In Series 3.2, we learned about developing a strategy to implement your project in the field. We discovered the strategy consists of three main components:
- The mission statement
- The vision (or goals)
- And the practical approach strategy
The mission statement is present-oriented, describing your current actions. It incorporates social ideals known as values which guide the entire project or organization.
The vision (or goals) is future-oriented and long term. It stipulates what you desire to achieve over a period of time. We discovered the vision anchors on SMART strategic objectives which render it flexible should the entrepreneur desire a change of strategy along the way.
Finally, we introduced the practical approach strategy which deals with organizing resources and selecting an effective implementation approach to achieve your strategic objectives and vision.
In this series, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of the practical approach strategy: we’ll discover how you identify, prepare resources and choose an implementation approach prior to implementing your project.
Practical Approach Strategy
The practical approach as we’ve seen deals with resources analysis and field realities. There’re four main things to consider:
- Internal stakeholders
- External stakeholders
- Resources analysis
- The most feasible implementation approach
Internal And External Stakeholders
Stakeholders are people or entities that influence decision-making or aspects of the project. A stakeholder’s influence can either be positive or negative depending on their interests.
Most social projects have two types of stakeholders: internal and external. Internal stakeholders are those within the organization while external stakeholders are outside the organization. These must be carefully analysed and engaged for a project to be implemented successfully.
For our tree planting project in Cameroon, we have the following internal and external stakeholders:
Internal: Village workers, Treff-end members, the village chief and council members
External: Local NGOs (Wewuley Consultancy, Master Planner Foundation, Green Peace), government representatives, neighbouring villagers, the local radio station, local newspapers and donors.
To successfully implement your project, you must identify all internal and external stakeholders, their roles, level of importance and level of influence. When this is done, the entrepreneur develops a Stakeholder Engagement Plan to ensure all actions of the identified stakeholders favour the implementation of the project.
Treff-End’s Sample Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement Plan are made available to its partners in the field.
Resources are the items you need to accomplish your objectives (to implement the project in the field). You either own or acquire resources. The main resources to identify include:
Physical (Tangible): transport equipment, office equipment, working equipment, training equipment, etc.
Intangible: skills, knowledge, capacities, strengths, etc.
Financial: The finances you need (where it will come from and what it will be used for).
Human: Who will do what, how and when.
Organizational: Logistics, administrative, bills (fuel, electricity, phone, internet, emails, etc.), events, unforeseen, contingencies, etc.
By going through the Reveal and Design steps, it’s possible to identify most of the resources you need to implement your project (especially by observing the Work Breakdown Structure and Task List).
Treff-End’s Sample Resource Analysis is made available to its partners in the field.
The Most Feasible Implementation Approach
The implementation approach is a philosophy stakeholders take to the field during implementation. Treff-End encourages social entrepreneurs to choose among the following three:
- Low-Cost Approach: Flat hierarchy with main focus – to decide (as a group) the most cost-effective way of implementing the project without compromising quality and overall strategic objectives.
- Advantages: implementation at a reduced cost, people manage themselves (in a flat hierarchy association), people feel their input is valuable, can learn and adapt to new skills.
- Disadvantages: some may carry most of the burden, people may not feel responsible in cases of failure, progress may be compromised by a lack of properly defined responsibilities.
- Monitoring & Evaluation Approach: Fairley flat hierarchy with few leaders who ensure resources are well utilized.
- Advantages: work is taken seriously, responsibilities are well defined, people know their boundaries, people’s ideas are still relatively considered.
- Disadvantages: may incur more costs, leaders must purchase some skilled-workers, leaders must be trained, employees may feel devalued.
- Standardized Approach: Consists of an improved standard. This may mean purchasing the services of additional stakeholders such as standard software, machinery, industrial plants, etc.
- Advantages: good for huge projects with complex processes and huge profit margins, targets are usually met, workers are usually specialists or professionals.
- Disadvantages: high costs, complex processes, may not be feasible in most interior contexts, lack of infrastructure and skilled labour.
You need a practical approach strategy to implement your project. The approach depends on a careful analysis of internal and external stakeholders, material and immaterial resources, as well as, the most feasible implementation approach. With these, you must have put all in place to reduce risks of failure.
In Series 3.4, we’ll see how the entrepreneur actually implements the project in the field.
Please share this info with friends and entrepreneurs in your community