The analytical tool chosen for the assessment of the adaptive strategy is the SWOT analysis. Although SWOT analysis can be used for an overall assessment of the organization and its positioning in the market and industry, it can also indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the Sprinter adaptive strategy chosen for implementation. The Sprinter adaptive strategy focuses on extensive research on the marketing and adoption of its business processes in the changing marketing environment.
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SWOT analysis will help determine whether such a strategy is effective in the current environment by reviewing its potential advantages and disadvantages, as well as discover possible threats that the company might experience if it decides to adopt this strategy. SWOT analysis will assess the importance of speed in the strategy for the company and evaluate whether trends in healthcare and HRM are as important as it is suggested.
The strategy will help the company adapt rapidly to the changing environment in healthcare by tracking down and implementing the existing business models, thus allowing the company to react to the marketing trends faster and making the company more competitive when compared to its rivals. Utilization of effective business models can not only increase the competitiveness but also positively influence customer satisfaction.
The main weakness of the strategy is the number of business models available in healthcare and HRM for implementation. First, some of them might be unsuitable for the company due to their dependence on a particular target market and geographic, as well as demographic, conditions. Second, following and implementing suitable business models requires a significant investment of financial and human resources, which might not be supported by the hospital’s financial managers.
Successful implementation of the strategy will result in improved customer satisfaction and company recognition in the market.
Models suggested for implementation have to be carefully observed and studied to avoid disruptions in the business process and reduction in effectiveness and profitability. If the company’s ability to address issues and challenges as quickly as possible is the main base of the strategy, any disruptions in it will lead to a decreased competitive advantage, and, possibly, customer dissatisfaction.
Internal and External Factors
Legislative changes, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are among the external factors that can significantly influence the strategy’s effectiveness. First, since the implementation of the strategy requires well-trained individuals with experience and education, it might be impaired by the shortage of such skilled professionals in the field. As it has been mentioned, ACA creates a strong demand for qualified professionals, which is only worsened by their growing shortage.
Second, competencies required for medical professionals by the ACA might further overcomplicate the implementation of the strategy by placing additional demands and responsibility on medical professionals. To overcome the barrier, the company will need to ensure that the implemented business model does not adversely influence human resources of the company and organizational environment, and is based on research and development (R&D) both of the market and strategic initiatives of the company’s competitors.
An internal factor that might become a barrier to strategy implementation is organizational culture. It appears that the organizational culture in the company may significantly impair the process of implementation if its influence is adverse. For example, low motivation of workers, lack of loyalty to the company, and high rates of burnout will decrease the company’s ability to respond to environmental changes as quickly as possible and adapt models and trends relevant in the market. Therefore, the company needs to review employees’ training and establish additional courses or workshops that will target the problem directly. Adequate scheduling, lack of any understaffing, and increased competencies of medical professionals will also help improve their motivation and work environment.
The market segmentation should be performed in order to understand what market segment the company will target. The targeted market can be divided into the following subgroups:
- Patients with advanced cancer;
- Chronic patients with complex diseases;
- Pregnant patients and delivering patients;
- Newborns or toddlers;
- Patients with controlled/one chronic condition(s);
- Patients with mental illnesses;
- Acute and well (Butcher, 2016).
Such a division of patients is more usable than demographic or geographic segmentation because it allows adjusting the strategy used by the company with regard to the patient’s needs. Increasing patients’ satisfaction, and, thus, competitive advantage, is the company’s main goal. Since the company provides healthcare services, its strategy needs to target various individuals depending on the type of care they receive, hospital stay, charge, and discharge specifics. Furthermore, the company will also be able to follow relevant trends in healthcare-related to specific conditions rather than demographic data, thus focusing on the improvement of its services rather than research of demographic rates related to patients.
Segmentation of the market based on customers’ conditions can also help medical professionals understand the preferences of the former (Butcher, 2016). Such segmentation allows evaluating the effectiveness of care delivery and the impact of the chosen strategy on it. At the same time, research shows that these groups align with specific demographic groups as well (e.g., patients with multiple chronic conditions and behavioral problems are often elderly patients with low income).
Point of Service Activities
It appears that the point of service activities will be the most effective ones due to the following reasons: marketing research will be focused on evaluating and gathering data on customer satisfaction with provided services and their quality; quality improvements of healthcare services will be based on results of surveys; the hospital will be able to compare its effectiveness with other healthcare facilities by reviewing data provided by patients and internal assessments of employee motivation and engagement. Furthermore, the point of service activities, if collected and processed correctly, can also significantly lower costs of operations by addressing identified issues in the care provided to customers.
Another advantage of point-of-service activities is in their rapidness, which is essential for the implementation of the chosen adaptive strategy. Point-of-service assessment can be characterized as rapid and sensitive detection of both strengths and weaknesses of provided services. In turn, these advantages and disadvantages can be quickly reported to the marketing department (Khanna & Walt, 2015).
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Furthermore, such rapid data processing will also allow the facility to customize service delivery within a short period of time. Additional attention will also be paid to customer expectations. It is crucial for the hospital to identify if expectations are adequate (not too low or too high) and whether they can or cannot adversely influence customer perception of the facility and its healthcare services. If any major changes are implemented, point-of-service activities will help gather immediate response to them, as well as evaluate their impact.
In order to maintain the company’s strategic direction, the organization should implement strategic planning at all organizational levels. Arasa and K’Obonyo point out that strategic planning is “planning as a conscious, systematic process during which decisions are made about the goals and activities that an individual, group, work unit or organization will pursue in the future” (p. 202). Thus, the company needs to translate its vision and mission, as well as its goals, at all levels and ensure that employees are capable of pursuing these goals accordingly to the company’s strategic direction. One of the ways to maintain it is to engage transformational leadership in the working process.
The purpose of a transformational leader is to translate the company’s vision to followers, evoke emotional links to his/her followers, emphasize the importance of the shared missions, and provide inspiration, as well as promote intellectual stimulation among employees (García-Morales, Jiménez-Barrionuevo, & Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez, 2012). It should be noted that the implementation of transformational leadership will directly influence both the culture and the structure of the company.
First, dynamic and proactive vision will be supported by the organizational level; relationships among employees and with their leader will also be transformed into less authoritative and more democratic ones. Further, the transfer of knowledge among employees at different levels will also be supported, thus encouraging cooperation and teamwork among employees at different hierarchical positions. Such a shift in authority will also result in a change in organizational structure, leading to possible partial decentralization, thus making the organization more flexible and prepared for any further transformations.
Less decentralized decision-making can also improve the satisfaction of medical professionals (especially nurses) since they will be allowed to participate in complex decision-making. If the company aims to track down business models in the changing environment, it should also rely on organizational learning and innovation translated through the organizational structure via transformational leadership.
The role of financial resources in the pursuit of strategic goals is evident. First, they are able to indicate how reasonably finances are being utilized and whether they can be used for future investments. Second, the company can set economic value-added goals to improve the business value. Third, financial operations can indicate existing risks and issues, and the company’s management needs to assess its economic impact.
The role of human resources is significant since they can become one of the company’s unique and particularly valuable assets if trained and experienced. In order to achieve strategic goals, human resources will be responsible for delivering and providing quality care, assessing and addressing discrepancies, evaluating the business process, researching the market, and maintaining R&D processes.
The organizational facilities should also be taken into consideration. Since it is a healthcare organization, the quality of services directly depends on the availability, safety, and access to facilities. A healthy work environment is necessary to support both customer and employee satisfaction. Unit-based meetings of facility managers will ensure quality control of processes proceeding in the departments.
At last, IT resources are a vital part of any organization, since they will be responsible for data collection, assessment, and processing. In order to maintain quality communication among departments, IT resources will support the internal online communication system. However, another system will also be necessary for communication with end-users, i.e., patients and other stakeholders. Any disruptions in patient-organization communication will increase customer dissatisfaction. Additionally, IT services will be engaged in market analysis and assessment. Thus, their capacity to process and transfer large amounts of data will be directly related to the success of the implementation of the Sprinter strategy.
Effectiveness of the Strategic Plan
There are multiple ways to assess the efficiency of the strategic plan, which can be conducted during or after its implementation. The first two proposed strategies will target customers. It is recommended to evaluate customer experience by conducting on-site surveys and/or offering customers to fill in a survey published on the hospital’s website. Additional evaluation can be done by analyzing the number and cause of customer complaints placed within a month (or a quarter/a year).
The second strategy will target the number of customers within a certain period, including new customers. The company will need to evaluate not only the numbers but also the revenue per customer, as well as the number of customers retained. These metrics will indicate whether the organization is pursuing its goal of delivering quality services and maintaining high customer satisfaction with them.
The third strategy will target employee effectiveness and engagement. It will be necessary to evaluate the following factors: employee satisfaction, turnover rate, the number of suggestions provided by employees and the number of those accepted, metrics related to employee experience, and additional training (e.g., company-based coaching, workshops, etc.). The data gathered on employee engagement and satisfaction will indicate whether the company is staying on track with its objective to “cherish all stakeholders including employees”. Analysis of turnover rates will also help address such issues as employee burnout, which can negatively influence both the financial resources of the company and its image.
Arasa, R., & K’Obonyo, P. (2012). The relationship between strategic planning and firm performance. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2(22), 201-213.
Butcher, L. (2016). Consumer segmentation has hit health care. Here’s how it works. Web.
García-Morales, V. J., Jiménez-Barrionuevo, M. M., & Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez, L. (2012). Transformational leadership influence on organizational performance through organizational learning and innovation. Journal of Business Research, 65(7), 1040-1050.
Khanna, P., & Walt, D. R. (2015). Salivary diagnostics using a portable point-of-service platform: A review. Clinical Therapeutics, 37(3), 498-504.