United States       Office of Policy,      EPA/230/R-92/004
          Environmental Protection   Planning and Evaluation   June 1990
          Agency         Washington, DC 20460
xvEPA    Overview of Strategic
          Planning at the
          Environmental Protection

                                June 26,1990
     Overview of Strategic
Planning at the Environmental
       Protection Agency
       Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation
       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
           Washington, DC 20460
                               Printed on Recycled Paper

                 TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING?                        1

WHY STRATEGIC PLANNING AT EPA?                     2


IMPLEMENTATION                                   5

FOR FY 1992 AND FY 1993                             10

COMMON QUESTIONS                                12

CREATING A DOCUMENTED PLAN                      17

CALENDAR                                        25

SUGGESTED FORMAT                                26

BIBLIOIGRAPHY                                    27



THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN                           9

ORGANIZATION                                    13


      EPA is using strategic planning to chart its course, set priorities,
^^^1^^^^^_____^___  make decisions, and manage
                                   resources to  achieve the Agency's
  Strategic planning is:              mission. Used frequently in the
                                   private sector and other government
  * A clear and simple vision of     agencies, strategic planning  means
  what we  are striving to            making choices about what  we will
  accomplish.                       ancj ^^ not  ^Q .. cnoices regarding
                                   our purpose  and activities.  It is a
  * Choices about what we will      management tool, a gradual and
  and will not do - choices          iterative process for effecting
  regarding our purpose and         organizational change, and has the
  activities.                         potential to involve all levels of
•MH^MM^^^^MH^^H^M^^^M  management.
     The goal of strategic planning is to improve the way EPA -- from
existing programs to new initiatives, and from headquarters to regional
offices - does its job.  The outcome of strategic planning is a shared
vision of what we are  striving to         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
accomplish, and the will to take the
steps necessary to get  there.  Strategic     Thinking strategically requires
planning can  be undertaken at the        questioning assumptions, and
Agency, Region, program, office,          taldnS nothing for
division and branch levels.              ^^^^^^^^^^^
     The EPA strategic planning process is linked to the budget
formulation process, so that strategic decisions drive  the distribution of
funds.  It also links to everyday management decisions, because it underlies
the setting of priorities and the allocation of scarce human and financial
resources. Operational planning translates the themes and vision of the
strategic  plan into organizational reality.


     Administrator William Reilly initiated the strategic planning process
in 1989 to set clear priorities and effectively manage the challenges facing
^^H^M_i^^M^M  EPA.  The eff°rt was launched to
                                   help us set a thoughtful and
  The challenges facing EPA are     responsible course for the Agency
  enormous, and it is essential        over the long term> Qne that [s
  that the Agency set its own        influenced less by specific crises and
  agenda and keep its own          more by professional judgment
  scorecard.  We  must make         regarding actions that are likely to
  decisions while looking to the      bring the greatest benefit over time.
  future rather than to the past.
^•M^HMMMBiMMBMHBi^^BMM  Successfully implemented, strategic
                                   planning can influence the Agency  in
many ways.  For example,  strategic planning can  help us to focus first on
areas of the greatest  risk and risk reduction potential,  and to integrate
pollution prevention techniques into our decision making.   It can help us
think across  statutes in terms of tangible  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^_
environmental results.  Furthermore,
strategic planning can help direct          Strategic planning directs
budgetary decisions, and determine,        our maJor activities.
anticipate, and meet human resource     __^MHH^_i^^_^^_M_
needs.  It can help direct research
priorities, focus management information systems, develop regulatory
agendas and priorities, and assess and meet statutory requirements. It will
help us communicate the results  of our work to those  in and outside the
Agency (including EPA HQ, EPA Regions, States, Congress,
environmental groups and industry.).

     Strategic planning can  be the linchpin of good public sector
management because it provides the kind of focus that accomplishment
and  performance  require in a large organization. While good strategic
planning  is very difficult, the barriers to developing a useful strategic plan
are not insurmountable.

 Strategic planning will help EPA:

 o     Focus on risk and risk reduction potential.

 o     Establish priorities and set future course.

 o     Allocate resources cost-effectively.

 o     Anticipate and meet human resource needs.

 o     Direct research and development priorities.

 o     Participate more  effectively in the regulatory
       development and legislative processes.

 o     Integrate cross-cutting themes, like preventing
       pollution, strengthening enforcement, and
       building  international leadership into everyday

 o     Communicate effectively with internal and
       outside constituencies.

o     Break down institutional barriers and
       bureaucratic logjams, and identify and-resolve

o     Turn ideas into organizational realities.

o     Get  environmental results.


     The general framework (see Exhibit 1) for a strategic plan has six
interwoven, dynamic parts:

     1.    Mission:  Define our purpose, or mission:  What services do
           we (the unit doing the planning) offer?  What  is our business?

     2.    Critical Issues Assessment:  Allows us  to develop an
           understanding of our organization, the environment in  which it
           functions, and issues which affect performance  -- all crucial
           information to planning for the future.  It seeks to answer
           questions such as: What are our strengths and  weaknesses?
           Opportunities? Threats?  Who  are major stakeholders?

     3.    Goals and Objectives:  Articulate our goals (to accomplish our
           mission), and objectives (more specific, to achieve goals).

     4.    Strategies:  Use knowledge of organizational strengths  and
           weaknesses and external constraints (critical issues) to  develop
           strategies (also referred to  as strategic options, policy options,
           choices or approaches) to meet  goals and objectives.  What
           alternative policies are available, and  what are  the advantages
           and disadvantages of each?

     5.    Decision and Action:  Decide which strategy(ies) to pursue,
           and determine the specific  activities required to implement it
           (them).   What mix of activities meets our goals and objectives,
           and is the most practical course of action given what we know
           about our organization?  Does the course of action we have
           chosen take into account our expectations regarding the

     6.    Monitoring and Modification:  Monitor activities and adjust
           strategies, objectives or goals as necessary, on a regular basis.
           Update critical issues assessment to account for changing


     As the first step in a management process, strategic planning needs
to be supported by an integrated management system that ensures
accountability, and continual monitoring of results.  Many strategic
planning efforts derail when it comes to putting them into practice.  When
__^^_^^_^^^^^^^^^^ strategies lack the understanding,
                             support and commitment of key players.
  Strategic planning  means      Qr where organizations are not equipped
  developing a process, and     to implement them, they end up on a
  carrying it through from       shelf> victims of paper rather than living
  conception to results.         processes.  Writing the plan is only one
^_M^__^___H. step; changing the way an organization
                             like EPA does business as a result of
the plan is a much more involved process. It is therefore important to
focus on the process by which strategic planning evolves.

     The following identifies four key components of successful


     Top level involvement and support are crucial to a successful
strategic planning process.  A strong leader  sets the tone for changing
organizational culture, providing clear direction for future accomplishments
and ensuring accountability.  He/she convenes,  and sets the boundaries of.
the strategic planning process.  By consistently  emphasizing the importance
of making choices and setting priorities, top level management can create
conditions conducive to change, and amenable  to taking risks.  This is true
whether the strategic planning effort is being undertaken at the Agency,
Region, program, office, division or branch level.

     The key to successful planning often lies in determining who should
participate and how.  The primary responsibility for developing strategy
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ belongs to those managers directly
                                responsible for implementation. The
  The notion that an            critical role of non_iine staff is to
  effective strategy can be        facilitate the process whereby decision
  constructed by someone in     makers leam to approach their
  an ivory tower is totally        responsibilities strategically.
  bankrupt" Business Week
  9/17/84                         Developing capacity for strategic
^^•^MM^^^^^^^^^^^M thinking is relevant  to individuals  at all
                                levels of the organization.   It is
therefore  important to include a broad spectrum of participants in strategic
planning efforts.  Participation has a large impact  on the quality of
decisions and ownership in them, and  also reduces resistance  to change.
Who has information that would be useful to plan development?  Who has
a stake in implementation?  Who could make the planning effort succeed
or fail? In government organizations,  strategies that call for changes in
policy and operations may require support from outside officials.

      Communicating the purpose, process, and results of the strategic
 plan to the entire organization is key to its success and acceptance.
          	  Recording, tracking, and communicating
                                decisions therefore deserve considerable
                                attention. Everyone in EPA, or in the
                                unit undertaking a strategic plan, needs
                                a broad understanding of why there is a
 »•_«••_•••••••_••••.  strategy, why it is this strategy, and how
                                it affects what the organization does.
 Continual reinforcement of the "strategic thinking" message is critical to
 avoid reverting back to the old way of doing things.  In addition, the focus
 provided by the strategic plan will improve  communication of
 organizational purpose and goals both inside and outside the Agency.
We need a shared
understanding of what we
are doing and why.

      Strategic planning is DYNAMIC, ONGOING, ITERATIVE.  It
therefore requires adjustment, and a hefty dose of stick-to-it-iveness.  Not
only must the leaders of the strategic      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
planning initiative demonstrate constancy
of purpose, but also  they must be openly
amenable to change.   Strategic planning
is not a quick fix: rather it is a patient
and disciplined process for setting a
deliberate course of action.  The process
also must be viewed  as systematic and
                                       With constancy of purpose,
                                       instability and change are
                                       not threats to the strategic
                                       planning process.

                  Exhibit 1
                  to Launch
               Planning Process
               Critical  Issues
                 Goals and
               (Operating Plan)
               and Measuring
                               J Adapted from Bryson. Freeman & Roering. 1000

                         Exhibit 2



              Political. Economic and
                  Social Trends
                             Trends in

EPA's Strategic Planning Process1

      In November 1989, the media offices - Air and Radiation, Water, Solid Waste
and Emergency Response, and Pesticides and Toxic Substances - completed four-year
strategic plans outlining their goals, objectives and activities. These major efforts
brought together managers across each program to discuss future direction, priorities,
and problems.

      The agenda of the  1990 Annual Planning Meeting, held at Easton, MD in late
February 1990, was built almost entirely around the four media strategic plans.   In
addition, Regions 1, 3 and 10 v^re invited to present their  risk-based priorities and the
results of their comparative risk inalyses.  The meeting itself was an important step
toward achieving implementation of the four year plans.  Work groups  for each  media,
made up on managers from national program offices, support offices and regions,
identified high priority areas, which will be  emphasized in the FY 1992 budget.   To
date, this process has provided direction for budget formulation, and for allocating pur
limited resources to the areas of greatest risk and risk reduction potential, as well as a
new context for discussing our budget with  OMB and the Congress.

      The first round  of strategic  planning that the Agency undertook  was designed to
be media based and  to influence the FY 1992 budget.  As we  look toward FY 1993,
the strategic planning process will have broader objectives, and  proceed on three levels:
media planning, support office planning and regional planning.  As strategic planning
develops at the Agency, efforts are continuing on many other levels. We are linking
planning, budgeting and management systems and processes to assure that priorities are
reflected in practice.   We  are developing Agency-wide plans for global  warming and
enforcement, and for other cross-cutting and multi-media issues.  The Agency is  also
re-examining its Annual Guidance  process and program tracking systems to help  them
reflect the  results of  strategic thinking and management.  Broad participation in
strategic planning efforts across the Agency, and coordination among these efforts,  will
be critical to our success.
    1 Past EPA Planning Efforts; Traditionally, planning at EPA  has meant  limited
discussion of long term goals, objectives and measures of progress.  Budgets  are often
developed  on the basis of past years - without systematic review in the context of
environmental priorities, risk, risk reduction potential, and other important Agency themes.
This type of national planning and budgeting may also limit the recognition of region-
specific problems.  It may also unintentionally protect the status quo. Administrator Re illy
is using the strategic planning process to equip EPA to meet the future.


Among those strategic planning initiatives underway and planned are:

o      Refining the media specific plans for greater consistency in the
       comprehensiveness and quality of the media planning efforts, including:

             Fuller development  of strategies for reaching program goals and
             objectives.  These strategies will address the  critical issues that we
             identify that affect each program's ability to  achieve its goals,
             including operational and external constraints.

             More explicit plans  for implementation of strategies, including their
             implications for other EPA offices and regions, states and other
             federal agencies.

             Stronger development of indicators and other measures of
             environmental impact, making explicit how programmatic success
             will be measured.

o      Launching strategic planning for each support office (OARM, ORD, OLA.
       OE, OGC, OPPE, OROSLR,  OCLA, and OCPA) that will take
       advantage of the lessons that the media offices have learned about
       strategic planning to date,  and integrate support office efforts with those
       of each media.  These support office plans will be developed on the same
       schedule as the media plans (i.e., targeted completion by November 30,

o      Identifying regional priorities, recognizing regional differences, and
       involving  the Regions more actively in headquarter's planning process.
       The regional planning process consists of two main  components:
       comparative risk  analysis for priority setting, and strategic planning.
       Regions I, III and X have  completed comparative risk analyses and FY
       1992 operating plans, and will be developing four year strategic plans for
       their highest priority problems. Regions II, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII will
       be completing comparative risk studies by November,  1990, and  will
       identify areas of potential investment and disinvestment for FY 1993
       budget formulation.  These Regions  will follow the  same process as
       Regions L, in and X did in preparing for the last Annual Planning
       Meeting, specifically identifying priority risk reduction  opportunities that
       will not be addressed by the national strategy.  These proposals  shall be
       reviewed  for incorporation into the FY 1993 budget.  Four year strategic
       plans for  highest priority areas will therefore be developed by Regions II,
       IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and DC as part of the FY 1994 cycle.

How does strategic planning tie in with the budget process?

      Exhibit 3 shows how strategic planning is related to the annual budget process,
program accountability, and other components of the EPA management system.  To be
successful, strategic planning must have an impact on the  Agency's resource allocation
decisions. Basically, areas of emphasis and de-emphasis identified during strategic
planning efforts are reflected in program budgets. For 1992, for example, the Deputy
Administrator requested that 1992 budget proposals  be developed that reflect the
program priorities outlined at the Easton Annual Planning Meeting.  Similarly, Regions
I, III and X identified  areas of increased or decreased emphasis that will be reflected
in national program budgets.
How are Regions involved in strategic planning?

      Regional involvement in EPA strategic planning takes place on many levels.
National media programs, for example, have been asked to ensure regional
participation in development of their  plans.  The "Lead Region" mechanism provides a
mechanism for Regions to affect the planning process at Headquarters Regions
themselves are undertaking strategic planning efforts. As described above, these begin
with comparative risk analyses, and then focus on developing strategies for high  risk
areas.  Long term strategies will give  the Regions, states, and local government a
picture of where EPA is headed, and how and when it is going to get there. The goal
is to develop a national strategy with  full regional input.  Once national strategies that
focus on environmental results  and accommodate regional and state concerns have
been developed, Headquarters  should find it easier to provide flexibility for inclusion of
Region-specific high risk priorities where the situation warrants.
How does strategic planning relate to program accountability?

      Because strategic plans are a  statement about the direction an organization -
whether Region, Office, Division, Branch or Agency - has chosen to take, they are
useful in assessing progress.  Quantitative measures of performance should also have
qualitative components, and should be developed to create incentives that bolster
program results, not hinder them. Through a regular process of revisiting the plans,
coupled with the Agency's other program monitoring and evaluation tools, strategic
planning can be translated into results.


                       Exhibit 3
        Internal Assessment
        External Assessment
        Measurable Goals
        Priority Development
        Internal Consensus
        i    Budget
        I  Formulation
                                       I  i      Review
                                       /  • Environmental

      Strategic plans identify goals for a program area, then measurable objectives to
reach "within a certain time period (four years), and indicators by which to measure
progress towards those goals.  Program accountability must deal with both specific
actions taken to positively affect progress towards goals, and the environmental
indicators  which indicate how much progress has  been made.  It is important to kpow
when progress is being made, as well as when strategies or activities undertaken with
the best intentions seem not to make a difference.  This may indicate that the strategy
or activity is flawed,  that more research is needed to establish better indicators, or that
the monitoring  system needs improvement.  Both success and lack of success are
equally important to effective management of EPA.
What is the OPPE role in strategic planning?

      The Deputy Administrator has designated the Strategic Planning and
Management Division to help staff strategic planning across the Agency. This Division
is therefore available to answer questions, provide guidance and technical assistance,
and facilitate the process in whatever way they can.  For example, if a media office
wants to know what part of their previous  plan needs more attention, OPPE can work
with the  media policy office to establish specific needs.  Perhaps a support office wants
advice on what is an appropriate way measurable  objective, or who to contact for help
in developing indicators (which may  be administrative).  OPPE staff can provide the
support office with advice and guidance on how to develop their own approach to
answering these questions.  Maybe a Regional office wants help in developing their
comparative risk study or strategic plan.  OPPE can find appropriate help for them in
the Region, or  provide technical assistance in person.

      In particular, the Planning and Management Branch will serve as  liaison to
National Program Offices in  the development of their strategies. .This branch also
staffs the Agency management systems, and will be instrumental in  reworking these
systems to reflect the results of strategic  planning. The Regional and State Planning
Branch serves as liaison to Regions  and states in the development of risk-based
planning, and its incorporation into Headquarters' budgets.  This branch also assists
Regions  in conducting comparative risk analyses, and will continue to provide guidance
on this subject  The Environmental Results and Forecasting Branch provides technical
assistance to National Programs and other headquarters offices on the development of
indicators for measuiring environmental results.  This branch is also developing
expertise in environmental  forecasting to help guide long-term Agency planning, and
will be assisting Regions in developing indicators in the future.

What is the Agencv-wide plan, and isn't it redundant with other efforts?

       EPA is engaged in an Agency-wide planning process that is occurring on a
number of different levels.  The development of a specific Agency-wide plan is
currently under consideration.  One view of the Agency-wide  plan is that it is several
things  rolled into one.  First, it will articulate a vision  for the Agency, and provide an
overarching framework for the planning efforts of program offices, support offices and
Regions, to: a shared mission that will motivate our activities  into the next century.   It
will be a statement of overarching goals, and summarize the highest priority
environmental problem areas, and media strategies. It will also be a vehicle for
considering multi-office environmental problems,  such as Climate Change and
Groundwater, which might not be adequately addressed otherwise.  Finally, it will be a
concise summary of agency directions and policies that will be used  for broad
discussion and support inside and outside the Agency with our various stakeholders.

How long should our strategic plan be?

       The Deputy Administrator has asked that  plans be limited to approximately 20
pages per AAship — the purpose of strategic planning is to set priorities for future
action, not to produce a lengthy treatise.  Each strategic plan should be only as long as
it needs to be to get its message across.
Do we have to rewrite our strategic plan every year?

      Absolutely not.   The Administrator wants to have strategic plans developed
more comprehensively and consistently across the Agency. This may take two or three
attempts to get different parts of the Agency together on the same effort the same
year.  Those  parts which have been completed and fulfill general 'needs of a strategic
plan need only be updated annually by a systematic review by senior managers.  The
media offices already have most parts of their strategic plans established, and need only
revise certain areas or fill in some missing  pieces.  The support offices and  some
Regional offices will be joining the media offices in this year's cycle.  Afterwards, the
Administrator may decide that other support offices, Regional offices, or special
programs may join the previous ones in developing strategic plans.  Once everyone is
on the same wavelength, the Administrator may determine that the plans do not need
annual updates as much as there needs to  be clear annual operating guidance to
implement  the longer term plans.  When the four  or more year cycle is over, then the
Administrator may decide a whole new effort is needed, or at least the plans need
updating to their new timeframe.

How will states and the general public be involved?

      This is a question to which all the answers have  not been worked out yet.  The
Agency serves several publics: Congress, state and local governments, the business
community, environmental groups, and the general  public.  From the CEO of a major
corporation to a housewife, from the director of a state environmental agency to an
Earth Day volunteer, we all have an interest in and concern  about the environment.
We want to provide for the involvement of all interested parties in an appropriate way,
and our strategy for doing this is currently being developed.  We welcome your
You mentioned Congress. What does Congress say about EPA's strategic planning

      The Administrator has kept Congress informed of our strategic planning work.
In particular, he has discussed our approach to addressing environmental problems by
their comparative risks, and  targeting our scarce resources towards those high priority
problems with the greatest risk reduction potential.  Congressional committee members
have expressed their strong support for this approach, and are interested to learn
more.  The Administrator is very hopeful that this strategic planning approach will help
address concerns about Agency direction, while garnering broader support from


       An organization undertakes strategic planning to define its mission, establish
goals, set priorities, and develop and implement strategies for achieving those goals. At
EPA, strategic planning is taking place on many levels: the organizational unit
undertaking strategic planning may be large, such as an entire agency, program or
regional office, or small, such as a branch or division.  Regardless of the size of the
planning unit, the strategic planning process moves through the same series of steps,
depicted in  Exhibit 1:

       o     Decide  to launch strategic planning, and "plan the planning".

       o     Define organizational purpose, or mission:  What services does it offer?
             What is its business?

       o     Identify and assess the critical issues affecting organizational performance.
             Evaluate both internal and external influences, and modify mission if
             necessary.  What are our organization's strengths and weaknesses?
             Opportunities and threats?  Who are our clients? Major stakeholders?
             Supporters? Detractors?

       o     Articulate goals (to accomplish mission), and objectives (shorter term
             components of goals).

       o     Develop strategies/options/approaches to meet goals and objectives:  What
             alternatives are available for each service we wish to provide?  What mix
             of activities is optimal?

       o     Decide which approach to pursue, and determine the specific activities
             necessary  to do so.

       o     Monitor results and modify plan where  necessary.

In addition  to the descriptions below, the Strategic Planning and Management Division
is developing materials  to help facilitate each of these steps.
Plan the
      Begin with an effort to "plan the planning".  This is an important step to
develop consensus among an organization's leaders regarding the purpose of the plan,
and to provide participants with a working definition of strategic planning, a clear sense
of what it involves, and a preliminary timetable.


      Strategic planning embraces a range of approaches that vary in applicability to
the public sector and EPA.  It is NOT a single concept, procedure or tool.  The
emphases of an Agency-wide plan will differ from those of regional, program, or office
plans.   The process for a nascent program will differ substantially from that of a
mature  one.  A strategic plan will also vary according to the objectives of its
formulators.  Strategic planning can involve major change.  If leaders of the strategic
planning process are only willing  to entertain minor variations on existing themes,
strategic planning is probably  a waste  of time.

      There are important  lessons to  be learned from beginning strategic planning
from scratch and then adding reality's  constraints.  For example, programs might reach
a better understanding of their barriers to  progress.  Strategic planning that ignores
boundaries set by legislation and organizational structure may be  better suited to newly
emerging programs, and to  programs approaching reauthorization.

      At EPA, organizational units do not always have sole responsibility for
addressing discrete  environmental problems.  It therefore may be difficult for these
organizations to adopt purely problem-based approaches to strategic planning.  For
example, global warming falls under the jurisdiction of numerous offices at EPA;
several  offices within and outside the Office  of Water deal with non-point source
pollution; and multiple parties in the Office  of Air and Radiation work on toxic air
pollutants.  While cross-cutting issues  are of growing importance and interest to EPA
and its  constituents, the institution is more likely to respond to a strategic planning
approach that is organized  around existing programs.  Nevertheless, program oriented
plans need to be explicit about the problems they are intended to address, and plans
that are      organized around particular environmental problems should consider
programmatic constraints as well. In any case, well developed communication and
coordination across the Agency is essential.

       The mission statement, which describes an organization's business in broad and
 timeless  terms, serves as the focal point for the entire plan.  It addresses what the
 organization intends to do, and for whom, and specifies the major philosophical
 premises that drive operations.  The rest of the strategic planning process flows from
 the mission statement, which serves to integrate the different elements of both the
 organization and the plan.  Mission statements vary in length and complexity, ranging
 from a few sentences to several paragraphs.  Because they provide focus, they are
 generally quite brief.

       A shared sense of mission is important to  an organization for a number of


reasons.  It enables members of an organization to focus their energies, and provides a
point of reference for major decisions.  It ensures consistency of purpose, and helps
gain support of individuals and groups outside of the organization  who are important to

       The first step toward developing a shared mission statement is to identify those
individuals who will participate in its development.  Typically, this  group is drawn  from
an organization's top management.  This group meets to discuss the format and
components of the mission statement.

       There are several questions that could form the basis for  discussions of the
mission statement:

       o     Why do we (Agency, division or branch; the organization developing the
             strategic  plan) exist?  What is our purpose?

       o     What are our services and products?

       o     What problems do  we seek to address?

       o     What will our services and products be in the future?

       o     How might the organization change?

       o     What are our philosophy and core values?

The  mission statement meeting may either begin from scratch, or managers may each
be asked  to think about the above questions in advance, and draft  mission statements
that  then  serve as the  basis for discussion. Once drafted, the mission statement should
be circulated for comment.

Identification and Assessment of Critical Issues

       In  this step in the strategic planning process, participants identify and evaluate
factors both internal and external to the organization that might  affect its future,
referred to here as critical issues assessment  Also referred to, with slight variations, as
an environmental scan, situation analysis, critical factor analysis,  and SWOT (strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, threats), this analysis allows us to develop an understanding
of our organization,  the environment in which it must function, and the issues that
affect its performance  - all crucial information to planning for the future.

       There are two fundamental parts  of critical issues assessment:


      o     External Scan: Begin the critical issues assessment by examining the
            outside world.  Who are our clients? Major stakeholders? Supporters?
            Detractors?  What are the opportunities available to our organization?
            What threatens our future success? This analysis might factor in public
            opinion, political agendas, legal mandates and projected environmental
            and economic conditions, and make explicit other expectations regarding
            the future.  For example, the critical issues assessment could reflect shifts
            over time in EPA's regulatory mandate.

      o     Internal Scan:  Then consider internal aspects of the organization that
            affect  its ability to act. What are our organization's strengths and
            weaknesses?  This analysis might address resource constraints, leadership,
            organizational culture, policy consensus, attitudes toward change, staff
            capacity, etc.

In both cases,  ask:

      o     What  are the critical issues that affect our  performance?

      o     Which elements of the current  internal and external environment are
            most important?

      o     Which elements are likely to  facilitate or impede consensus or problem

      o     What  forces are at work that might change the environment in which we

      o     How might future forces change the nature of the issue at hand?

Collecting and evaluating information to help understand the factors that influence our
organization, depicted in Exhibit 2, is perhaps the most time-consuming part of the
strategic  planning process. Careful identification and assessment of critical issues allows
the organization to identify those factors that are most important to address in the
strategic  plan.

       Goals are general statements of what an organization must accomplish to
achieve its mission.  They are generally stated in broad and timeless terms, and may
describe, for example, prospective levels of attainment (e.g., to substantially reduce


automobile emissions) or conditions to be pursued (e.g., to promote technology
transfer).  Goals portray where the organization wants to be in the future.  From this
point, the strategic plan works backwards to determine what needs to transpire in the
short term (objectives and activities).

       Goals are developed from careful review of the mission statement, and modified
to reflect the findings of the critical issues assessment.  They should be few: according
to one strategic planning expert, three to six goals is plenty. Too many goals can
diffuse organizational focus and impede the achievement of its mission.

       To develop goals that are attainable and of use to the  organization, it is useful
to keep in mind the  following questions:

       o     Is the goal measurable and verifiable?

       o     Is the goal feasible?

       o     Is the goal flexible?

       o     Is the goal consistent with the rest of the strategic plan?

       o     Is the goal consistent with our knowledge about  what other parts  of the
             organization are trying to achieve?


       Objectives are short term accomplishments that contribute to realizing each goal
• for example,  if the  goal is to reduce emissions, an objective might be to reduce
industrial emissions by 10% in two years.  When formulating objectives, the following
questions might prove useful:

       o     Will achieving the objectives help to  achieve the goal?

       o     Are the objectives measurable?

       o     What time constraints should the  objectives involve?

       o     Can activities be developed for each  objective?

       Like other parts of strategic planning, goals and objectives need to be
developed, or at least actively endorsed, by the organization's leaders. These managers
might be presented with a set of proposed goals to stimulate their  thinking prior to


meeting to develop them further.  It is possible for the development of objectives to
necessitate modifying goals.

      Strategic options, approaches, or simply, strategies, describe an organization's
overall approach  to achieving its mission, goals and objectives. For example, a few
general strategies for protecting sensitive lands might be to promulgate new regulations.
enforce existing ones, provide public information, or some combination thereof. These
options identify what the organization can do  to meet the challenges it will face in the
future.  They are at the heart or ?.ne strategic planning  process, for they point to
fundamental policy choices that Tie organization must make regarding its future

      There is not a one-to-one :orrespondence of goals and objectives to strategies.
For example, it may be possible :o have a strategy that addresses numerous objectives.
Careful assessment of an organization's strengths and weaknesses, and factors that
effect the probability of its success (see critical issues assessment, above) inform the
choice among strategic options.

       Developing an explicit strategy forces managers to consider how external events
and trends, and internal characteristics, could  affect the organization in the future.
Without these  options, managers are more likely to overlook  obstacles that might
stymie attainment of goals.

       Among  the questions that might be useful in developing strategies are:

       o     What are the policy options available to us?  (This is an opportunity to
             think creatively about alternatives).

       o     What are the likely pitfalls inherent in each option if it is chosen?

       o     What are the likely benefits of each?

       Activities are specific programmatic actions and tactics that are implied by each
strategy, and undertaken to achieve goals and objectives.  Together, activities comprise
an operating plan.

       The following questions may facilitate the development of activities:

       o     Given your choice of strategy (i.e., to build state capacity), what specific
             actions are required to achieve each objective?

       o     Who is responsible for each activity?

       o     What resources are available to ensure follow-through?

       o     How will progress be monitored?

       o     Do the activities achieve the  objective? Do they reflect the organization's
             strategic choices?

Monitoring. Follow-Up and Modification

       Measures, or environmental indicators, provide a means of tracking progress,
and of modifying components of the plan to reflect changes in operating environment.
They identify problem areas, and can be used to communicate program
accomplishments.  Measures demonstrate the link between an organization's activities
and its mission.  The most useful indicators, admittably difficult  to develop,
demonstrate a causal relationship between  EPA actions and environmental results.
STARS is one method that EPA uses to measure success.

       Answering the following questions can help refine a list of proposed measures:

       o     What information that could  measure progress is currently being

       o     Is this information readily accessible in a form matching the organization's
             needs? Are data available consistently across regions?

       o     Will data be available over time?

       o     Are data accurate, precise and complete?

       o     Where data is not available, can it be collected without excessively
             burdening its source?

       o     How might measures unexpectedly influence behavior?  For example, will
             a critical aspect of a program that is not measured be ignored?

      o      How much will it cost? How long will the measure take to develop?

      o      What are  our constituents looking for to show our progress?

      Follow-up, including sound environmental indicators, periodic monitoring and
other activities, is necessary to assure that the plan is implemented, and that it is
altered over time to reflect changing realities.  Without a concerted follow-up, the
strategic  plan is likely to stray off course, be forgotten, or simply sit on a shelf.  The
planning process should be  repeated every few years  to incorporate changes to the
organization's internal and external environment.  Many organizations update their
plans annually.


Deputy Administrator  issues "next  steps" call letter and

OPPE provides additional guidance to program offices, other
headquarters offices, and regions.
June &
Media offices, cross-cutting offices and regions
begin planning cycle.

Technical assistance available from OPPE.
Cross-cutting offices and regions work with program offices to
ensure consistency.
September 30
Drafts of program office, other headquarters office and Regions
I, III and X strategic plans, and Regions II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII
and  DC preliminary rankings due to Deputy Administrator.
November 30       Strategic plans and regional rankings due.

January 15
Implications of strategic plans for FY 1993 program priorities
February 25
Annual planning meeting.

                     EPA STRATEGIC PLANS

I.    Mission Statement
II.   Critical Issues Assessment
III.   Goals and Objectives
IV.   Strategies and Policy Options
V.   Environmental Indicators
*  For details regarding each of these basic components, please refer to the
attached overview and contact OPPE's Strategic Planning and Management
Division (382-5449) for additional materials and information.

                        STRATEGIC PLANNING
                       SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
 Books and Articles

 Bryson,  John M.,  Strategic Planning for Public  and Non-Profit
 Organizations:  A  Guide to Strengthening and  Sustaining
 Organizational  Achievement.   San  Francisco:  Jossey-Basee
 Publishers,  1989.

 	,  "A Strategic Planning Process for  Public and Non-Profit
 Organizations", Long  Range Planning.  February 1988.

 	 and Robert C.  Einsweiler,  Strategic Planning;  Threats
 and  Opportunities  for Planners.   Chicago and Washington,  D.C.:
 American Planning  Association Planners  Press, 1988.

 	 and William  D. Roering,  "Applying Strategic  Planning in
 the  Public Sector", American  Planning Association  Journal.
 winter,  1987, pp.  9-22.

 Catoline,  James E., "Getting  at Strategic Change",  Training and
 Development  Journal.  November 1989, pp.  74-78.

 Cook,  Lauren, Anticipating Tomorrow's Issues; A Handbook for
 Policy Makers. Washington, D.C.:  Council of  State  Policy and
 Planning Agencies, 1988.

 "Crystal Balls-up: Whatever Happened  to Strategic  Planning",  The
 Economist. February 4,  1989,  p. 67.

 Eadie, Douglas C., "  Putting  a Powerful  Tool in Practical Use:
 The Application of Strategic  Planning in the Public Sector,
 Public Administration Review. September/October 1983,  pp. 447-

 Gair,  Robert  B., "Back  to  the Future: Strategic Planning",  The
 Bureaucrat.  Spring 1987, pp.  7-10.

 Gluck, Frederick, "Strategic  Management: An Overview",  in James
 Gardner  et al.. Handbook of Strategic Planning. 1986.

 Halachmi, Arie, "Strategic Planning and Management? Not
 Necessarily", Public  Productivity Review. Winter 1986,  pp.  35-50.

 Haney, Glenn, "IRM in the  Federal Government: Opinions  and
 Reflections", Information Management  Review. Spring 1989, pp. 39-

Howard, James S. and  John  Emery,  "Strategic  Planning  Keeps  You
Ahead  of the Pack", D&B Reports. March/April 1985,  pp.  18ff.

 Karagozoglu, Necmi, and Ragnor Seglund,  "Strategic Planning for a
 Public Sector Enterprise", Long Range Planning. Vol.  22,  No.  2,
 1989,  pp. 121-125.

Kaufman, Jerome L. and Harvey M. Jacobs,  "A Public Planning
Perspective on Strategic Planning",  American Planning Association
Journal. Winter, 1987, pp. 23-33.

Kenny, Graham K. et al.. "Strategic Decision Making:  Influence
Patterns in Public and Private Sector Organizations", Human
Relations. Vol. 40, No. 9, 1987, pp. 613-632.

Kiechel, Walter III, "Corporate Strategists Under Fire", Fortune,
December 27, 1982, pp. 34-39.

King, William R.,  "Strategic Planning in Nonprofit
Organizations", in Gerald Zaltman, ed.,  Management Principles for
Nonprofit Agencies. AMACOM, 1979.

Landy, Marc K., Marc J. Roberts and Stephen R. Thomas, The
Environmental Protection Agency: Asking the Wrong Questions.  New
York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Miller, Gerald, et al.. "Strategy, Values and Productivity",
Public Productivity Review. Fall, 1987.,  pp. 81-96.

Montari, John R. and Jeffrey S. Bracker,  "The Strategic
Management Process at the Public Planning Unit Level", Strategic
Management Journal. Vol. 7, 1986, pp. 251-265.

Mushkat, Miron, " Improving the Prospects for Plan Acceptance in
Public Organizations", Long Range Planning. Vol. 20, No. 1, 1987,
pp. 52-66.

	, "Towards Non-Incremental Strategic in Developing  Public
Products and Services", European Journal of Marketing. Vol. 21,
No. 1, 1987, pp. 66-73.

"The New Breed of Strategic Planner", BusinessWeek.  September 17,
1984, pp. 62-68.

Nutt, Paul C. and Robert W. Backoff,  "A Strategic Management
Process for Public and Third Sector Organizations",  American
Planning Association Journal. Winter, 1987, pp. 44-57.

Pflaum, Ann M. and Timothy J. Delmont, "External Scanning  - A
Tool for Planners", American Planning Association Journal.
Winter, 1987  , pp. 58-68.

Richanbach, Paul H., and  Frederick  R. Riddell,  "Strategic
Management and the Management of  Participation", Alexandria, VA:
Institute for Defense  Analyses,  1989  (unpublished).

Ring, Peter Smith, and James  L.  Perry, "Strategic  Management  in
Public and Private Organizations: Implications  of  Distinctive
Contexts and  Constraints", Academy  of Management Review. Vol.  10,
No. 2, 1985,  pp.  276-286.

So, Frank, "Strategic  Planning:  Reinventing the Wheel",  Planning.
February  1984,  PP.  16-21.

 Stanford Research Institute,  Alternative Futur?fi
 Environmental Policy Making.  1975-2000.  October 1975.

 Steiner,  G«orge A.,  Strategic Planning;  What Every Manager Must
 Know.  New York: The  Free Press.

 Titens,  Sherman Jay,  "All the Right Moves",  Association and
 society  Manager.  October/November 1987,  pp.  12-17.

 U.S.  Department of the Interior,  U.S.  Geological Surveym
 "Mission,  Goals and  Authorities  of the U.S.  Geological Survey",

 U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency,  internal  documents,
 memoranda and notes  regarding strategic  planning,  program
 evaluation,  management systems,  operational  planning,  etc.

 Waddock,  Sandra,  "Core Strategy:  End Result  of  Restructuring",
 Business  Horizons. May/June 1989,  pp. 49-55.

 Walter,  Susan,  and Pat Choate, Thinking  Strategically; A Primer
 for Public Leaders.   Washington,  D.C.: The Council of  State
 Planning  Agencies, 1984.

 Weschsler,  Barton and Robert  W.  Backoff,  "The Dynamics of
 Strategy  in  Public Organizations",  American  Planning Association
 Journal .  Winter 1987,  pp.  34-42.

 Wold,  Geoffrey,  "Information  Systems Planning",  Government
 Finance Review. June,  1989, pp.  23-26.


 Harrell, Jim,  Deputy  Administrator,  Planning and Evaluation
       , Public  Health Service
Leone, Robert, Boston University School of Management

Muller, Kit, International Of., Div. Planning,  BLM/ Interior

Richanbach, Paul, Institute  for Defense Analyses

Smith, Ti«, Chief, Planning  Branch, USGS/Interior

Souby, JBMS, Executive Director, Council of  state Planning

Stockman, Robert, Strategic  Planner, NOAA/ Commerce

Witham, Don, Chief, Strategic Planning Unit,  FBI

Numerous U.S. EPA staff

                                       •6U.S. GOVERNMENT PUNTING OFFICE: 1*92 - 650-227