Strategic Planning

This relates to what an organisation wants to become, where it wants to go and, broadly, how it means to get there. Projects with outputs relating to organisational reform have tackled the issue of more detailed strategic planning to attain national and organisational development goals.

Key ‘best practice’ lesson

Lengthy developmental process for strategic planning involving many groups and working committees (meetings, workshops, discussion groups) consisting of individuals maintaining key posts throughout the departments (and not just project personnel) is important best approach to stimulate forward analytical thinking, provide exposure to strategic planning and promote ownership [However without requisite organisational backing, support at Ministerial level strategies are not implemented].

Lessons Learned

  • Strategic planning exercises can be of immense help in the process of “de-projectisation” in particular and re-integration of organisational capital, but to date even the most advanced and self-critical of these (DAE’s SP 2002-2006) is weak on implementation specifics, illustrating the need for reinforcement from a higher level in order to make reforms effective.

  • Evidence is clear that there is little commitment or even resources to implement the plans, and thus the development of such plans must be part of a wider reform process with wider sectoral linkages. Also projects do not have the necessary timeframe to successfully develop and implement the plans.

  • Efforts to promote collaboration among organisations must pay serious attention to the reasons people collaborate. Incentives and rewards must be considered, although this does not necessarily mean that people need to be paid extra in order to motivate them to work together.

  • If contrasts between goals of host organizations and donors were acknowledged at the outset and interventions designed to address or accommodate these then implementation of strategic initiatives would be easier and less likely to fall foul of rumours and suspicions of ‘alternative agendas’.

  • If the whole process is kept simple and implementers ensure that the processes of organizational analysis and subsequent reform are well understood by all (especially the most senior) stakeholders then there is increased likelihood of making sustained progress.

Key Findings

  • DAE has the most advanced system of strategic planning, however the language in SP 2002-2006 is tentative, with words like ‘should’ instead of ‘must’ or ‘will’ and suffixes the directives with ‘where possible’ (emphasis added). This clearly allows for alternative arrangements and is non-committal i.e. the status quo may persist.

  • The timeframe for strategic planning is too long for projects such that completion is close to project end e.g. SP 2002-2006 took 22 months; NAES for DoF has still not been approved more than one year after completion of the final draft document; the FTEP2-supported HRM/D 2020 vision and 5 year plan were never formally approved by the Ministry.

  • The lengthy but inclusive process of strategic plan development introduces a new departmental- wide dialogue from which all middle ranking to senior staff support appear to benefit. This may contribute to more meaningful strategic initiatives in the future.

  • The capacity for change management is scarce, and high quality external advice will be essential to any reform process.

  • A clear understanding of incentives and how incentives may be directed are critical to fostering sustained organisational change. Improving the personnel performance will only happen if staff have incentives to improve. This will require changes in the way organisations reward staff performance (ASIRP, SUFER).

  • Organisations find it very difficult to change from within. There is a need to identify key change agents which will create demand for meaningful reform from both higher up the hierarchy (e.g. Ministry level) and lower down the system (farmers/fishers organizations) (ASIRP, FTEP2, CBFM2).

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