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Your strategic plan is a living document

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Every organisation that has developed a strategic plan needs to look at how the business is performing against the plan. A strategic plan is a living document and therefore business executives should constantly evaluate and review performance.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

After a company has prepared a strategic plan and is in the process of implementing it, it is important to assess how that strategy is performing. The process of evaluation and control should therefore be in place at every stage of the strategic management process to ensure that the strategy is working as envisaged and this will assist in anticipating and correcting any deviations or weaknesses in the system.

The process of evaluation involves collecting information about how the strategic plan is progressing and then decide on an appropriate action once the evaluation results have been produced. If everything is going well then the organisation can continue doing what it is doing or even do better.
However, if the evaluation shows that there is adverse performance then the trouble spots should be eliminated. An adverse performance could be a result of an ambitious plan that might need revision downwards or it could be a result of inability by employees to follow the implementation process properly, in which case there might be a need to upgrade their skills.

Strategic evaluation helps to provide direction as it enables management to make sure that the organisation is heading in the right direction and that, where needed, corrective action is taken.
Strategic evaluation also provides guidance to everyone within the organisation as to what is happening, how they are performing in comparison to what is expected, and what should be done to maintain the good performance or how to improve performance.

Lastly, strategic evaluation inspires confidence if performance is good resulting in everyone within the organisation being motivated to maintain and achieve better performance to impress key stakeholders like customers, the government and shareholders. The motivation is even enhanced if performance is linked to rewards.
The evaluation process follows the following steps: firstly you have to set SMART objectives (that is, objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound), the second aspect is to evaluate actual performance against the set objectives, and lastly take the necessary action based on the results of the evaluation.
When setting objectives it’s very critical that the organisation identifies the critical success factors, those activities that the organisation should perform well to satisfy its customers. Such activities, if performed well, will ensure the success of the strategic plan. Performance objectives should then be set for such critical areas.

It is very important to ensure that the objectives are realistic and are attainable. One way of checking if the objectives are realistic is to benchmark them with another organisation in the same industry or outside the industry if that organisation performs similar activities. When benchmarking with an organisation you should set targets that are equal, or are better than, what the competition is offering.
When setting performance objectives it is very critical that the organisation focuses on measuring how employees are performing, how the equipment is functioning and more importantly how money is used.

Performance should be looked at from five dimensions, namely, the volume of work completed, how well a task was done, whether the task was done according to expectations, whether employees were creative enough to find new or better ways of doing things.
Once the objectives have been set the evaluation process can begin by collecting the required information and compare the actual performance against the standard and determine what action is necessary.

Strategic evaluation does not only concentrate on how well things are progressing vis-a-vis the strategic plan but it also does interrogate how good the strategic plan is. If the strategic plan is flawed, corrective action should be taken very swiftly and decisively before an organisation spends huge sums of money implementing a bad strategy.
There are a number of ways to assess how good your strategic plan is. The first method looks at how the strategy is aligned to the external environment and the internal environment. The other method evaluates the strategic plan by considering the following key questions, namely:
Is the strategy internally consistent?

Is the strategy consistent with the environment?
Is the strategy appropriate in view of available resources?
Does the strategy involve an acceptable degree of risk?
Does the strategy have an appropriate time-frame?
Is the strategy workable?

What is the position of our competitors in comparison to ours, and what are the implications of this on our strategic approach?
How might our competitors react to the strategy?
How competent is the strategist who put the strategic plan together? Do these people have the necessary skills?

When reviewing a strategic plan one can use one of these two approaches. Firstly, you can do a functional review where each function reviews its strategy against the above criteria, or secondly you can use a thematic approach where you review the performance against the main strategic theses like financial, people, operations and marketing.

About the writer

Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship. He is the Managing Consultant of Shekina Consulting (Pty) Ltd and provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans, tender documents and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations. For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com, WhatsApp on +266 58881062 or call on +266 62110062.

 

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Vodacom gives to schools

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MASERU – FIVE schools in Malea-Lea area in Mafeteng received a gift of 20 computers from the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation last Friday.

Vodacom Lesotho has also provided the schools with free unlimited internet as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The company also donated a fully furnished computer laboratory worth M1.2 million, including solar energy to the Malea-Lea community in Mafeteng.

The computer lab will serve Malea-Lea Primary, Litšokeleng Primary, Makhetheng Primary and Botšoela Primary Schools as well as Malea-lea Secondary School.

The principal for Malea-Lea Secondary School, ’Masechaba Sekhesa, said computer studies are in their syllabus and this donation will help the teachers and students to access technology which will in turn improve their education and attract more sponsors in their schools.

“These will also encourage the communities to stop taking their children to schools outside Malea-Lea,” Sekhesa said.

“This will increase the number of students in our schools,” she said.

The Principal of Makhetheng Primary School, Thato Phethoka, said lack of computers has not only affected students’ education but also the teachers who had to spend their money to deliver education. He said in 2020, Covid-19 pandemic knocked them down even more.

He said after the lockdown was introduced in schools, education moved to digital platforms.

“In the absence of electricity in the community coupled with high unemployment which hinders parents from buying phones for their children, we had to find a way to deliver education,” Phethoka said.

“Teachers were forced by circumstances to use their own funds to buy data to do the research and download materials through their phones,” he said.

He said for an average class of 26 students, teachers had to spend their money to print the assignments for students which would cost M2 per copy.

Phethoka said even the computer centre present in Malea-Lea is a one hour walk away which discouraged students.

However, he said the presence of this new facility would help teachers and students to access the internet and research to improve education which is a 30 minutes’ walk from their school.

The Director of Malea-Lea Development Trust Fund, Khotso Au, said they only had 20 computers.

Au said in a day they would have more than 25 students and due to the shortage of computers, some would have to share.

He said the other challenge was that the facility had to buy contract data of 400 GB which cost M1 900.

He said although the facility has donors, it was still challenging to take out that huge sum of money since they also have other projects.

He said the schools’ performance has been bad and this discourages donors since they have to submit reports on students they are sponsoring.

He said he believes the presence of these new computers and access to the internet will help the students to access the internet for research and improve the education in the area.

Vodacom Lesotho’s corporate affairs executive head, Tšepo Ntaopane, said they had provided solar energy to help power the computers. They will also provide the schools with free data.

“We are seeking to give away other computers in other schools and communities to ensure that every Mosotho has access to technology,” Ntaopane said.

“We want to build a technology driven economy,” he said, adding that they are “willing to take out what we have to assist Basotho”.

Refiloe Mpobole

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New mobile filling stations on the cards

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MASERU – THE Petroleum Fund has introduced mobile filling stations that have a higher life span.

The new filling stations have a life span of more than 50 years compared to traditional filling stations that have a life span of around 15 years, according to the Petroleum Fund’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Rorisang Mahlo,

Mahlo said the outstanding features of this new investment include a petroleum tank which is stored in fabricated containers, unlike the traditional filling stations where the petroleum tank is underground.

“This exposure to more chemical reactions shortens the life span,” Mahlo said.

Mahlo said the mobile filling stations are also covered with layers which include the ordinary layer and upper layer which is resistant to fire.

“This makes them more advantageous than the traditional ones,” he said.

He said the traditional filling stations come in one size while the mobile filling stations come in various sizes which make them more business viable and flexible.

In his welcoming remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Petroleum Fund, Thato Mohasoa, said the major objective of the institution is to ensure security supply of petroleum products in the country.

He said they are expected to facilitate the improvement of the distribution and accessibility of those products throughout the country.

Mohasoa said the Petroleum Fund realised that there was a need to assess the extent of the supply shortage of petroleum products in the country.

He said one of the projects that were recommended for consideration were the Mobile Filling Stations in underserviced and remote parts of the country.

He said the mobile filling station is intended to create opportunities for investment and jobs for local people while ensuring the security of supply of petroleum products in the country. He said this will in turn stimulate the country’s economy.

The Operations Manager at Petroleum Fund, Lebohang Makhoali, said the petroleum sector’s needs analysis was completed in 2020 to identify gaps within the Petroleum Fund mandate. Amongst others, a mobile filling station project was recommended.

He said the mobile filling station will increase local ownership and assist in building local capacity and training of local entrepreneurs. He said the estimated capital required to establish a mobile filling station in these sites range from M1.2 million to M1.7 million.

He said this entails the facility infrastructure, a fuel management system and a payment system. Makhoali said these filling stations are best investments for highlands and rural parts of Lesotho since they will not compete with the existing traditional filling stations as a set radius will be determined.

“It is a low investment expenditure compared to a traditional filling station,” he said.

The Petroleum Fund Officer ’Makhauta Fosa said once the policies and regulatory frameworks have been formulated, the companies will be issued with business licenses. However, he said an applicant must have business registration documents as issued by the Registrar of Businesses in Lesotho.

She said before the construction can start, applicants must have a building permit and apply for the certificate of occupancy as the construction continues. Fosa said an applicant must have a supply contract with a licensed oil company.

“A filling station is not allowed to have more than one supplier,’’ she said.

An applicant must submit a written application for a trading licence to the Department of Energy.

Refiloe Mpobole

 

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MMB workers down tools

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MASERU – WORKERS at the Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) downed tools from Monday this week demanding a 20 percent raise on their salaries.

The MMB’s legal officer, ’Mapulumo Mosisili, however insisted that the strike will not affect the company’s daily operations.

Mosisili said they had “already put in place measures to continue with our job smoothly”.

“We are doing our best to ensure that the strike does not affect us,” Mosisili said.

She said the process started through the Wages Board in August where they tried to explain the company’s financial situation to the workers.

“But it is their right to strike,” Mosisili said. She said the 20 percent increment the workers are demanding is not affordable because “everything has become expensive now, like water and electricity”.

The company had promised a 4.6% salary increment but the workers opposed the proposal

She said no company has given the employees a salary rise above the inflation rate due to a lack of finances.

The MMB workers launched their strike by blocking the company’s gates with trucks and singing protest songs.

One of the songs they were signing while holding their placards says Mona ha rea tlela masaoana, which translates to “We are not here for fun”.

Their placards were written Ha re batle 4.6% e nyane, which translates to “We do not want 4.6% increment because it is too
little”.

Another was written Re kopa moputso o phelisang which translates to, “We are asking for enough salaries to earn a living”.

One of the workers, Mohafa Malefane, said the prices of basic commodities have increased which requires that workers get enough salaries for them to cope.

“He (the employer) says he will offer only 4.6 percent, we do not want that, it is not enough,” Malefane said.

Malefane said they ended up striking because their employer has clarified that he will not give them the 20 percent they are demanding.

He added that last year they received a four percent salary increment.

“It was still below the inflation rate as it was seven percent then,” he said.

He said the striking departments include brewing, packaging, logistics, and utilities.

“It’s just that some workers in the distribution department have turned their backs on us, they are busy working now,” he said.

The employees’ representative, Fokothi Thite, told thepost that the lowest-earning employee gets M2 000.

“If they add their 4.6 percent it will make a difference of only M80. We will not allow that,” Thite said.

He stated that at least the 20 percent they propose will raise their salary from M2 000 to M2 400.

“The salaries we are paid here are spent on transport to bring us to work and take us back to our homes, and nothing else,” he
said.

He also said they approached the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Reconciliation (DDPR) and their management to fix the matter “but no one listened”.

“We will stand here and sing until 2023.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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