrent Decisions Recurrent decisions, in aggregate, also produce strategic outcomes.
Marketing Management: A Strategic Decision-Making Approach
Large organizations make countless decisions like these, and their collective impact on the business can be critical. In addition, when decisions of a particular type are repeated, a structured approach facilitates learning. Explicit mediating assessments make it easy to conduct a postmortem of past decisions, examine the reasoning and use of facts, learn which assessments may have been misguided, and revise the assessments or the scales accordingly.
The quality of judgments is likely to improve further if the assessments and the evaluation are expressed on a relative scale.
However, the ambiguity of verbal labels is a major source of noise, because different people use different words to convey the same underlying judgment.
Percentile scales offer a possible solution. Many leading companies already use them to express judgments about the performance of employees on multiple dimensions. Percentile scales have several advantages over other types of rating scales. First, they require the evaluator to bring comparable cases to mind and to think of the case at hand as one particular instance of a broader category.
This approach, which has been called the outside view, is a powerful debiasing technique by itself. When people have learned to use a percentile scale well, they are said to be calibrated. Improving calibration is another major step in reducing noise in judgments.
Third, percentile ratings can easily be translated into policy. If underwriters, for instance, rate risks in percentiles, premiums can be priced on the basis of their ratings, and the company can decide at what percentile in the distribution of risks it sets the limit of what it is willing to underwrite. Percentile scales can be challenging to define, introduce, and administer. But the accuracy gains they bring are worth the effort.
People who have the same role in an organization and make similar decisions are assumed to be interchangeable, but companies do not normally check whether this assumption is correct.
To better understand how to structure recurrent decisions, consider the case of a venture capital firm we will call VC Co. Like many investors, VC Co.
To improve the quality of its decisions, the firm decided to adopt a structured decision approach. In doing so, VC Co. First, to predefine the critical assessments, VC Co. This judgment, in turn, breaks down into specific subassessments such as problem-solving skills, technical expertise, resilience, and open-mindedness.
Such qualities can be assessed on the basis of interactions with the team, its track record, and reference checks. Second, VC Co.
Organizing the data collection to make assessments independent of one another to the extent possible minimizes the halo effect.
For instance, having seen an impressive product demo, VC Co. MAP guides them to treat these as separate judgments. Assigning a numerical rating to each assessment safeguards against the tendency to form overly coherent mental models. For instance, when VC Co. With a numerical rating, this risk is reduced. Using percentile scores to make qualitative assessments puts recurrent decisions into context.
Or is she comparable to Bob and the other entrepreneurs we view as belonging to the second quartile? What drives our economic engine?
Change creates novel combinations of circumstances requiring unstructured non-repetitive responses; Affects the entire organization by providing direction; Involves both strategy formulation processes and also implementation of the content of the strategy; May be planned intended and unplanned emergent ; Is done at several levels: overall corporate strategy, and individual business strategies; and Involves both conceptual and analytical thought processes.
Chaffee further wrote that research up to that point covered three models of strategy, which were not mutually exclusive: Linear strategy: A planned determination of goals, initiatives, and allocation of resources, along the lines of the Chandler definition above. This is most consistent with strategic planning approaches and may have a long planning horizon.
The strategist "deals with" the environment but it is not the central concern. Adaptive strategy: In this model, the organization's goals and activities are primarily concerned with adaptation to the environment, analogous to a biological organism. The need for continuous adaption reduces or eliminates the planning window.
There is more focus on means resource mobilization to address the environment rather than ends goals. Strategy is less centralized than in the linear model. Interpretive strategy: A more recent and less developed model than the linear and adaptive models, interpretive strategy is concerned with "orienting metaphors constructed for the purpose of conceptualizing and guiding individual attitudes or organizational participants.
It places emphasis on symbols and language to influence the minds of customers, rather than the physical product of the organization. These reflect an increased focus on cost, competition and customers. These "3 Cs" were illuminated by much more robust empirical analysis at ever-more granular levels of detail, as industries and organizations were disaggregated into business units, activities, processes, and individuals in a search for sources of competitive advantage.
By the s, the capstone business policy course at the Harvard Business School included the concept of matching the distinctive competence of a company its internal strengths and weaknesses with its environment external opportunities and threats in the context of its objectives.
This framework came to be known by the acronym SWOT and was "a major step forward in bringing explicitly competitive thinking to bear on questions of strategy". Kenneth R.
Andrews helped popularize the framework via a conference and it remains commonly used in practice. It has been empirically confirmed by some firms at various points in their history.
Author Walter Kiechel wrote that it reflected several insights, including: A company can always improve its cost structure; Competitors have varying cost positions based on their experience; Firms could achieve lower costs through higher market share, attaining a competitive advantage; and An increased focus on empirical analysis of costs and processes, a concept which author Kiechel refers to as "Greater Taylorism ".
Kiechel wrote in "The experience curve was, simply, the most important concept in launching the strategy revolution Further, the experience curve provided a basis for the retail sale of business ideas, helping drive the management consulting industry.
This framework helped companies decide where to invest their resources i. Prahalad and Gary Hamel suggested that companies should build portfolios of businesses around shared technical or operating competencies, and should develop structures and processes to enhance their core competencies.
He mentioned four concepts of corporate strategy; the latter three can be used together:  Portfolio theory: A strategy based primarily on diversification through acquisition. The corporation shifts resources among the units and monitors the performance of each business unit and its leaders.
Each unit generally runs autonomously, with limited interference from the corporate center provided goals are met. Restructuring: The corporate office acquires then actively intervenes in a business where it detects potential, often by replacing management and implementing a new business strategy. Transferring skills: Important managerial skills and organizational capability are essentially spread to multiple businesses.
The skills must be necessary to competitive advantage. Sharing activities: Ability of the combined corporation to leverage centralized functions, such as sales, finance, etc. The growth-share matrix, a part of B. Analysis , was followed by G.Cash cows: Businesses with a high relative share of low-growth markets are called cash cows because they are the primary generators of profits and cash in a corporation.
Restructuring: The corporate office acquires then actively intervenes in a business where it detects potential, often by replacing management and implementing a new business strategy. D Level of Difficulty: The decision makers of the practice should be the ones who conduct strategic planning.
The interviewer starts with an open mind, accumulates information about the candidate, and then reaches a conclusion. Developing Strategic Marketing Programs Chapter 9: What are the three characteristics that a competitive strategy must have to be successful over the long haul? Such challenges in hiring are easy to recognize. Horizontal integration B.
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