Vision 2030 peace and security sector strategy:

By Lt Gen (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah

PART 2

STRATEGY is about integrating organisational activities, allocating and utilising the scarce resources. Strategy can also be defined as having the knowledge of the goals. Strategy is so significant because it serves as a microscope that helps us to map out the future strategic plans and goals. Without a perfect foresight, the organisation must be ready to deal with uncertain events which would result in unpredictable and possibly unwanted outcomes.

Strategy defines the overall vision, mission and direction of an organisation. The objective of a strategy is to maximise an organisation’s strengths and minimise weaknesses. Strategy is a tool that bridges the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Strategy provides a roadmap for the organisation showing how to move forward, with what means, when, why and for whom. It is at that stage when a strategist must be able to quantify and qualify what is wanted by the organisation and what the organisation can afford.

Strategy must compose of important components which include, clear strategic intent, vision, mission, goals and objectives. An organisation’s strategic intent is the purpose that exists and why it must continue to exist. A strategic intent gives a picture of what an organisation must do in order to achieve its vision and mission.

Strategic intent helps leaders to emphasise and concentrate on their priorities. Strategic intent is nothing but, influencing an organisation’s resources and core competencies to achieve set goals and objectives. Strategic intent should therefore guide an organisation and propel it towards its goals and objectives.

Strategy is the integration of all the organisation’s functions which involves the organisational strategic positioning and strategic thinking and which shows the ability to project the future where others are unable to. Strategy demands for a clear vision and mission. A vision statement identifies where the organisation wants to be in future. Vision describes dreams and aspirations for future. A vision is the potential to view things ahead. It answers the question ‘where do we want to be?’ It is a reminder of what we attempt to develop.

A mission statement on the other hand, must reflect three main components, namely, vision of the organisation from where it derives its direction, a statement of the core values that shapes the behaviour to achieve the organisation’s goals and objectives. A mission statement must be structured in such a way that it has elements of feasibility, realism, measurability and attainability.

A goal is a desired future state or objective that an organisation tries to achieve. Goals are what must be done if an organisation is to attain a vision or mission. Goals make a mission more prominent and concrete. They coordinate and integrate various functional areas of an organisation. Well-articulated goals must be precise, measurable, critical, realistic and challenging with a specific timeframe. Objectives in turn are defined as goals that an organisation wants to achieve over a period of time.

The intent here is to elucidate and demonstrate the importance of why vision and mission statements are important and the benefits that such statements provide to the organisations. Research has found that organisations that have lucid, coherent, meaningful vision and mission statements make more profits compared to organisations that do not have vision and mission statements.

It must therefore be pointed out that, coming up with a viable strategy would require a systematic approach based on environmental scanning, strategy formulation, implementation and evaluation as illustrated below.

Environmental Scanning: For the success of a strategy, there is need for environmental scanning. Environmental scanning refers to a process of collecting, scrutinising and providing information for strategic purposes. It helps in analysing the internal and external factors that may have influence on the organisation.

The environment must be scanned in order to determine development and forecast factors that will influence organisational success. Environmental scanning refers to possession and utilisation of information brought to bear by the organisation’s internal and external environment.

After executing the environmental analysis process, leaders should evaluate it on a continuous basis and strive to improve it. Environmental scanning consists of both external and internal factors. Internal analysis of the environment is the first step of environment scanning in identifying strengths and weaknesses of an organisation.

External analysis of the environment must analyse external factors that would have influence on the organisation. External analysed must therefore base on the organisational environment, national environment and broader socio-economic environment or macro-environment. Environmental scanning serves as a screening board for strategy formulation.

Strategy Formulation: Strategy formulation is the process where more information is being marshalled and decisions on the best course of action for accomplishing organisational goals and objectives are taken. Strategy formulation must take advantage of opportunities and minimise threats.

Strategy formulation refers to the process of choosing the most appropriate course of action from various alternatives for the realisation of organisational goals and objectives and thereby achieving the organisational vision. Choosing the most appropriate course of action is not as easy as it sounds. That is so because, choosing an appropriate course of action demands strategic acumen of experts who are well-versed with the field of study.

The process of strategy formulation basically involves the setting of goals, objectives, evaluating the environment, setting quantitative targets, performance analysis and choice of strategy. Although these steps do not follow a rigid chronological order, they are however, very rational.

It must be underlined here that, there is no action without failure. There are also many factors that can be attributed to the failure of strategy formulation. Among them are, problems of quantifying the problem, lack of mobilising the resources that are needed for the strategy formulation and failure to choose the best course of action. These will inevitably result into taking the wrong strategic action.

The most complex stage in strategy formulation is the requirement that, a strategy must be tailored in such a way that it is executed within the budget and not the budget fitting into a strategy. At this stage, there is to apply the technique of weighing and balancing what is wanted against what is possible. Those techniques demand the involvement of highly qualified resource persons equipped with the appropriate techniques.

The danger of miscalculations during the weighing and balancing process is that, there is a likelihood of making over-commitment or less-commitment of required resources. Should this situation arise, it will not solve the problem, rather result into yet another problem.      

In a nutshell, the realisation of strategy formulation involves systematic planning and decision making that must include developing the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives as well as availing the means for the realisation of that strategy. Strategy formulation is a process that prioritises goals and objective. Hence, it precedes strategy implementation.

Lt Gen (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah is a former Chief of the Defence Force, a holder of Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies, HOD and Senior Lecturer at IUM. Views expressed here are that of an author. Email: edndaitwah24@gmail.com       

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