Strategy is not all about thinking and planning but about getting things moving
In today’s competitive business landscape businesses need to stay focused and innovate to remain competitive and profitable for the long haul. Strategy plays a fundamental role in achieving these common objectives that all for-profit organizations work towards. Yet for many organizations, strategy is often overlooked and misunderstood. The practice of strategy is a lot of hard and detailed work but in this article, I will attempt to make clear who should do what in the strategy process to make it easier to collaborate for successful strategy development and change.
The strategist comes up with strategizing activities and utilizes strategizing methodologies for successful strategy development and change. The strategist(s) is/(are) arrived at by asking who to include in strategy-making, the strategizing activities are arrived at by asking what to do in carrying out the strategizing activities and the strategizing methodologies are identified by being exposed to the different methodologies available.
Let’s explore different levels of strategists common in today’s organizations:
CEOs, Executive & non-executive directors and top managers hold ultimate responsibility for strategy. It is important to have a clear strategic leader, someone capable of setting a disciplined approach to what matches and does not match the overall strategy. The benefit of having this individual would be focused attention on the overall strategy. The challenge however would be that centralizing this responsibility would lead to excessive personalization and over-confidence on the individual. Hence it is advisable to have a top management team sharing the responsibility for strategy. Moreover, having non-executive directors add more value to the overall strategy by offering an external and objective view on the strategy.
Strategic planners are individuals bestowed with the responsibility of coordinating the strategy process. The role involves analysis, communication, team-work and influencing skills. The strategic planner has the time, skills and resources to provide information and analysis to key decision makers. They can assist and guide managers through their strategic planning cycles and lastly, they can be a useful resource on special projects, such as acquisitions and organizational change.
Middle managers hold the knowledge and experience of the realities of the organization and its market; they provide a crucial bridge between top management and members of your organization at lower levels; they are involved in strategy adaptation because of their day-to-day responsibilities in strategy implementation and champion new ideas that can be the foundation of new strategies.
Strategy consultants are external consultants often called upon in the development of strategy. Consultants play different roles in the strategy development in organizations. These roles may include: analyzing, prioritizing and generation options; transferring knowledge; promoting strategic decisions and implementing strategic change. At CFODHUB by Bellmac Consulting, we do this for you.
Who do we involve in the strategy development process? There is no general rule about who to involve and not involve in strategy development but there are criteria that can guide on this. Criteria such as the degree of urgency and magnitude of changes. For example, a potential acquisition is best approached by small special project teams, consisting of senior managers, planners and consultants. Deciding on who to consider key competitors can be more open to various members of an organization.
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