Strategic Challenges and planning
Strategic management involves both continual steering of the strategy and performance via strategic plans
(see next tab on this page), and the tackling of one-off issues and challenges, such as entering a new market,
dealing with an aging workforce, defending against a competitor’s attack, or responding to market down-turns or
other shifts in external conditions. The Strategy Challenge process can be used to tackle a wide range
of issues, from very simple cases up to larger and more complex situations.
This process is as follows:
A white-board workshop lays out the architecture of the challenge, which will itself generate
value in terms of changes to decisions or increased confidence in what to do.
If this is successful and sufficient value is at stake, you can go on to stage 2
Develop a small demonstration simulation, using readily available information and estimate,
which will give more value, through testing alternative scenarios and policies.
If this is successful, and again, if there is a lot of value at stake,
Build a fully-validated simulation model to confirm exactly what to do, when and how much
across all decisions relating to the challenge.
Both the simple model and full model can then be used throughout as the situation develops through
time, to check on progress and adjust policies and actions as new information becomes available.
This staged process allows you to make progress in small steps and get value at each stage –
rather than have to find big budgets from scratch.
If we can help you tackle a strategic challenge, please
Strategic Plan: for a whole business or specific units or functions.
Strategy Dynamics enables you both to tackle specific challenges, and to
build a complete, rigorous strategic plan for any organization – large or small, corporate
or non-commercial. Strategic plans in many organizations are too generalised, lacking
specifics of what to do, when and how much, across all functions. Annual plans, are not
adequate in any case, since in most cases much can change from quarter-to-quarter or
month-to-month. We need quarterly or monthly action-plans and expected outcomes – and
the adaptability to modify these plans as circumstances change.
The process for developing a rigorous and actionable strategic plan is as follows:
A white-board workshop with the management team lays out the architecture of the
business at a high level, followed by collecting the limited data needed to explain
recent past performance and project a desired future. This stage alone will highlight
KPIs that are usually missed by most planning processes and balanced scorecards.
To whatever extent is required, this process is then replicated for sub-parts of
the business - different business units, different markets, or specific functions,
such as HR or Marketing. This stage breaks out the KPIs into more detailed levels,
under the leadership of specific teams. [You can also create a strategic plan for
any such unit on its own, without requiring the whole organisation to be analysed].
The output from stages 1 and 2 is then used regularly [a] to update the latest
performance changes and [b] to adjust short- to medium-term action plans and forecasts.
- For all except the simplest cases, this approach to strategic planning and management
is helped by creating a software model of the strategy that both captures historic
developments and projects likely future performance. This can be used both to test the
plan’s sensitivity to uncertainties, such as market trends and competitor initiatives,
and to test alternative strategies.
If we can help you develop a more rigorous, explicit and action-focused strategic plan
that you can use continually to steer performance with your team, please