Mike Stoke & Assoc. Pty Ltd

Brisbane, Australia

Mobile: +61 (405) 115-669

Email: mike@stokeconsulting.com


Why Strategic Management?

Most organisations will have created strategic plans.  Some will even have consciously attempted to implement them.  Most, however, will get to a review point, look back, and realise that they were overtaken by events, or fully occupied by the day to day responsibilities of running a business, and much of what they had intended to do just hadn't been done.

A strategic plan of itself has little value - it's the- end result that is important.  A strategy is by nature a change process.  But most strategies are not implemented, for a variety of reasons (there are an increasing number of books of this topic  eg: The Knowing-Doing Gap).

One reason is to do with the strategy itself - unless you're a commodity-based business, you can't usually predict the future very far out.  Even if you are sophisticated enough to do scenario planning, you are still likely to have something occur that hasn't been predicted (new technology, changed competitors or business environment, etc).   If you can't adequately predict the future, you can't put strategies in place.

Another reason is that management and staff are not motivated - they don't understand or accept the reasons for the change, and often don't know how they are meant to be operating differently.

Instead, you need to become adaptable, responsive.  You could be reactive, without any planning - or you can try to manage strategically.

What is involved in managing strategically?

A strategy must provide a set of actions for management and staff to carry out, in order to achieve the required outcomes.  From a process point of view, this involves having:

  • a transparent mechanism for assigning relative priorities
  • a process through which priorities are reassessed and communicated to those involved
  • an ongoing oversight of outcomes and the suitability of current plans to achieve those
  • a process for assigning (and reassigning) the resources needed.

It also involves having mechanisms to identify the need for change.  While management is theoretically responsible for identifying a need for change, in practice most new ideas come from front line staff (because of their direct dealings with customers) or from outsiders who are able to view the business differently:  the majority of people involved in a business develop 'blinkers' - they don't ask the awkward, sacred cow, or unthinkable questions that might occur to an outsider, and that are essential in any strategy development.

There must therefore also be:-

  • an environment that encourages ideas for improved or new products / services to come from front line staff
  • a recognised process by which these ideas are evaluated
  • a process of regular review by senior management and Board
  • a process of regular communication of the outcxome to management and staff.
What does MSA offer in this area?

MSA can:

  • explain and 'sell' the concept in-house
  • work with you to develop and implement all the processes needed, and help you decide how you'll know when the strategy has worked
  • guide you through one or more iterations
  • work with you as an independent Director to provide ongoing oversight of strategic management..

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