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Strategy Management Should Be a Core Competency for Every Organization

Is strategy management (i.e. strategy creation, implementation, measurement, and improvement) a core competency for your organization? If not, it’s time to think about bringing this critical capability in-house.

When I refer to strategy management I mean that every organization, from a start-up to a Fortune 500 enterprise to a non-profit organization, should have their business model mapped out, and a plan for implementing, testing, and improving that business model (i.e. a strategic plan) must be in place. Making strategy management a core organizational competency means that your organization has adopted a recognizable strategy management process and that you have a designated person, residing inside your organization, who’s responsible for overseeing, managing, and improving your strategy management process, and its outputs and outcomes.

Before going any further I want to dispel the myth that focusing on strategy management is only for companies and organizations of a certain type and size. It’s just not true. If you are working towards producing some sort of result, outcome, or impact you have to have (1) an idea of what needs to be in place, and what you must focus on, to produce your desired result (i.e. your business model) and (2) a roadmap that’s been thoughtfully designed to get you there (i.e. your strategic plan). These are the non-negotiable keys to success for every organization (regardless of size or maturity level).

Strategy management is the process that ensures that your organization is always doing the right things and producing the desired results. Essentially – strategy management guides your organization on a path to success!

Now – “strategy management” won’t look the same in a start-up versus a global company. The start-up will probably tackle strategy using a streamlined and lean approach that’s managed by the founder while a large mature enterprise could have a department of people managing a strategy process with far more moving parts. It only makes sense.

However, the point is that both organizations must have the internal capacity to manage strategy. That is, strategy management must be a core competency for all organizations.

However, this hasn’t always been the case.

Back when the business environment was more stable than it is these days, more organizations were able to get away with doing a big strategic planning event every three years with a simple review/status update occurring on an annual basis. Implementing the strategic plan was really focused on completing the projects or tasks listed in the strategic plan. And strategy improvement wasn’t really part of the picture. Since strategic planning was an intermittent activity, it made sense for many organizations to outsource the strategy formulation part of their strategy management process to consultants while strategic plan implementation was managed just like another set of projects. Some larger organizations did have in-house strategy management people but this was usually a product of enterprise size and complexity.

This overall approach seemed to work when strategy management was a periodic, slow moving, and predictable activity. However, I see many organizations still taking this approach to strategy management today and I often wonder whether they realize just how incompatible this old style of managing strategy is with current conditions ……

You see, in today’s dynamic and changeable business environment, the nature of strategy, and strategy management, has completely changed. Disruption is everywhere and strategy isn’t about implementing a task list any more. To ensure business success and organizational sustainability, strategy management absolutely must be focused on continually testing and refining your hypothesis about what your organization does, how it needs to work to produce results, and the nature of the results and outcomes you produce, and the impacts you enable.

Strategy has become a constant cycle of testing and refining your business model leveraging feedback from both inside and outside your organization. Today, strategy management is a more complex and dynamic activity that needs constant attention because it’s a fast-paced 24/7 world.

 This is the new world of strategy that all organizations are facing – and facing it well requires an updated approach to strategy management.

Because organizations must continually test and revise their business model and strategy, it no longer makes sense for them to routinely outsource strategy activities to external consultants – it’s just not affordable and sustainable over the long term. What organizations do need to do is bring that expertise in-house.

However, external consultants still have a role to play in an organization’s strategy process – it’s just different.

For example, consultants have a valuable contribution to make in providing expert insights and facilitating an organization through non-routine strategy-focused issues and challenges and/or in helping them explore difficult strategic choices. In today’s new world, this is the better way of using external consulting resources.

However, when it comes to core strategy management activities, organizations of all sizes must make the shift now and transform strategy management into a key business process and in-house organizational capability.

Are you ready to make strategy management a core competency for your organization? If so, here are the high-level steps you need to take to make a successful transformation:

  • Secure leadership commitment for embracing and using a more dynamic strategy management process
  • Educate business leaders on the key elements of a modern approach to strategy management
  • Select a scalable strategy management approach that suits the organization
  • Decide who your strategy management process owner will be – formalize their accountabilities
  • Enroll your strategy management process owner in a skills and capability building training program that aligns with your selected strategy management approach
  • Implement scalable supports and necessary resources to enable your strategy management process
  • Implement and begin using your new strategy management process across your organization – communicate and engage all employees with your business model, implementation roadmap, and strategy management process
  • Implement and begin using your new strategy management process across your organization – build leader and employee strategy management skills and capabilities

In my experience, every organization takes a different amount of time to make the switch and turn strategy management into an internal core competency. The first step is to commit to making the transition and then embarking on the journey to get there.

Every organization, no matter the sector or industry, must make this shift if they are going to secure their success and sustainability moving forward. I hope that you and your team will make this important commitment today.

 

Do you have questions and/or want to know more about any of the steps I’ve outlined above? If so, please add your comment below or drop me a line at sandy@collaborativestrategy.ca

 

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