What are KSI's?
Before I answer that question, what I really want to discuss is how you choose the right strategies when you are planning. You’ve probably taken some time off and wrote your Vision, Mission and Values Statement; you’ve probably brainstormed your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and worked out your goals for the year. But now, how do you choose between all the ideas to find the most critical strategies?
That’s where your KSI’s come in.
"KSI" stands for Key Strategic Issues.
They are “Key” because the particular issue is key to your strategic plan’s success. Your plan may have to deal with a lot of issues, but "Key" strategic issues are those that must be dealt with in order for the rest of the plan to be achievable. For example, if you plan to introduce new services, while you may have to contend with issues such as hiring new staff and finding physical office space, a "Key" issue may be obtaining funding. Without funding, you cannot do all those other things you need to do in order to introduce the new services.
They are “Strategic” because they are big-picture issues that sit on top of a pyramid – fix this Key Strategic Issue and you fix a whole lot of smaller issues. During your planning workshop, you may have identified a number of key issues you need to address, such as obtaining funding for the new service, meeting members' calls for the new service, and ensuring members get the new service efficiently. However, obtaining funding and creating the service is the strategic issue, because if you obtain funding, and start the new service, then members' needs will be met and the efficiency can be built into the design.
So Key Strategic Issues are those problems that you must resolve in order for the rest of your strategic plan to be achieved.
These are the steps you need to take to create meaningful and effective strategies.
First, during your planning discussions, ensure that you conduct a SWOT or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis.
From this analysis, ask yourself what are the implications of each strength, weakness, opportunity or threat to your organisation. Then decide the issues you have to deal with in your planning, as revealed by this analysis.
Second, review the list of issues and rank them on two scales. First, rank them from 0 to 10 where 10 has the most impact, what the impact of the issue will be on the organisation if not resolved. Then rank them again from 0 to 10 on how much each issue will affect the achievement of your vision.
This ranking should show you the most important or "key" issues arising from your analysis, where obviously an issue ranking 10,10 is the most important.
Third, consider for each of the top 50% of the most important issues, what the resolution of each will solve amongst the other issues on the list? If in resolving one, that resolves a number of other issues, then that issue becomes a "strategic" issue.
Compile the top 20% of the issues that are, firstly, most important, and secondly, of a strategic nature.
In most cases, you should not end up with more than 5 or 6 Key Strategic Issues.
The next step is to consider what the effect of not resolving the KSI's will have on the organisation. There may be 1 to 3 effects per KSI.
Then ask yourself what would happen if indeed you did resolve the KSI. Again there may be 1 to 3 positive effects per KSI.
Then you focus on the potential effects revealed and formulate strategies for resolving the KSI that will eliminate the negative effects and reinforce the positive effects. Once you know your KSI’s you can create winning strategies and from those strategies, tactics and action plans.
In my 30 years' experience of working with Indigenous organisations, I have found this to be the most effective way of breaking through the usual "To_Do" list that passes for strategy. Using KSI's clarifies what strategies you need in order to achieve your goals because the KSI's are at the top of the tree when you consider what you must do.
If you want to know more about the use of KSI's in your strategic planning, or if you need any help on planning, why not contact me for a no-obligation discussion via my email at or call me at OTS Management on 08 9242 2085.
I hope to hear from you soon.