Issue management planning

Issue management planning

A systematic approach to issue management implies five distinct steps: 

1. Identification of strategic issues 
This involves an analysis of social, political, economic and technological trends together with a survey of issues raised by groups of activists and experts of business areas crucial to the company. The results of this analysis are then compared with the company's basic objectives and strategic policy, so that congruent and divergent areas can be highlighted. It is then possible to identify the primary issues that may affect the company's business performance. 

2. Issue analysis and assessment 
This involves an analysis of the formal or informal positions taken by the various stakeholders as far as the issue is concerned. It provides a clear-cut ally/enemy picture and an analysis of possible developments (in terms of output, timing and critical steps). This assessment is carried out referring to benchmarking from past issues and by predicting the positioning of key figures. 

3. Definition of strategic options- Strategic positioning 
This involves the definition of the company's basic approach to the issue: taking the lead in dealing with it or letting others develop it, adopting a proactive or reactive attitude, conforming with initial expectations or realigning them. Thus the company's position with respect to the issue in question is identified. 

4.Development of the issue management plan and program implementation 
This means defining aims, objectives, strategies and methods, and then organizing the resources necessary to achieve the objectives agreed on. The programme's success depends on the synchronization of the whole organization through common objectives and strategies, and the careful implementation of all the steps required by the programme, while continuing with precise monitoring of the evolving situation and the reactions of the different stakeholders. 

5.Final assessment 
Issue management aims at implementing a critical change. It is a dynamic process that requires constant assessment of results obtained in terms of modifications and synergies achieved and the state of evolving relationships.