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Consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and      challenges related to your Capstone Project agency, organization, or      community. 

Assignment: Capstone Project Part III: Strategic Issues

After the needs assessment has been completed, the next element of the strategic plan involves developing the strategic issues. Key tasks associated with the strategic issues include conducting a gap analysis, performing an environmental scan, and developing stakeholder surveys. The actions are performed so that you can conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORUNITIES, and THREATS. A SWOT analysis is used to help an agency, organization, or community better understand the business and environment in which it operates. The goal of developing strategic issues is to list or map out all of the strengths and weaknesses, and then to do the same for all of the opportunities and threats. This helps the organization to identify a strategy for planning. Opportunities that match the strengths are things that should be pursued. Threats that particularly align with weaknesses should be especially avoided when developing a strategic plan.
For this Assignment, you complete a SWOT analysis for your Capstone Project agency, organization, or community.

To prepare:

  • Review Final Project: Developing a Strategic Plan      –S.W.O.T Analysis media in the Weekly Resources.
  • Consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and      challenges related to your Capstone Project agency, organization, or      community.
  • Think about the environmental factors you might review      in preparation for addressing the strategic issues component for your      Capstone Project. The environmental factors may include: political,      economic, demographic, regulatory, philanthropic, donor trends, and other      organizations providing similar services.

The Assignment (4 pages):

  1. Conduct a SWOT analysis for the United Nations Environmental      Protection Program. This analysis focuses on assessing the present state      or condition of the organization and determining where the organization      would like to be. The difference between the two represents the gap, or      the difference between where the organization is currently and where the      organization would like to be. This gap could provide direction for the      major focus of the strategic plan.
  2. Describe plans for conducting an environmental scan.      The environmental scan is a process in which stakeholders gather and      interpret relevant data on an agency, organization, or community to      identify external opportunities and threats.
    1. Identify and describe internal conditions that might       impact the implementation of the strategic plan.
    2. Address how you would minimize the impact of those       conditions.
    3. Identify and describe external conditions or       competitors that might impact the implementation of the strategic plan.
      1. Address how you would minimize the impact of those        conditions.
      2. Consider how you might plan to work with competitors        to meet the needs of your targeted agency, organization, or community.
  3. Identify and describe at least three strengths      of the agency, organization, or community.
    1. State why each item on the list is a strength.
    2. State how you plan to utilize each strength to       positively the impact the development or implementation of the strategic       plan.
  4. Identify and describe at least three weaknesses      of the agency, organization, or community.
    1. State what causes each item on the list to be a       weakness.
    2. State how you plan to minimize the impact of the       weakness.
  5. Identify and describe at least three threats to      the agency, organization, or community.
    1. State what causes each item on the list to be a       threat.
    2. State how you plan to minimize the impact of the       threat.
  6. Identify and describe at least three      opportunities for improvement for the agency, organization, or community.
    1. State what causes each item on the list to be an       opportunity for improvement.
    2. State how you plan to incorporate the opportunity in       the implementation of the strategic plan.

Required Readings

Wronka, J. (2017). Human rights and social justice: Social action and service for the helping and health professions (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

· Chapter 3, “An Advanced Generalist/Public Health Model and Whole Population Approaches to Human Rights and Social Justice” (pp. 125–186)

Nonprofit Answer Guide. (n.d.). What’s the purpose of the environmental scan and how do we get this? Retrieved from http://nonprofitanswerguide.org/strategic-planning/

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2009b). Factors impacting change [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Factors Impacting Change

Program Transcript

NARRATOR: Whether or not a change effort is successful depends on a variety

of factors. In this video program, Dr. Judy Lewis describes two of these factors,

systems and diversity, and explains how they impact change efforts.

JUDY LEWIS: You really can’t even think about change without thinking about

the concept of systems. Whether you’re talking about a family system, a

community system, an organization, systems have their way of operating. They

like to keep things at a steady state. When an individual tries to cha


something, you’re going to come up against the system trying to maintain itself in

the usual customary way. No matter what kind of change you’re trying to bring

about, you really have to be analyzing what’s happening with the systems that

impact the individual.

It’s an interesting thing about family counseling. Family counselors understand

systems to their core. One of the basic things that every family counselor knows

is that an individual is affected by the family system, and that it’s very difficult


change anything about an individual’s behavior without coming up against the

need to get adjustments in the system as a whole.

But even though family counselors understand about family systems, they don’t

always necessarily look beyond the family to the larger system. When you have a

family system, that family system is impacted by culture, by diversity in the

population, by community norms, by societal norms.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t have the coincidence of having the same kinds of things

happen in fa

mily after family. The distant father, what’s seen as the over-involved

mother, the differences in gender roles. You wouldn’t have that in family after

family if that weren’t something that people have learned, not just from within

their family, but from the culture as a whole.

Suppose that a counselor is working with a family. And that family, you have a

situation where the woman is battered. Now, you could look at that from within

the family, and you could think about what is the psychopathology of the m


batterer? What is the psychopathology of the female victim?

Or you could look beyond that, not to excuse the behavior of a batterer, but to

ask, what is it that this man learned about the role of men? What did he learn

about that from his culture, from society? What did this woman learn about the

role of women? What did she learn about gender, as a person growing up in this


If you look beyond what’s happening in the individual family to the larger

systems, it gives you so much more understanding of what’s happening. And it

© 2016

Laureate Education, Inc.


Factors Impacting Change

also makes you realize that you need to look beyond just your clients in order to

make any big changes, and in order to prevent more families from going through

this same thing.

I think as a counselor/educator in particular, this is a great opportunity for

teaching. Because students will come up against clients like this. They’ll come up

against families like this. And the way that they’re going to learn to have that

broader picture comes from the questions that the counselor/educator or

supervisor asks.

What are you seeing here? What might you ask this woman about what she

thinks about the meaning of being a woman in this society?

What if you were to ask this man about what he learned growing up about the

role of a man in a family?

As long as you, as the educator or supervisor are asking these questions, you’re

going to broaden the outlook of the counselors, and that’s going to make all the


When we’re talking about working with systems, we need to make sure that our

counselor/education students understand this and are able to work with it.

Now, of course, you need to begin with explaining how systems work. They need

to understand how it works theoretically. Especially because sometimes it seems


ve. Sometimes it looks like an individual person in a family is

sabotaging the recovery of another person in the family. But you have to change

your point of view to understand that it’s just the system reasserting itself, and

trying to protect itself from change.

So there has to be a general understanding of systems and how they work. But

there’s no substitute for particular examples, real people questioning what’s

happening in a particular family, or with a particular individual in a systems


So part of what needs to happen is that educators and supervisors need to be

alert to opportunities to teach about systems whenever their students are talking

about particular cases.

As long as we keep asking questions and broadening the context within whic


our students see what’s happening, I think we’re going to have a lot of impact.

The most important thing for a counselor to understand about diversity, or multi

culturalism, is that it isn’t just a list of the characteristics of particular populations.

It really starts with looking internally at oneself, and the assumptions that one

makes, just as a person, rather than as a professional. What are the assumptions

© 2016

Laureate Education, Inc.


Factors Impacting Change

that we make about, what is good mental health? What is a healthy family? What

is an effective way to live in the world?

Our own assumptions that come from our culture may have an impact on the way

we work with clients in a way that may be damaging. If we assume that our own

assumptions are universal, then we might try to impose those without eve


realizing what we’re doing. And we might be imposing a version of mental health

that doesn’t fit maybe a different, more traditional culture.

So the counselor has to begin by a lot of self-interrogation. Am I sure that I am

being careful not to impose my own views on the client?

Now, that goes up another level to the counselor/educator or supervisor. We

really need, as counselor/educators and supervisors, to be careful to do some of

that internal searching ourselves, because it’s going to be our respons

ibility to

help counselors in training learn to ask themselves these questions.

Now, you can talk about multi-culturalism and diversity in general terms. But

when you look at actual clients, when a student is working with a case, it’s the

supervisor or the educator who’s going to be asking the question, what made you

ask about that? Or, had you thought about asking the family what they thought

about whether people should be independent at a particular age? Have you

asked these questions?

I think that that’s an important thing for educators and supervisors to be able to

do. It means that, in order to have our students start to develop a broad point of

view about what the community does to enhance mental health, we need to have

that in our own hearts and minds first.

Factors Impacting Change

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