Between planning and implementation, Nelson House Medicine Lodge strategic planning process

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Yetman, Theresa Elizabeth
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Literature reveals the importance of assessing actual program operations which has been underscored in a large number of studies that have appeared ove the past two decades. Studies show significant discrepancies can exist between the design/intended outcomes of a program and its actual implementation (Mayne & Hudson (1992, p 13)). Patton (1986) makes the same observation inasmuch as it is important to know the extent to which a program is effective after it is properly implemented, but to answer that question, it is first necessary to know the extent to which the program was, indeed, properly implemented (p 125). This issue was faced at the Nelson House Medicine Lodge (NHML) a northern Manitoba NNADAP Treatment Centre. In this setting, several years of annual strategic planning exercises were observed to have mixed success in terms of actual implementation. This practicum explored the phenomenon of "slippage" between planning and implementation within the NHML. The central question asked was "what factorscontribute to or inhibit the implementation of strategic plans?" The question was applied to four agency goals identified in the strategic planning process. This is their story. Evaluation findings point to five chief determinants of successful implementation of strategic planning, all of which have some support in the literature. They are: (1) a training component, using internal and external expertise for delivery; (2) the involvement and commitment of staff; (3) team meetings, team effort and interagency networking; (4) progress monitoring and accountability; and (5) staff performance.