Irregular events or other factors that arise in the course of organizational Activities are called Current Issues. If an event occurs regularly and can be predicted it would be a part of the organizational Environment. Current Issues cannot be easily predicted and can have a direct impact on the performance of the organization. If a key employee were to become ill and need several weeks of leave, then this would be a Current Issue. The employee becoming sick would not be a normal occurance that can be predicted. However the effects of that illness could be severe on the performance of the organization’s Activities.
If there is a shortcoming in the Current Condition of the organization, it could be attributed an incorrect analysis of the Environment, a Strategic Plan that is not able to perform at expected levels, or a Current Issue that is having a negative impact. Therefore understanding the Current Issues and the links those issues have to Activities, Capabilities, and Resources will help you to address any shortcomings or take advantage of opportunities.
In the previous section we saw that Jack and Jill’s Current Condition was that they had only made $10 in two days. What are some Current Issues that might be affecting their performance. The most likely Current Issue that comes to mind is that it has been raining off and on in the first two days. So it has generally been wet and not a lot of people are working outside. This would have a negative impact on sales and as a result profits would be reduced. In the next section we are going to explore the ways we can address this Current Issue. For now though we are going to assume that this is the key issue that is preventing the organization from performing to expectations.
Let’s take a look at the previous examples and see if there are any Current Issues that may be affecting performance.
Example 1 OBJ: Bill will start and operate a wine bar in Toledo, Ohio. He will specialize in providing the largest selection of California varieties, which are underrepresented in the area. He will make at least $80,000 a year in profit from his wine bar.
Course of Action A: Bill will start and manage an independent wine bar under a brand he develops.
1. Develop relationships with suppliers
2. Scout out potential locations for the wine bar
3. Build a social media presence through website development and other platforms
Current Condition: Bill has developed relationships with 4 suppliers. He has found a couple locations for the wine bar. He has been unable to find a company to develop a social media presence as of yet.
Current Issues: No Current Issues have been identified. A wine expert will be visiting the area soon.
Example 2 OBJ: Kevin will build a decorative two story shed in the backyard of his house. It will have at least 100 square feet of space upstairs for storage which will reduce the clutter in the house.
Course of Action B: Kevin will hire the services of a carpenter to work on the shed.
1. Seek out carpenters that are able to do the work.
2. Make decisions as far as design and layout go.
3. Agree on a price with the carpenter.
Current Condition: Kevin has identified 3 carpenters that are able to do the work. He is still deciding on the design and layout of the new shed. The price has not been agreed to as of yet.
Current Issues: No Current Issues have been identified
Example 3 OBJ: Abigail will organize a fundraising dinner for the Doe family. The dinner will be prepared by a local restaurateur and there will be fun and games for everyone. The fundraiser will raise at least $10,000 for the Doe family.
Course of Action A: Abigail will gather a small group which will undertake all preparations.
1. Recruit members for the planning and prep group.
2. Delegate responsibilities to members of the planning and prep group.
3. Monitor performance and make adjustments as needed.
Current Condition: Abigail has recruited 4 people to undertake planning and preparation. She organized a meeting where responsibilities were delegated to the members. Abigail is meeting with all the members at a weekly get together to discuss performance.
Current Issues: Abigail has found out that her mother is ill. She may have to take some time away from the fundraising dinner to visit her.
Example 4 OBJ: Susan will manage a project to improve productivity by at least 5% in the company. The project will focus on introducing soft improvements which require minimal resources to implement.
Course of Action A: The project will introduce new incentives to reward higher productivity.
1. Work with Human Resources and Executives to determine what Resources are available for this initiative.
2. Determine criteria for new incentives.
3. Develop implementation plans throughout the organization.
Current Condition: Susan has identified and received resources for incentives to be used in this project. Scott is developing criteria for the distribution of these new incentives. Susan has met with several organizational leaders to discuss implementation.
Current Issues: Susan has been informed that the project timeline will be reduced from 6 months to 4 months.
Example 5 OBJ: The average student test scores will improve by a total of 10%, from 76% to 86%, over the next three years.
Course of Action B: The course will be redesigned so that more time is spent on traditionally weak areas.
1. Examine the course and scout out weak points.
2. Do comparative analysis to determine how those weak points are addressed in more successful classes.
3. Redesign the course structure as needed based on Activities 1 and 2.
Current Condition: 2 weak points of the course have been identified so far. A forum has been set up to discuss best practices that have addressed these weak points in other schools. The class has not been redesigned yet.
Current Issues: A seminar on improving education in these types of classes has been announced in Boston.
Example 6 OBJ: ACME will be the lowest cost provider of computer services in Dayton.
Course of Action B: ACME will focus on maintenance agreements and other long term relationships to keep prices low.
1. Determine which customers are candidates for the proposed maintenance agreement program.
2. Meet with customers and reach agreement with them.
3. Scale back and close out higher cost/lower margin customers.
Current Condition: ACME has identified 6 customers for it’s proposed maintenance agreement program. It has met with 4 of those customers and reached agreement with 1 of them. ACME has not scaled back it’s lower margin customers yet.
Current Issues: A new competitor recently opened up in Dayton, who specializes in low cost computer services.
Example 7 OBJ: The Jaguars will win at least 8 games this year.
Course of Action B: The Jaguars will focus on improving their preseason training.
1. Discuss adjustments with school administration and teachers to ensure it does not disrupt other goals.
2. Increase the number of sessions in the summer from 2 per week to 3 per week.
3. Introduce new summer home training regimen for players.
Current Condition: School adminstration will not allow expanded preseason training as it interferes with summer classes and tutoring. The Jaguars are currently having two training sessions per week. A new summer home training regimen has been introduced to players.
Current Issues: The academic performance of the school has dropped considerably from last year. The quarterback and two other players are no longer academically eligible to play.
Example 8 OBJ: Scott will ensure that the team continues to produce 50 widgets per week and keep the quality scores above 95%.
Course of Action A: Scott will retain the previous methods and processes practiced by the team.
1. Have meetings with staff to ensure that management and culture align closely with that of the previous management.
2. Monitor performance to ensure production and quality remain consistent.
3. Make adjustments or changes as necessary to maintain previous production metrics.
Current Condition: Scott has met one on one with the staff as well as in a group environment to ensure he is managing according to the principles of the previous successful management team. Current production is 51 widgets per week and the current quality is 98%. No adjustments or changes are needed.
Current Issues: Two employees in the group will be retiring within the next year.
Think of Current Issues as a newspaper for your organization. As relevant issues arise connect them to those Activities, Capabilities, and Resources for which they are relevant. Remember that Current Issues are not meant to only make you aware of potential problems, but also potential opportunities.
In the next section we are going to be discussing the Toolkit with which you can address the Current Issues as well as any other factor that might be affecting performance.