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In the past most organisations took a highly structured approach to strategy development known as strategic planning which involved an annual process of putting plans in place for the coming year and beyond.
However, in today’s complex and turbulent business environment, it is impossible to plan for every eventuality and strategy making needs to be a more flexible and dynamic process which reflects a way of thinking strategically about the business and the environment in which it operates. Organisations that fail to think strategically will be vulnerable to threats and ill-prepared to take advantage of fresh opportunities. A flexible but focused approach will put organisations in a better position to deal with setbacks and to respond to new opportunities as they emerge.
What is strategy development?
Strategy development is the process of researching and identifying strategic options, selecting the most promising and deciding how resources will be allocated across the organisation to achieve objectives.
Key questions to be considered include:
How do you develop a strategy?
In a company trading for profit, for which competition and profitability are important, your goals will differ from those of a non-profit or government department. Likewise, objectives for a department or team will have a different scope from objectives for your organisation as a whole.
For example, and depending on scope and circumstances, you may want to develop strategies to:
To determine your strategy, you must understand fully the internal and external environmental factors that affect you. With that understanding, you can identify your clear advantages and use these to be successful. From there, you can make informed choices and implement your strategy effectively.
So, strategy creation follows a three-stage process:
Strategy development process and tools.
Stage 1: Analysing your context and environment
In this first stage, you ensure that you fully understand yourself and your environment. Do the following:
Stage 2: Identifying Strategic Options
In Stage 1, you developed an understanding of how your organisation or team fits within the context of the internal and external environments.
Now it's time to think about the different things that you could do to create a clear advantage, and meet your objectives. Here are some fundamental activities that can help you make this decision.
Stage 3: Evaluating and Selecting Strategic Options
The final stage is to evaluate strategic options in detail and select the ones that you want to pursue.
Your strategy tells you how you'll achieve success, no matter how that success is defined. And whether you're developing a strategy at personal, team, or organisational level, the process is as important as the outcome.
Identify your unique capabilities, and understand how to use these to your best advantage while minimising threats.
The process and tools identified above will help you identify a variety of potential strategies for success so that you can ultimately choose the one that's right for you.
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