priority_setting_tools

priority_setting_tools - Priority Setting Resources...

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Page 1 of 17 Priority Setting Resources Selected Background Information and Techniques Michael W. Duttweiler Cornell Cooperative Extension Cornell University 383 Roberts Hall Ithaca, New York 14853 October 2007 Updated November 2008
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Page 2 of 17 CONTENTS Background Page Why It Is Hard for Organizations to Set Priorities 3 Dealing with Barriers to Priority Setting 4 Priority Setting Under Fire 6 Priority Setting Approaches D e c i s i o n M a t r i c e s 9 P a i r e d C o m p a r i s o n s 1 2 Multi-Voting 13 Strategy Grids/Getting Ahead By Letting Go 14 Levels of Programming 17
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Why It’s Hard for Organizations to Set Priorities There are many reasons why most organizations find it difficult to establish and abide by specific priorities. This now dated quote from Peter Drucker (1973) links this shortcoming to the nature of support for public organizations. It still rings true. “Being dependent on a budget allocation mitigates against setting priorities and concentrating efforts, yet nothing is ever accomplished unless scarce resources are concentrated on a small number of priorities. … To obtain its budget, it needs the approval, or at least the acquiescence, of practically everybody who remotely could be considered a constituent. … Being budget-based makes it even more difficult to abandon the wrong things, the old, the obsolete. … The temptation is great, therefore, to respond to lack of results by redoubling efforts.” Bryson (1988) outlined four broad areas which present barriers to effective strategic planning which seem directly reflected in the challenges we find in setting program priorities. The four barriers (adapted) are: 1. The Human Problem – difficulty in focusing the attention of key people on key issues, decisions, conflicts, and policies. The challenge is to establish the imperative of organization priority setting, asking people to set aside specific interests until the broader framework is developed. 2. The Process Problem – managing information and ideas throughout the priority setting process. A key challenge is to develop support for the product throughout the process. 3. The Structural Problem – management of part/whole relationships. For us, the challenge is to arrive at Association-wide priorities that reflect consistent interpretation of mission and goals. We have done fairly well setting priorities within program areas but across programs…. . 4. The Institutional Problem – translating priorities into action This entails assuring follow through on changes reflected in the new priorities. See the next two pages for suggestions on how to overcome these barriers. References: Bryson, J.M. 1988. Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations . Sage Publ. Drucker, P.F. 1973
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priority_setting_tools - Priority Setting Resources...

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