After organizations develop brilliant plans to ensure their competitiveness, the truth is, producing the desired outcomes is the greater challenge. A good strategic plan provides long-term direction to give your business competitive advantage. But how do you ensure that goals are met by people on the ground – and efficiently? Managers would often wonder on how they can ensure performance from all departments and professionals. In fact, they would often ponder on what programs or initiatives should be implemented and what kind of support systems and structures are needed by the organization. They even think about feedback mechanisms that will ensure that people across various levels and units perform according to expectations and according to the strategy.
The key in all this is operationalizing the organization’s strategy. Operations plans align people with the organization’s overall strategic plans. Hence, operational planning is necessary to keep departments and resources functioning efficiently throughout each year. Operational planning also provides specific direction and encourages employees to continue attaining corporate goals..
The first step in creating an operational plan after a performance review would be conducting an operational analysis where management can establish a basis for their action plans, ensure focus in addressing improvement areas such as enhancing company strengths and maximizing available resources and align and integrate long-term strategic needs to short-term operational requirements. For management professionals who are looking into performing an operational analysis, here are its steps:
- Identify and prioritize issues. In conducting an operational analysis, the initial step is conducting a performance review of the organization’s system and process flow. After which, management should start prioritizing the issues that will come out from the performance review. Issues are the gaps that hinder the current actual performance of the organization into attaining its operational objective. To eliminate these, create a list of all the issues that were discovered and delete non-pressing ones to focus on the most critical ones only. Critical issues are the ones that have the greatest impact in the attainment of the company’s operational objectives.
- Analyze Issues. From the list of critical issues, create a cause and effect map or outline for each issue. This exercise will help describe each issue and analyze as to why they are considered critical ones. This will also help see the impact each and every issue has on the operational flow as a whole
- Summarize Issues. From the cause and effect maps, draw broad conclusions from the critical issues. Enumerate initial course of actions that will best address the pending issues and also create alternative courses of actions in case the initial ones are not feasible with the current state of the organization.