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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0007-TRAINING MODULE at INSTITUTE for HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Entebbe, Uganda (PART I)

PROJECTS:

STRATEGY, PLANNING, and IMPLEMENTATION

 

July 2000

LEADERSHIP SKILLS MODULE

 

GENERAL THEME: STRATEGY, PLANNING, AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

 

GUIDELINES:

 

This module assumes the concept of performance gap which is the difference between the ideal and the actual in organizational performance. The performance gap is the difference between the potential and actual performance of organizations and individuals. Many individuals and communities all over the world are experiencing phenomena of revival and renewal. There is a new reawakening and a determination to make tomorrow better than yesterday. However the zeal, commitment and efforts of the revival have not been perfectly or completely translated into practical results that everyone can see in the society. The practical achievements fall far short of the potential. Success in building and managing institutions, the backbone of real and sustained change, has been limited in several communities and countries. The gap between aspirations and achievements is due to a relative deficiency of practical skills in leadership and management. These skills are not in-born. They can be taught or developed through experience on the job. Individuals and organizations pay a high price in terms of lost opportunities for the continued existence of the performance gap.

 

There is no one fixed system of Islamic leadership or management. As with many similar social phenomena, Islam defines the broad principles and leaves it to the people of each place and era to define the system most suited to their circumstances. The system must therefore change with changes of time and space. There is no utopia. Any human system will have strengths and weaknesses. The aim should be to decrease the weaknesses and increase the strengths. The best system are those based on empirical experience and that are open to changes if empirical evidence shows that they are not working well. The empirical experience must be within the moral context of Islam for it to bear fruits.

 

This module consists of 13 workshops each covering a leadership/management skill or issue. You have to prepare by reading the material before the day of the workshop. Start by studying the outline of the session. Then read the background and text. Scan through the discussion questions. On the appointed day, the workshop facilitator makes a presentation followed by a question and answer session. For discussion, groups of a few persons are formed. The discussion covers the background reading, analysis of the text, and the discussion questions at the end. Relate everything you read or discuss to your practical experience. In some cases the group has to undertake an exercise or a case-study analysis. Each discussion group writes a summary of its discussion to be shared with members of other groups. It is recommended that you supplement the material given by readings in books and other sources on the subject. Write down your all discussions, observations and conclusions

 


WORKSHOP #1

UNDERSTANDING STRATEGY

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

This session defines and discusses the basic concepts of strategy and planning.

 

OUTLINES:

BACKGROUND READING

Definition of strategy

Strategic planning

Strategic thinking

Strategic management

Strategy in seerah and contemporary work

Strategy: change, stability and growth

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

Allah knows ghaib; humans can not know the future; they only guess

Allah is the best planner

Trust in Allah: Prophet and Abubakr in the cave

Vision of conquest of Makka, Byzantine, Persia, Yaman, Syria, Iraq, and the peninsula

Vision of paradise as success and hell as failure

Niyyat (intention)

Sincerity of action

 

DISCUSSION

Vision

Forecasting

Scenario Casting

 

BACKGROUND READING

INSTRUCTIONS: THE DISCUSSION LEADER OR THE MEMBERS (IN TURNS) WILL PRESENT THE MAIN POINTS IN THE BACKGROUND READING SECTIONS PRE-ASSIGNED THE PREVIOUS WEEK

 

Definition of strategy: Strategy is a rational approach to management of life's uncertainties. It involves assessment of the internal and external environments, forecasting the future, thinking forwards and reasoning backwards, and preparing for various hypothetical scenarios. Strategic behavior is a vital necessity for living and succeeding in a complex environment in which your decisions and actions have an impact on others and are also influenced by what else is going on around you. Strategic concepts are used in leadership thinking, analysis, planning, management, and negotiations. Organizations that only want to react to events and have no strategies, are waiting for their death. It is a major mistake for leaders to be so absorbed in day-to-day operations that strategic planning is neglected.

 

Strategic planning: Strategic planning is a very powerful tools for leaders and managers. Strategic planning is establishing strategic objectives and formulating plans to accomplish them.  Strategic plans answer three questions: where are we now? where do we want to be? how do we get there? Strategic planning involves thinking forward and reasoning backwards, preparing for all possibilities. You have to develop contingency strategies to be implemented if a chosen plan does not work as envisioned. Strategic planning has many benefits. You are not completely surprised by events. You are pro-active and not reactive. You will not be easily provoked into wrong responses. You can take pre-emptive moves ahead of the competition. Strategic planning is difficult because it essentially involves achieving and maintaining objectives in a changing and unpredictable environment. It requires considerable intellectual effort and creativity.

 

Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking are intellectual processes that are a background to strategy formulation, planning, and management. Strategic thinking enables you to see through difficult and complex situations and make the right decisions. A strategic thinker prepares for and exploits unpredictability and surprises. He anticipates, sees through, and prepares for a rival's strategic move. His frame of mind is prepared opportunism being ready to exploit opportunities that arise unexpectedly.

 

Strategic management: Strategic plans call for strategic management. Strategic management is managing pursuit of organizational mission while managing relation of the organization to the environment. It is characterized by always being ready to deal with sudden changes in the environment. Strategic management in a highly uncertain rapidly changing environment can be likened to shooting at a moving target when riding on a galloping horse.

 

Strategy in seerah and contemporary work: Careful study of the seerah reveals effective strategic thinking and planning at all stages of the forward march of the Islamic mission. Although the environment and technology have changed, human nature has remained basically the same. Thus many human behaviors today whether strategic or not have their parallels in the seerah. You can learn from the lessons of the past and build on them to develop your strategic skills for the modern era. Some of the major crises that contemporary organizations and movements went through could have been prevented if the leadership employed strategic thinking and planning skills. There is a need to develop strategic planning and management skills among the leaders and managers of today to be able to face the multi-faceted challenges of today. In many cases they are dealing with or opposing organizations that operate strategically and they have no chance if they do not have comparable or better skills.

 

Strategy: change, stability and growth: Strategic plans must be flexible enough to be able to adapt to rapid environmental changes. The organization must have an in-built capacity for change if it is to succeed. Strategy formulation requires a determination of whether the organization wants growth or stability. The plans are different for each scenario. Strategies that emphasize stability are less innovative and are based on premises and facts that are not likely to vary a lot. Strategies of growth anticipate a lot of change and with it the uncertainty and risks that are inevitable. Risk management is a very important aspect of such strategies

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT.

Allah knows ghaib; humans can not know the future; they only guess: “Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except Allah, knows what is hidden Nor can they perceive when they shall be raised up ( for Judgement ).Qur'an 27: 65 …. "Narrated Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said, " Keys of the unseen ( knowledge ) are five which nobody knows but Allah: nobody knows what will happen tomorrow; nobody knows what is in the womb; nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow; nobody knows at what place he will die; and nobody knows when it will rain" Bukhari 2:82

 

Allah is the best planner: And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah. Qur'an 3:54  …. “Remember how the unbelievers plotted against you, to keep you in bonds or slay you, or get you out (of your home) they plot and plan and Allah too plan but the best of planners is Allah. Qur'an 8:30

 

Trust in Allah: Prophet and Abubakr in the cave: ‘If you help not ( your Leader ) (It is no matter ): for Allah did indeed help him, when the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: The two were in the cave, and he said to his companion, "Have no fear for Allah is with us" then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is Exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.  Qur'an 9:40 …"Narrated Abubakr: I was in the company of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) in the cave, and on seeing the traces of the pagans, I said, " O Allah's Apostle! If one of them (pagans) should lift up his foot, he will see us." He said, " What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah". Bukhari 6:148, Hadith #185

 

Vision of conquest of Makka, Byzantine, Persia, Yaman, Syria, Iraq, and the peninsula: Truly did Allah fulfill the vision for His Messenger: You shall enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah wills, with minds secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. For He knew what you knew not, and He granted, besides this, a speedy victory. Qur'an 48:27 …. "Narrated Jabir bin Samura: The Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) said, " If Caesar is ruined, there will be no Caesar after him; and if Khosrau is ruined, there will be no Khosrau after him; and, by Him in whose hand my soul is, surely you will spend their treasures in Allah's cause" Bukhari 8:408, Hadith #625…"Narrated Sufyan bin Abu Zuhair: I heard Allah's Messenger ( may peace be upon him ) saying " Yemen will be conquered and some people will migrate  (from Medina) and will urge their families, and those who will obey them to migrate (to Yemen) although Medina will be better for them; If they but knew. Shaam will also be conquered and some people will migrate (from Medina) and will urge their families and those who will obey them, to migrate (to Sham) although Medina will be better for them, if they but knew. Iraq will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Medina ) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to Iraq) although Medina will be better for them, if they but knew". Bukhari 3:56-57, Hadith # 99 … "Narrated Khabab bin Al Art: We complained to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) about our state while he was leaning against his sheet cloak in the shade of the Kaba. We said, " Will you ask Allah to help us? Will you invoke Allah for us?" He said, "Among those who were before you a (believer) used to be seized and, a pit used to be dug for him and then he used to be placed in it. Then a saw used to be brought and put on his head which would be split into two halves. His flesh might be combed with iron combs and removed from his bones, yet, all that did not cause him to revert from his religion by Allah! This religion (Islam) will be completed (and triumph) till a rider (traveler) goes from Sana ( the capital of Yemen ) to Hadramout fearing nobody except Allah and the wolf lest it should trouble his sheep, but you are impatient" Bukhari 9: 62, Hadith #76

 

Vision of paradise as success and hell as failure: "Narrated Abu Huraira: the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, " Allah said, " I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of". Bukhari 9:435-436, hadith # 589 …."Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) led us in prayer and then went up to the pulpit and beckoned with both hands towards the qibla of the mosque and then said, " When I started leading you in prayer, I saw the display of Paradise and Hell on the wall of the mosque (facing the Qibla) I never saw good and bad as I have seen today." He repeated the last statement thrice". Bukhari 1: 400, hadith # 716

 

Niyyat (intention): "Umar b Al Khattab reported the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) as saying: Actions are to be judged only by intentions, and a man will have only what he intended. When one's emigration is to Allah and His Apostle, his emigration is to Allah and His Apostle; but when his emigration is to a worldly end at which he aims or to a woman whom he marries, his emigration is to that for which he emigrated". Abu Daud 2:593-594, Chapter 727, Hadith # 2195 … "On the pulpit Umar bin Al-Khattab said: I heard Allah's Apostle ( may peace be upon him ) saying, " The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for" Bukhari 1:1, chapter 1, hadith #1

               

Sincerity of action: "It has been narrated on the authority of Sulaiman b. Yasar who said: People dispersed from around Abu Huraira, and Natil, who was from the Syrians, said to him: O Shaikh, relate (to us) a tradition you have heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said: Yes. I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: The first of men (whose case) will be decided on the Day of Judgment will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought (before the Judgment Seat). Allah will make him recount His blessings (i.e. the blessings which He had bestowed upon him) and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his life). Then will Allah say: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I fought for you until I died as a martyr. Allah will say: Your have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a " Brave warrior ". And you were called so. (Then) orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into hell. Then will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and imparted it (to others) and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought and Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime). Then will Allah ask: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited the Qur'an seeking you pleasure. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You acquired knowledge so that you might be called " a scholar " and you recited the Qur'an so that it might be said: " He is a qari and such has been said. Then orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face downward and cast into the Fire. Then will be brought a man whom Allah had made abundantly rich and had granted every kind of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them and (admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime). Allah will then ask: What have you done (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I spent money in every cause in which you wished that it should be spent. Allah will say: You are lying. You did (so) that it might be said about (you): " He is a generous fellow" and so it was said. Then will Allah pass orders and he will be dragged with his face downward and thrown into hell". Muslim 3: 1055, Chapter 746, Hadith # 4688

 

DISCUSSION:

 

VISION

Think of your particular organization or any other 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. Answer the following questions regarding your organization’s education programs.

 

(a) What is the organization's long-term vision?

 

(b) How was the vision formulated?

 

(c) How far has the vision been translated into mission, goals, and objectives

 

FORECASTING

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. Answer the following questions about forecasting future trends in the education field.

 

(a) What is the present status?

 

(b) What are the expected trends in the next 5 years?

 

(c) What factors will affect these trends? Explain how each factor will impact the trends?

 

 

SCENARIO CASTING

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. Answer the following questions about future educational scenarios.

 

                (a) Work out a possible scenarios for your organization’s educational efforts in 5 year's time if the external environment is supportive assuming that other factors are constant

 

(b) Work out a possible scenario for your organization’s educational efforts in 5 year's time if the external environment is neutral assuming other factors are constant

 

(c) Work out a possible scenario for your organization’s educational efforts in 5 year's time if the external environment is hostile assuming other factors to be constant.

 

YOUR NOTES:

 

WORKSHOP #2

UNDERSTANDING PLANNING

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Description and classification of plans

Conceptual issues in planning

OUTLINES:

BACKGROUND READING

Action planning or tactical planning

Relation between planning and control

Characteristics of effective plans

Classification of plans according to different criteria

Limitation of planning due to uncontrollable factors

Failure to plan

Objections to planning

Resistance to change

Bad reputation of centralized planning

Fear of commitment

Reliance on previous experience

Complexity of planning

Elements of strategy and planning

Forecasting & scenarios

Planning and trust in Allah

Over-planning

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

Resources: provisions for hijra

 

DISCUSSION

Organizational planning

 

BACKGROUND READING

INSTRUCTIONS: THE DISCUSSION LEADER OR THE MEMBERS (IN TURNS) WILL PRESENT THE MAIN POINTS IN THE BACKGROUND READING SECTIONS PRE-ASSIGNED THE PREVIOUS WEEK

Action planning or tactical planning: Action planning is laying down the detailed tactical or operational plans. Action planning is problem-solving for the future. Plans made today have an impact on the future. Action planning is charting how to get from a point in time today to a point in the future. Action planning is important because it is a basis for other management functions. Leading, controlling, and organizing are directly determined by the plan. Action planning is preparation for and commitment to the future. It fosters pro-active decision-making and problem-solving while eliminating impulsive urges. A plan facilitates communication within and outside the organization. A plan helps the integration and coordination of organizational activities. An action plan defines what an organization is because it details what it wants to achieve; you are what you do. Organizations with plans are trusted; they know what they want to do and where to go.

 

Relation between planning and control: Planning and control processes are closely linked and mutually influence one another. Control ensures that the plan is implemented well. The plan defines criteria for control. Control identifies deviations necessitating plan modification.

 

Characteristics of effective plans: Effective plans have 4 characteristics: specific, action-oriented, flexible, and consistent with organizational long-term goals and objectives. A plan must be specific and cover only a clearly demarcated and well-defined scope of work. The more specific the plan is the more effective it will be. General and vague plans can not be implemented easily and it is difficult to evaluate their impact at the end.  A plan must be an action-oriented and not a theoretical document. It must specify what actions need to be taken to achieve the desired objectives. A plan must be flexible so that there is room for creativity during the implementation. This is necessary to be able to deal with sudden or unexpected changes. A very rigid plan fails in implementation as soon as an obstacle is encountered. A plan can not be free-standing; it must be consistent with established organizational objectives. If the plan deviates from those objectives or even contradicts them it has little chance of success. If implemented without first formally changing the organizational objectives, the organization will lose its credibility among the general public.

 

Classification of plans according to different criteria: The following shows classification of plans according to different criteria: (a) Objective: strategic, tactical/operational (b) Duration: short, medium, long-term (c) Specificity: general, specific (d) Complexity: complex, simple (e) Methodology: top to bottom, bottom to top (f) Scope: comprehensive, narrow (g) Importance: major, minor  (h) Scale of measure: qualitative, quantitative  (I) Security class: confidential, public (j) Formality: formal, informal (k) Implementability: easy, difficult  (l) Flexibility: flexible, inflexible (m) Creativity: rational, intuitive, creative (n) Cost: expensive, cheap

 

Limitation of planning due to uncontrollable factors: While emphasizing the importance of plans and planning, you should be aware of the limitations. Whole countries, organizations and even individuals have collapsed because they planned and implemented plans without being aware of the limitations. There are many factors in the environment  that are beyond your control let alone your knowledge. Only Allah knows and controls everything. You must therefore take this into consideration by distinguishing environmental factors over which you have control and those over which you have little control. You can plan exactly for what you have control over. A lot of flexibility should be built into the plan when dealing with what you have no control over. 

 

Failure to plan: Failure to plan is common in organizations. It is quite surprising that a high proportion of organizations do not have formal plans for guiding their activities. Most things are decided on an ad hoc basis. All new issues are discussed from first principles in order to reach a decision there being no plan to act as a reference. It is therefore not surprising that many contradictions and wrong decisions are made. Many leaders and organizations are so eager to act that they proceed without first planning. They sometimes feel planning wastes time and delays action. They think of planning after making mistakes and meeting frustrations. Sometimes program failure is difficult to identify because there is no bench-mark plan against which to compare. Many organizations believe they have plans when they do not. They follow the leader's whims presented in the guise of secretly-concocted plans. Apparent contradictions are not explained on.  The excuse that information is secret is sometimes used to hide failures. Some organizational plans have no direct relevance to the methodology of work or the types of activity the organization should be engaged in. Failure to plan, whatever its reasons, will hurt the organization in several ways.

 

Objections to planning: Philosophical objections to planning the future prevent some people from planning. They misunderstand the concepts of QADAR and ILM AL GHAIB. They reason that since only Allah knows the future and since everything is in His hands, it is preposterous for the human being to plan the future. The truth of the matter is that planning does not contradict QADAR or assumes knowledge of the unseen. It is just a human effort to organize human affairs in a better way. Like all human efforts it has its limitations and could be mistaken. Planning is therefore accepted as long as the planner is aware of the limitations and after making his plans places trust in Allah the almighty.

 

Resistance to change: Resistance to change in large well established organizations and bureaucracies is the underlying reason to oppose planning. People want to continue business as usual. Planning is objected to because it may be a catalyst for asking fundamental questions about the operation of the organization and thus lead to changes.

 

Bad reputation of centralized planning: Failure to see planning as rational and creative is a reason for many people avoiding planning. This is because of the bad reputation that centralized government planning has acquired in the past. Incompetent bureaucratic planners who have no touch with reality, possess no understanding of the real problems, and who had no visions to guide them have produced monstrous plans that caused havoc and waste.

 

Fear of commitment: Fear of commitment to plans once made is a major reason for leaders to refuse to plan. Once a plan is made and is known, there is benchmark against which their performance will be measured within a given time frame. Accepting a plan implies being committed to a certain course of action. They want to retain their freedom to do what they want, when and how they wish. Unclear goals and objectives make it virtually impossible to produce any plans. A plan is in essence a restatement of goals and objectives and practical measures for achieving them.

 

Reliance on previous experience: Excessive reliance on experience and failure to appreciate the need for fresh approaches and outlooks makes many long-standing leaders reject planning. Previous experience is good and should be used but there is a need for analysis of the situation and planning for the future. The future can not be the same as the past. It is a mistake to use yesterday’s solution for tomorrow without any modifications. 

 

Complexity of planning: Fear of planning as a difficult and complex process better left to experts results in organizations not planning if they do not have experts in planning. Planning is a difficult intellectual exercise that many people are reluctant to undertake. The basics of planning are easy to grasp and a non-expert can make a fairly good plan. Ignorance of the methodology of planning rather than making organizations seek to acquire the necessary technics and skills, sometimes makes them recoil away from the process. Planning takes time, effort and money. Sometimes a small project or organization may feel that they can not afford the expense of planning and that it is easier for them to proceed with action. You should always think also in terms of the cost of not planning. Misplaced priorities, failed projects, costly mistakes, and repetition of the work are costly and may be more expensive than the cost of planning. Individual resistance to planning may turn into systematic organizational resistance. There are individuals or groups of individuals within the organization who will resist the plan. This may be on valid and rational considerations or it may be just the disinclination to accept the  systematic work that planning institutes, reluctance to change old and tried ways of working, or personal animosity to those formulating and executing the plans.

 

Elements of strategy and planning: The following are the main elements in strategy and planning that are discussed in subsequent sections of this chapter: Vision, Mission, Goals, Objectives, Intentions (niyyat), Sincerity. Vision is a broad general direction. Vision is very important. There can be no strategy in absence of a guiding vision. Human experience down the ages shows that there is always a direct association between what you envision and what you achieve. Vision is non-specific. It is at the conceptual and emotional levels. It defines the general direction for the organization. Vision is the visualization of what you want the organization to be at some point in the future. The more graphic the description, the more effective. Mission is line of work and how to proceed with it. Goals are a broad definition of the mission. Objectives are exact specific definitions of goals. Intention (niyyat) is internal more spiritual than conceptual. Intentions and objectives must be sincere for success

 

Forecasting & scenarios: This is the ability to predict the future. The better the forecasting the better the planning. Forecasting depends on available information, study of current trends and a deep understanding of the people and institutions that you are working with. Forecasting does not assume 'ilm al ghaib. It is based on what is known at the moment. When forecasting you must know the human limitations and appreciate that you could be wide off the mark. These are various possibilities envisaged for the future. Scenario description must be as detailed as possible.

 

Planning and trust in Allah: When planning never forget that the ultimate aim is the pleasure of Allah. Goals, targets achieved without achieving the higher purpose of the pleasure of Allah are not worth much. You have to exert your best human effort in planning then entrust your affairs to Allah. The best of plans with very good execution can fail. Trust in Allah without planning and effort if TAWAAKUL and differs from TAWAKKUL which is effort followed by trust in Allah. Planning can not substitute for trust in Allah. He ultimately has final control over our destinies however much we plan. The trust we talk about is that which follows planning and taking all the humanly possible measures for success and then leaving it to the Lord. Blind trust without making any effort is not trust but failure and true religion can not countenance it.

 

Overplanning: A final word about how much planning should be done. Too much planning could stifle creativity and growth as happened in centralized totalitarian societies.

 

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT.

 

Resources: provisions for hijra: "Narrated Asma: I prepared the journey food for Allah's Apostle ( may peace be upon him ) in Abu Bakr's house when he intended to emigrate to Medina. I could not find anything to tie the food container and the water skin with. So, I said, to Abu Bakr, " By Allah, I do not find anything to tie ( these things ) with except my waist belt." He said, " Cut it into two pieces and tie the water skin with one piece and the food container with the other ( the subnarrator added, " She did accordingly and that was the reason for calling her dhat un nitaqain ( i.e. two belted woman).  Bukhari 4:141, Hadith #222

 

DISCUSSION

 

ORGANIZATIONAL PLANNING

Think of one organization that you know well and answer the following questions regarding the educational field:

 

(a) Does it have a strategic plan?

 

(b) Does it have action plans?

 

(c) Who plans for the organization?

 

(d) How is the follow-up of plans?

 


WORKSHOP #3

STRATEGY PLANNING

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

Conceptual basis for strategic planning

Practical strategic planning

OUTLINES:

BACKGROUND READING

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

  Uncertainty

  Practicability

  Contingency plans

  Review and updating

  Qualitative and quantitative

  Impact

  Levels of planning            

 

TEXT ANALYSIS

Internal and not external weaknesses destroy the ummah

 

DISCUSSION

Preparing a Mission statement

Mandates

Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

Strategic issues identification

Collecting information

Outlining a strategic plan for our local area

 

BACKGROUND READING

INSTRUCTIONS: THE DISCUSSION LEADER OR THE MEMBERS (IN TURNS) WILL PRESENT THE MAIN POINTS IN THE BACKGROUND READING SECTIONS PRE-ASSIGNED THE PREVIOUS WEEK

 

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

TEXT ANALYSIS

INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT.

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

 

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

PREPARING A MISSION STATEMENT

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?

 

 

MANDATES

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?

 

 

STAKEHOLDER ANALYSIS

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?

 

 

ANALYSIS OF STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

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

 

STRATEGIC ISSUES IDENTIFICATION

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?

 

 

COLLECTING INFORMATION

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?

 

OUTLINING A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR OUR LOCAL AREA

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

 

YOUR NOTES:

 

Go to Part II

ęCopright Omar Hasan Kasule Sr, July 2000