In an hospital where the patients are poorly taken care of by the nurses and other clinical staffs, and where the staffs are shortly paid or not paid at all, It would be seen that this is as a result of bad or poor planning on the part of the management and more importantly bad or no strategic planning by the management. Planning is an important and foremost function of an organization. It involves making decisions on what to do and what not to do, how to do it and how to go about it (Drucker, 2005). It is a concept that is to be taken very serious in any organization. An organization which doesn’t plan is like a bus driving towards and then over a cliff, because failure to plan is planning to fail. Strategic Planning is a rigid extension of the normal planning. Strategic Planning is the systematic process an organization follows in doing things, following a pattern, setting performance targets and achieving the desired objectives and goals of the organization. In today’s world, only 7% of organization employees fully understand their organization strategies and goals and how to help them achieve and go about it. (Kaplan 2000). Strategic planning helps an organization to prepare against unforeseeable negative events that may happen in the future. It also ensures that the organization does well enough to avoid a corporate failure or possible liquidation of the organization.
Mid Strafford Hospital has been dissolved principally due to the way they treated or cared for patients in the way they did (a very poor way). This dissolution could have been averted by the hospitals management had it been they planned well enough, strategically well. They were actually guilty of going for an investment project at the cost of their employees and the innocent patients who came to their hospital. In order for this Mid Staff Scandal not to repeat itself in any other organization, The best thing would be to employ strategic planning tools which will guide the direction and vision of the organization in its operations (Drucker, 2005) to ensure that the goals are met and distraction or disturbance is reduced or fully eliminated.
There are different strategic planning tools that could have been applied to prevent the failings identified in the inquiry report. They include the following: SWOT analysis, Performance Metrics, etc. SWOT analysis, an acronym for strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats is very instrumental in an organization’s external and internal environment. The opportunities and threats make up the components of an organizational external environment and the strengths and weaknesses make up the internal environment of the organization. In any activity or any project an organization gets involved in, they are to look for ways and methods by which they can utilize the opportunities the external environment provides into gaining strength for the internal environment without causing a weakness or producing threats for the organization. For instance the hospital had an opportunity between 2006 and 2008 of gaining NHS foundation trust status, they employed the major percentage of their resources in ensuring they got the position, meanwhile the internal environment got weak by this, in that resources and finances which were supposed to be for the growth and development of the hospital were channeled towards the investment of getting the status. It was later seen that the hospital staffs; the doctors, nurses and other clinicians were actually underpaid and were not well taken care of, even before the hospital commenced the project of getting the foundation trust status. It is common sense enough to look at the cost and then the benefits from the costs before the commencement of any project. To also look at the benefits the internal environment would get; how it get stronger and less weaker by the impact of the investment. These are part of the elements, the hospital management didn’t put into consideration that got them into the scandal, they found themselves in and because of this the hospital suffered a lot of weaknesses and threats to its image; they got themselves in lots of lawsuits, lots of public inquiry into all that happened at the hospital and then, after all these, the hospital was later dissolved.
Performance metrics is also one of the strategic planning tools that could have been used to prevent the failings at the hospital. Using this tool would set standards for the organization and its employees to follow. These standards would ensure that the organization and its employees flow in line with its objectives and goals. In the Mid staff scandal, it was seen that there was a very poor care of the patients by the nurses and other medical staffs, In this instance, it would be discovered that there was no performance standard set by the organization for itself and for its employees. The setting of performance standards or metrics would have helped the hospital to keep itself and its employees in control and this could have be done by setting performance targets. A Performance Targets is a non-Financial performance measure that helps to motivate the employees in their activities. The employees’ sets target for themselves that are in line with the Organization’s goals because of the orientation, training and incentive they have received from the Organization. This shows that the organizations themselves have a role in ensuring employees set performance targets for themselves.
Balanced Scorecard is another strategic planning tool that can be used. It was first developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. It serves a strategic purpose of measuring performances. It is a tool that is used to control and monitor the activities of the employees. The balanced scorecard has a concise mixture of financial and non-financial performance measures. It ensures that the corporate strategy put in place by the organization’s board are in line or relevant to the organization’s objectives and goals. The balanced scorecard would help to prevent the failings of the hospital in that it will ensure that the hospital has a set strategy in place for well-defined objectives and goals, in order for the operations of the organization to follow the normal due process without distractions or turbulences.
Another Important Strategic Planning tool is Visioning. A Vision is a foresight by which an organization sees where it wants to be in a certain period of time and works towards it. By Visioning, an organization determines its position in a future state (Drucker, 2005). An organization communicates its vision to the employees and also to the world. The Vision would help the organization to prepare and work towards where it wants to be in the next few years. It ensures that the employees are not lackluster towards the organization set objectives and goals within the set period of time. By Effective Visioning the hospital wouldn’t have gotten into the scandal they got themselves into and they wouldn’t have been dissolved at all.
This Strategic Planning tools are very important for the success of any organization. They are the organization and its staff in the direction to follow in order to achieve their goals. With these tools, the Mid Staff Hospital would have had a conducive environment enough for its employees and its customers (patients). Thereby avoiding any form of public inquiry into their operations and activities.