What is environmental scanning and how does it contribute to the strategic planning process

Modern strategic planning started in the s in the U.

Environmental scanning sources

Organizations can observe and track them. Our experience shows that most wood industry managers are good at keeping an eye on internal metrics related to such key issues as productivity and sales. Environmental scanning is a critical and ongoing part of the planning process in which information on external events and trends are continuously collected and considered throughout the planning process. Trends — As the name suggests, trends are general courses of action or tendencies along which the events occur. Since suppliers service a host of customers similar to your company, they may be good candidates for a team to generate ideas to changes in a process. In general, scanning is done to accomplish two broad sets of goals: first, to understand external forces on the organization; and second, to see threats and opportunities and avoid surprises. Furthermore, some believe that this framework leads to paralysis by analysis due to the requirement to regularly collect data. Socio-demographics also show up in employee decisions, whether in hiring, policymaking or training and development. Organizations try to identify emerging issues so that they can take corrective measures to nip them in the bud. K Competition — Competition takes on many forms these days, such as higher education institutions in the area as well as entities offering certificate programs. Environmental scanning is a process used by organizations to monitor their external and internal environments. These should include key administrators, faculty, staff, students, graduates, industry leaders and donors. If you are reading this TechNote then you are already aware of the value of the World-Wide Web outlets as a source of industry information. Environmental scanning has a wider scope than traditional data collection.

We at The Change Leader suggest the time-honored use of creating a meaningful strategic plan. Issues — In wake of the events and trends, some concerns can arise.

What is environmental scanning and how does it contribute to the strategic planning process

K Competition — Competition takes on many forms these days, such as higher education institutions in the area as well as entities offering certificate programs. And finally, keep in mind that environmental scanning isn't like looking into a crystal ball held by the proverbial gypsy. P Political and regulatory — This category should come as no surprise, considering the animosity expressed about higher education by policymakers at the federal and state levels. Events can occur either in the internal or the external environment. Ad-hoc scanning is reactive and is usually done as a response to a failure in performance. So naturally, one of the factors that greatly increases the value of scanning is incorporating it as part of your overall strategic planning process. But, experts believe that more formalized programs are necessary if your organization seeks to truly understand the external forces, threats, and opportunities it faces. In addition, by pulling together stakeholder teams to examine the various areas from the SKEPTIC, we begin to build that shared vision which is so critical for Higher Ed institutions, especially with faculty. These events can include student enrollment trends, in climate weather or natural disasters, world events, funding, federal legislation, marketing, etc. These demands are Expectations. Environmental scanning is known as a key function of successful managers working at successful organizations. Do we have an effective long-term strategic plan that will be aligned with future business conditions? These factors constitute the external environment of an organization. Issues — In wake of the events and trends, some concerns can arise. In addition to acquiring information from outside your company, you need to set aside time to digest the meaning of the information in relation to your company.

If not, then perhaps you and your fellow managers should reconsider your scanning strategy. Monthly findings are then aggregated quarterly and dispersed to all College staff.

aspects of environmental scanning

In addition to acquiring information from outside your company, you need to set aside time to digest the meaning of the information in relation to your company.

This would typically range from plant-level managers all the way up to the president or owner.

Importance of environmental scanning

Remember that there is an infinite supply of ideas in the world; only those ideas that will move your business closer to achieving its business goals, as dictated by the business strategy, should be considered. These are Issues. Sometimes these events follow a pattern and tend to move in a specific direction. The frequency with which you scan can be described in three manners: ad-hoc, scheduled, or continuous. But, experts believe that more formalized programs are necessary if your organization seeks to truly understand the external forces, threats, and opportunities it faces. The value of scanned information is intimately tied to the strategy of your company and the goals set forth for your operations. C Customers — This category provides an interesting conundrum for higher education leaders. Or, Are there new ideas that I'm not seeing that could solve our recurring issues? The challenge may then be how to take what has been seen in your scans and apply it to your planning efforts. Further, trends can be positive or negative. Our experience shows that most wood industry managers are good at keeping an eye on internal metrics related to such key issues as productivity and sales. Further, there are times when events and trends cause concerns or issues. Obviously, some issues and information will not reveal their true relevance and value immediately. Often, the process of reflection will involve conversing with other managers and listening to their reactions and thoughts.

Organizations try to identify emerging issues so that they can take corrective measures to nip them in the bud. While this may be difficult at first, it is absolutely critical if your strategies are going to "be all that they can be".

By analyzing these patterns, the organization can identify trends.

conducting an environmental scan
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Environmental Scanning: what it is and how to do it