by Doreen Yarnold

Strategic direction setting – the team

The three main components of strategic management are strategic analysis, strategic choice and strategy implementation. In reality, there are overlaps between all three components, with the strategic analyses providing valuable input into all areas.

The first two components require a more academic approach than strategy implementation, which is concerned with functional and operational issues, resource allocation, capability bolstering, project management, planning and budgeting and so on – in other words, all the activities needed to implement successfully.

Organising for the process

First off, it is worth stressing here that the use of the word ‘organisation’ in this topic can be interpreted widely. It is applicable to a complete entity, such as a company, for example, or any subset of an entity, such as a function, department or team.

For an organisational strategy, it is advisable for a core multi-disciplinary development team to be set up to manage and drive the SDS (strategic development setting) process. Ideally, the team should be drawn from all levels of an organisation and members should have differing experiences and skill sets. It is vital that membership includes an operational expert to provide a commonsense check on what outcomes are proposed – in other words, to ensure that what is proposed can actually be implemented in practice.

This core team then calls on others in the organisation (again, drawn from all levels and skills) to challenge and validate the outputs from each stage of the process before the team proceeds to the next. The beauty of involving a wider audience is that not only does this enable broader input and perspectives to be taken, it also helps ensure future buy-in to the outcomes themselves.