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Insights into a strategic planning process – The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG)


strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) was established in 2008 and is a membership-based organization, dedicated to encouraging “co-responsibility in Abu Dhabi to ensure that government entities, business and not for profit organizations are all partners in working towards achieving the goal of economic, environmental and social sustainability,” as they explain in the “From reporting to action” strategy report. ADSG’s main purpose is to guide its member organizations towards adopting and utilizing best practices in terms of strategy management and reporting. A host to both private, and public sector organizations, the most notable members of the ADSG, are:
  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)
  • Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA)
  • Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi (DED)
  • Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD)
  • Aramex Abu Dhabi
  • Dolphin Energy (Dolphin)
  • Etihad Airways
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD)
The mission statement of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group is directed at “promoting sustainability management in Abu Dhabi by providing learning and knowledge sharing opportunities for government, private and not for profit organizations in a spirit of cooperation and open dialogue.” This ambitious mission that has been established is supported by seven main services that ADSG provides to its member organizations:
  1. Improving knowledge (through a portal, a newsletter, publications and seminars);
  2. Developing capabilities (through training, one-on-one support, and benchmarking);
  3. Sharing experience (through forums and meetings);
  4. Facilitating Advocacy (through flagship programs);
  5. Building networks (through partnerships with local and international organizations);
  6. Expanding the member network (through outreach activities);
  7. Reporting performance (through the group’s various forums and an annual report).
To reinforce the mission of the organization, ADSG has also established a set of values that are dedicated to transmitting the right message towards all of their stakeholders, primarily towards their employees and members. strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group In the above picture we can observe that Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group followed best practices in terms of establishing and communicating their values. All three corporate values are accompanied by a definition and a set of ‘Principles’ which provide clarity and purpose to the organization’s values. Due to the fact that ADSG is a membership based organization and that the bulk of their services and operations are conducted through partnerships with their members and other stakeholders, the next logical step in their strategic planning process was to have a clear picture of the current status regarding their relationship with their stakeholders. To this scope, they have developed a Stakeholder Analysis, a tool dedicated to providing an overview of the different stakeholders together with their contribution or impact to areas that ADSG tries to focus on, by establishing strategic objectives.strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group To facilitate the understanding of this relationship, the stakeholder analysis is grouped into six columns: Stakeholder, Why we engage? Priority issues for ADSG, Priority issues for stakeholder, Our Response. In the above picture we can observe in detail the relationship between the ADSG and their members by analyzing the information provided in a structured manner. Following the stakeholder analysis, the next step in formulating the ADSG strategy was to analyze the external and internal environment of the entity. When an organization is going through the process of strategic planning, one key step is scanning its external environment, in order to “take into consideration the business environment in which we operate”, as mentioned by ADSG in their report. To serve this purpose, they have deployed the use of a PESTLE, or PESTEL analysis. This technique involves scanning the external macro environment of the organization and identifying the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors that will influence the achievement of ADSG’s strategy. strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability GroupThe above image illustrates the Political and Economic factors identified by ADSG and provides comments that stakeholders can review in order to understand the political and economic developments that may affect the operations of the organization. By building on the PESTLE analysis, ADSG proceed further in their strategic planning process by analyzing the internal environment of the organization. To this scope, a SWOT analysis was conducted. strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, which are, as ADSG mentions, “the key internal and external factors that could help or hinder us from achieving our objectives”. The steps undergone up until this point represent the prerequisite steps for formulating a clear strategic framework for ADSG. The results and insights gathered by following these aforementioned steps have provided the basis for creating the main strategic direction of ADSG, which is represented in the below image, through its Strategic Goals. strategic planning - The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group The established goals follow best practice recommendations in terms of standardization as each goal starts with a verb. In the above image we can also see the company’s Vision and Mission statement which represent the desired state of the organization, and the manner in which ADSG will reach its desired state. In terms of recommendations for next steps, breaking down the Strategic Goals of the company in more specific Objectives is seen as a good approach. These objectives would then be clustered and graphically represented in a Strategy Map, a visual representation of an organization’s strategy, highlighting the strategic objectives of an organization together with the cause and effect argumentations, linked within the four perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard. Curios of assessing your company’s strategic planning maturity level? In that case, we highly recommend using our GPA Unit free tool for strategic planning audit.                                                                                           References: Image Sources:  
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