By Scott Span, the president of Tolero Solutions, an organizational development and change management firm.
According to our marketing partner – Preactive Marketing – the phrase “strategy is…” generates roughly 13.6 million global hits. This indicates it is quite a popular topic and that people are interested in what a strategy should contain and why having one is important.
We’ll share our thoughts, though we also prefer to hear from you, so share your opinion!
Strategy has different meanings to different people – so how would you finish the sentence – Strategy is…
I would finish it something like this:
“A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique.” – Michael Porter
Wise words from Mr. Porter. Based on how most define strategy, the main reason for the existence of strategy is to achieve end goals. Organizations can’t succeed at getting where they want to go if they don’t have a plan of how to get there.
Why is having a strategy important – why conduct strategic planning?
- A solid strategy is the cement and mortar in the foundation of any successful organization (that’s just one reason we offer our clients consulting services and training on this topic). You’ve got to have a plan – actionable processes.
A plan and process for how to:
- Handle change
- Manage for results
- Provide customer support
- Increase adaptability
- Promote communication
- Guide management decisions
- Remain future-oriented
The strategy is a supporting document that should contain actionable processes to help you answer important questions and achieve success – it should also outline what success looks like for your organization and how you measure that success. The strategy should assist in defining target markets, processes, structures, roles and responsibilities, and key customers and stakeholders.
- How does an organization develop a strategy?
Carefully – this shouldn’t be a rush job. The strategy is like the compass for your organization, it provides direction. Developing a strategy should include several components. A solid strategy should include a focus and analysis on both internal (history, politics, culture, structure) and external factors (competitors, customers, environment, laws and policy). The organization should also include the development of the mission and vision of developing a strategy as well as targets, goals and initiatives, and measures of success.
So, in short, the strategic planning process should ask and answer the following questions (here is your cheat sheet!):
Where are we now?
- Internal/external environmental assessment
- Customer and stakeholder identification
Where do we want to be?
How do we measure our progress?
- Performance measures and KPIs
How do we get there?
- Supporting strategies and initiatives
- Action plans
- Tracking system
You see…strategy is a facet of business that is imperative to succeeding.
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” -Winston Churchill
If you don’t know where you are going – how will you ever get there!
About Scott Span, MSOD: is President of Tolero Solutions Organizational Development & Change Management firm. He helps clients to facilitate sustainable growth by developing people and organizations to be more responsive, focused, productive and profitable.