Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


Conceptual basis for strategic planning

Practical strategic planning




Stages of the strategic planning process:

    Clarifying organizational vision

    Clarifying organizational mission

    Clarifying organizational mandates

    Stakeholder analysis (vested interests)

    Situational/environmental analysis

    Identifying issues considered strategic

    Collecting information: internal and external environments

    Future forecasting

    Formulating alternative approaches/scenarios/contingencies

    Formulating plan: strategic moves & action/tactical plans

    Impact analysis


Other considerations



  Contingency plans

  Review and updating

  Qualitative and quantitative


  Levels of planning      



Internal and not external weaknesses destroy the ummah



Preparing a Mission statement


Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

Strategic issues identification

Collecting information

Outlining a strategic plan for our local area





Stages of Planning: This session presents the sequential stages of formulating a strategic plan. Each stage is defined and its use is explained. Strategy formulation goes through the following steps: defining organizational vision and mission, clarifying externally-imposed mandates, analyzing stakeholders, analyzing the internal and external environments, identifying strategic issues, collecting information, making assumptions and forecasts, formulating general strategic approaches for various possible scenarios, choosing the most favored scenario and formulating detailed tactical plans for it. Each stage is based on the stages before it and in many cases there are functional interrelationships among the stages


Vision & Mission: The first stage is clarification of vision. The vision should be maintained all throughout. The second stage is stating the mission. This is a concrete statement of the line of work.


Mandates: The third stage is clarification of mandates, internal and external. Mandates are expectations from the organization and its leaders. Internal mandates are expectations of the members. External mandates are expectations of those outside the organizations. Fulfilling internal mandates is necessary to maintain member morale and  support. Externally-imposed mandates can not be ignored. If you can not fulfil them for lack of resources or if they contradict your mission, you must at least recognize them as important and explain your situation.


Stakeholder analysis: The fourth stage is analysis of stakeholders. Stakeholders are people or organizations who have an interest or vested interest in what you are doing. They are usually influential and can either reward or punish you. You have to understand the stakeholders’ interest, inclinations, potential rewards if you please them and potential punishments if you annoy them. Stakeholders will not support your strategies if you carelessly brush aside things that they consider important and that they would like you to address. They could even actively oppose you. The best approach is to get the stakeholders on your side. If this is not possible try to make them neutral. It is a mistake to provoke them into active opposition to your plans. You want all your energies to be directed to achieving your objectives and not to be diverted to the side-issue of fending off attacks from a powerful stakeholder. Sometimes all energy is wasted in this type of defensive action leaving no effort for achieving what you set out to do in the first place!


Environmental assessment: The fifth stage is environmental analysis. The environment may be supportive, hostile or passively neutral. Strategic planning requires careful and correct assessment of the environment: internal and external. Your strengths and weaknesses reflect your internal environment. Opportunities and threats are in the external environment. The internal and external environments are organically linked. Your strengths correspond to the opportunities available to you. You need the strengths to be able to exploit the opportunities. Your weaknesses correspond to the threats that you face. Threats will hurt you from the points of weakness.


Strategic issues: The sixth stage is identification f issues of strategic importance. Strategic issues are those that if not handled, the organization's continued existence, welfare, and successful performance will be affected negatively. You must be very careful in selecting strategic issues. You will be guided by your vision and those aspects of the environment that have a bearing on achieving or failure to achieve the organization’s objectives. Normally there are only a few issues that are really of strategic importance. A laundry list of issues indicates an unclear vision or an imperfect understanding of the environment in which you are operating


Information: the seventh stage is information gathering. No successful strategic plan can be formulated without collecting, analyzing, and using all the available information relevant to the issues under consideration. It is not possible to collect all the information needed. The future is essentially unknown; only Allah knows 'ilm al ghayb. Some assumptions and forecasts will have to be made for information that is not available.


Forecasting: The eighth stage is forecasting future trends. The main ingredient of a strategic plan is forecasting the future. The more accurate that forecast is, the better the plan. Inadequate forecasts result into unsuccessful plans. Forecasting is best done in brain storming session. Current trends are identified and their future movement is predicted using information available about the environment


Scenario casting: The ninth stage is working out possible future scenarios. Potential future scenarios are worked out using various combinations and permutations of the trends that were forecast above. Strategic planners should never be taken by surprise. They should formulate general plans for each possible future scenario. One of the scenarios is selected as the favored one based on certain pre-determined criteria. A detailed action plan is made for only the favored scenario. The other scenarios are kept as contingency plans


Analysis of the favored scenario: The tenth stage is analysis of the favored scenario. Once the favored scenario has been elaborated and the outlines of its action plans are clear, it should be analyzed using the following guidelines: Does it conform to the vision? Does it conform to the mission? How well does it address the mandates, internal and external? What are the likely reactions of the stakeholders? what will be your responses? What is the degree of uncertainty in the forecasts? How practicable are the actions envisaged?. Any chosen strategy will have external and internal impacts. Internally it will have an impact on action plans, resource allocation, policies, organizational structure & behavior, and motivation of the followers. Externally it may provoke other strategies that may be synergistic or competitive depending on the circumstances. Questions should be asked about the impact of the plan. What in general will be the internal and external impacts? What reactions are expected? How will you deal with the reactions?


Action plan and strategic plan: The final stage of planning is to translate the strategic plan into action/tactical plans. A strategic plan usually covers a long period of time. Its practical implementation is through a series of annual action or tactical plans.


Uncertainty: A strategic plan should always incorporate a degree of uncertainty because forecasts of the future are not always perfect. When forecasts are made, the forecaster must include a statement of degree of confidence in the forecast or should use a confidence range. Situations may arise in which due to uncertainty, the strategic planning process ends with various contingency plans with no chosen plan. Since none of the plans is favored, you can wait for environmental factors to indicate which plans are to be selected.


Contingency plans: Contingency plans should be ready for immediate implementation if the chosen plan fails or encounters obstacles. Contingency plans are based on the several scenarios that were generated in the process of arriving at the chosen strategy. Strategic planners do not stop to think how to get around an obstacle. They already have a plan for that contingency.


Practicability: Each chosen plan must be subjected to a workability test: can it work in practice?, can the underlying vision be maintained, can the barriers be overcome?


Review and updating: Strategic plans need constant revision as the basic information, assumptions, and forecasts on which the plans were based change with time and with implementation experience. In most normal circumstances the changes are small. Major radical changes could indicate either poor initial forecasting and planning or a radically changed environment.


Quantitative vs qualitative: All strategic targets should preferably be quantifiable for easy monitoring.


Levels of planning: A large organization with a wide array of activities may choose to have one overall strategy or may have for each area of activity if the areas are not integratable



Internal and not external weaknesses destroy the ummah: “Thauban reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends which have been drawn near me and I have been granted the red and the white treasures and I begged my Lord for my Ummah that it should not be destroyed because of famine, nor be dominated by an enemy who is not amongst them to take their lives and destroy them root and branch, and my Lord said: Muhammad, whenever I make a decision, there is none to change it. Well, I grant you for your Ummah that it would not be destroyed by famine and it would not be dominated by an enemy who would not be amongst it and would take their lives and destroy them root and branch even if all the people from the different parts of world join hand together (for this purpose) but it would be from amongst them, viz your Ummah, that some people would kill the others or imprison the others" Muslim 4: 1497, Chapter 1194, Hadith # 6904







Think of your particular organization or any other organization that you know well and answer the following questions regarding the organization’s educational mission. Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it.


(a)        Who are we?


(b)        In general, what are the basic societal needs we exist to fill (or what are the basic societal problems we exist to address)?



(c)        In general, what do we want to do to recognize or anticipate and respond to these needs or problems?



(d)        What is our philosophy and what are our core values?



(e)        What makes us distinctive or unique?




Think of your particular organization that you know well and answer the questions regarding defining the organization’s educational mandate.  Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it.


(a)        What are the externally-imposed mandates on the organization?



(b)        How will the organization respond to the mandates?



(c)        What are the consequences of not responding to the mandates?




Think of your particular organization that you know well and answer the questions regarding educational stakeholders.  Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it.


(a)        Who are the individuals and organizations that have a vested interest in what your organization does?



(b)        What are their expected responses to your plans?



(c)        How will you deal with them?




Think of your particular organization that you know well and answer the questions on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the educational field.  Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it.


(a)        List the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the organization


(b)        Identify relationships (i) between strengths and opportunities (ii) weaknesses and threats



Think of your particular organization that you know well and answer the questions regarding identification of strategic issues in the field of education. Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it.


(a)        What is the issue? (Be sure to phrase the issue as a question about which your organization can take some sort of action).



(b)        Why is this an issue?



(c)        What are the consequences of not addressing this issue?



(d)        What are the practical alternatives we might pursue to address this issue?




Think of your particular organization that you know well and answer the questions. Make sure you mention the name of the organization and the nature of your involvement with it. Think of one strategic issue in the field of education for which you want to make a strategic plan. Answer the following questions about the information that you will need to collect.


(a)        What is the information needed for the plan?


(b)        Where is the information available?



(c)        How will the information be collected?


(d)        How will the information be used?



Think of a geographically and socially well-defined Muslim community that you know very well. Select one of the following areas of concern in the community. The following is a listing of areas of concern: family programs, youth programs, children programs, women programs, student programs, Islamic centers and mosques, pre-schools, elementary schools, secondary schools, higher educational institutions, social welfare, disaster relief, fund-raising, awqaf and investments, translation and publication of books, mass media, training,  politics. Outline a 10-year strategic plan for the area of concern that you have selected using the methods that you have learned. You have to show how the area of concern selected can contribute to the improvement of Muslim education.


Assume that the number of Muslims will either be stable or will increase. Assume that the general environment will be supportive of Islam.


Prepare a strategic plan as well as prepare contingency plans for the following scenarios: hostile external environment, neutral external environment, a situation of complete chaos.


Select the most favored scenario and give reasons for your choice.



Follow the following outline:


(a)        Vision


(b)        Mission


(c)        Mandate(s)


(d)        Stakeholder analysis


(e)        SWOT analysis


(f)         Strategic issues


(g)        Various scenarios


(h)        Favored scenario


(I)        Analysis of the favored scenario



ęCopyright Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr July 2000