Type: Management
Pages: 4 | Words: 973
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Strategic planning is a key aspect in management that aids the management in managing the effects of turbulent environment may have on an organization. Considerably, successful organizations must have clear plans for the future; these plans help the firm to identify, evaluate and adapt to the changing needs and requirements of its various customers and environment. In addition to strategic planning, effective and efficient organizations have contingency plans which are critical in the event of a crisis when control is elusive. Any organization without a contingency plan is basically left to the mercy of the catastrophe regardless of the manner in which it occurs (Conrow, 2003). Contingency plans are the alternative plans that are effected specifically when certain key events in an organization do not occur as expected. Similarly, they are alternative preparations considered when unexpected situations occur, particularly those not included in the strategic plan like disasters and other drastic changes. Contingency planning is a 7-step process that must conclusively be undertaken in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. This paper will describe the 7-steps contingency planning process in an outpatient surgical center and how these steps will be addressed at the center.

In order for any organization to develop focused and practical contingency plans the help of all people involved in that organization is mandatory. Managers together with their employees must actively participate in identifying key processes and operations necessary to guarantee long-term survival of the organization. The clear and straightforward approach to the 7-step contingency planning process is described in the following seven steps.

Seven Steps of Contingency Planning Process

1. Identify both the benefits and unfavorable events:

this step compels the management as well as employees to analyze worst case scenarios. This step allows a firm to identify uncommon events that are likely to occur. Undertaking this step in a surgical center places the leadership in a better position to deal with unexpected outcome. Different adverse effects can be foreseen and countermeasures to be undertaken via analytical thoughts. Thus, the contingency step that identifies the benefits and shortcomings of a surgical center can reduce indecision, uncertainties and delays whenever an unusual event occurs.

2. Specify trigger points:

these are basically the instances when a potential risk should be reviewed and the instance when the contingent actions should be effected. Owing to this fact, the surgical center management will be able to know when potential risk events are likely to occur particularly by expanding the definition of the disaster. For example, in case of the power outage there should be an immediate alternative power supply.

3. Assess the impact and estimate the potential benefit or harm:

the organization should also consider the occurrence of critical events and the immediate actions that should follow to address the prevailing situation. In this regard, there is need to understand the relationship between the technical aspects of the organization and people. The hospital operations are in most cases halted during emergencies and therefore thinking a head and preparing for these worst-case-scenarios will ultimately help the surgical center to proceed with its operations. For example, in case a patient develops critical conditions that require inpatient services, transport services should be available to ferry the patient to a full capacity hospital.

4. Develop contingency plans:

the center should now develop contingency plans that are compatible with its current strategy and must also be economically feasible. Therefore, the contingency plans should be simple to allow easy implementation when the need arises. Communication is imperative at this stage because contingency plans are implemented during the time of destruction. In the same line of argument, the surgical center must anticipate the likelihood of operational inefficiencies during disaster and the associated extra costs. In every aspect of contingency the operations rarely work out as predetermined and thus managers will be compelled to think in terms of possible outcomes instead of the most likely results.

5. Assess the counter-impacts:

at this point, the surgical center management will estimate how much each contingency will capitalize on or mitigate the associated scenario. In this regard, the center will be able to quantify each contingency plan and thus aid in strengthening the planning process. As a matter of fact, some items that may have been left out prior to planning of contingencies will surface and hence also be budgeted for.

6. Determine and monitor early warning signals:

the organization must develop advanced action plans in order to take advantage of the available lead time. It should be noted that relying only on specific measures may not lead the company into making the right decision. The center must always remain alert and cautious in order to easily and effectively identify the occurrence of any disaster. Consequently, the hospital is in a position to address the crisis without compromising its primary mandate.

7. Communicate and rehearse:

after developing the contingency program, it is vital for the surgical center to communicate to all members of the organization informing them of their specific roles and responsibilities in the plan. Employees in various operation sectors must be trained on how to deal with backup plans. During this stage, any missed shortcomings within the contingency program will be identified in time and hence necessary changes and improvements made. Such a contingency program is vital in rationally responding to unplanned events within the organization.


In conclusion, contingency plans are developed to help any company foresee or rather predict the occurrence of later events both good and bad which might have substantial effect on the organization. As stated earlier, contingency plans are the alternative plans that are effected specifically when certain key events in an organization do not work as expected. The above described seven steps gives a clear process involved in developing contingency plans for an outpatient surgical center. Following these steps, the management will be able to develop backup plans for addressing any unexpected events. 

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