Strategic Management and Planning Concept Development

2 Dec

Everyone learning, teaching and or practicing strategy has a working concept of what strategy should look like in their minds. This is not always clear to others, as strategy is “multiple-discipline”.

With the result that there are as many forms of strategy, as what there are languages spoken.

However, it’s always important to continue to develop, and expand on this core knowledge, for knowledge is power. We have to continue asking the basic frame work questions, to test them, to see if they are all still valid. Back to basics, for if the structure is strong so will be the framework that we build upon.

What is strategic management?

The basic concept consists of steps; managing a strategy is managing strategic… strategic implies in a planned fashion, structured, co-ordinated. Never the less, it goes beyond that, daily the strategic manager needs to perform the following steps;

  • The environmental scan – or situational awareness; refers to checking that the initial assumptions made, pertaining to the known, or given conditions and environment we are functioning in, are still valid. ( most of our business process rely on the environment being and staying the same) IE, farmers want rain, but not floods, wind, but not hail, pollination, but not plagues. If one attribute is out, it could influence everything else. So we scan the strategic landscape for variations that could signal danger…or imminent change. PEST scan;- Political, Economic, Social, Technological for instance is a good example of one such scan…
  • We gauge our impact; and how we propose to impact, or impose on the environment (markets, industry etc.), our will, design, plan, or concept. And how it will react. Then we will anticipate some changes and feedback as a result.
    • By looking at both the internal (culture, systems, policy, procedure, finances, processes) as well as external (exchange rates, growth factors that influence the organisation, political, social climate, government policy, taxes), or person, or persons making decisions. Against that what they anticipate and know, and plan to do, we then evaluate how on track they are with their assumptions, facts, and figures, as well as predictions we made. We take certain factors into account then;
      • We can never function in a vacuum; there are always perceptions, cultures, rules, norms, and principles, to name but a few elements, that inform our decisions, and our environment. That filters into our formulation and planning.
      • Only by deliberately identifying these conditions and elements, and then scanning these elements against our assumptions, do we become aware of their influence, and can then gain a better perspective of our situational awareness, where we are in relation to our competition, and rankings in the markets, or market share, it creates awareness, that would have otherwise not been possible if not for this planed step. It creates a picture, of where we really are, against where we really want to be, and how far we are in getting there.
      • Strategy formulation, is, or can become very complex, or even simple. First decide on the strategic frame work; which model you want to use. Several do exist.  It is all by design, so you could also do your own.
      • Strategy formulation should start with a
      • Qualify – what do I need, do I really need it, and why/where/when/how?
      • Quantify, – how much of it?
      • And then identify exercise first…
        • What we decide it needs to be, is what we will use as premise for every other decision to follow. It is a process of deciding on the best course of action, or actions, to achieve set goals and objectives with.
        • Gaols are not enough they need elements, and attributes; that qualify, quantify and identify, clearly their intent.
        • Strategy requires a component of control and evaluation, we need to command and control every aspect of a strategy, by assigning, responsibility, time, resources, and deadlines, to tasks, and then assigning these to specific people – with skills and capacity.
          • Then we need to evaluate their process, and progress made, to see where we can improve, or where we are lacking…
          • Generate Rapport and feedback, this step is vital, as it becomes a key measurement area, “you cannot manage, that, which you cannot measure” – where we check to see if we are on target, where we test our assumptions, our quality, against the progress reports, statistics, and status and then make adjustments accordingly… rapport deals with how we treat people, form networks, grow culture and function as a collective…strategic management is done with intent. That intent is to give structure to strategy.

The structure of a strategy

Starts with;

  • A Vision – spells out the contributions to society.(and our values)
  • Mission – informs us; why are we here, because we do this…
  • Goals and Objective – shows  how we will go about doing what we said we would do

The cognitive components of strategy design, starts with;

  • A Business assumption – it’s an idea of how to do, build, create something; these business assumptions, once formulated, should show all our constraints to us – we all want the world, when in fact we can only afford a slice…of what we have imagined.
    • This is the reality check point. Where we test an idea, and how to make it work, against what we have to make it work. This then becomes a plan, or a concept, if we find the means and the way to make it work then it becomes a concept.
    • Concept development – this phase, looks at “vehicles” – the means -, and resources that can get us what we want, to design a concept, is to plan its every detail, to design a business model, or plan – is to add, time, cost, and resources. Adding the structure in other words to the strategy.
    • Benchmark and testing – now we look at best practices, what works, what doesn’t, what we have, vs. really need, cost, risk, the whole mix. Here we cut away the fat, and streamline the processes contemplated…
    • Risk assessment – now we have a concept, a plan, and a structure, as well as a strategy, all we need is to see how risky it will be to execute it, here we test with a critical look at all the elements of the plan, its impact, and cost with amongst other things in the main a;
      • Feasibility study
        • Is there a – supply and demand
        • What will be a good Profit margin
        • How will we do our Marketing – cost , target audience
        • Infrastructure – what is available, how reliable, and efficient as well s effective s it?
        • Cost – start-up cost, overheads, cash flow, budget, investment, partners, etc.
  • Resources assessment – cost and implications
  • Impact study – environment, industry, local, transport grid, etc.
  • Sustainability etc.
  • Life cycle – how long till its making money, finished, working, producing…
  • Competition – who are they and how will they react?
  • Market share – what is available still, or are we creating a new market
  • Viability assessment -t could all form part of the risk study
  • Final Decisions – ring fencing the scope, defining the concept, concept drafts, then final approval
  • Blue print – sign off
  • Exit from the strategy or start with the execution phase  

What is strategic planning again?

  • Strategic planning; is a deliberate process, structured to achieve specific outcomes with, one of which is a strategic plan in its simplest form, where as a Grand Strategy has several strategies in its most complex form.  
  • A strategic plan may consist of several strategies that then become a comprehensive plan, inclusive of all aspects (called a Grand strategy). Or, it could be a very basic plan just outlying and ring-fencing the scope of work, objectives and goals to be performed.
  • Strategy refers to an on-going process; with specific people assigned to command and control all the activity – implying that we give directives daily, that we measure progress, and certain facets of the scheme, to make sure that we have the best possible chance of success, we measure, fit, test and re-design till it works…
  • It creates a reference point; that defines clearly each and every aspect of the work contemplated with operational plans, and instruction sets.
  • Strategies have plans to support it; the likes of  an operational plan, and or an instruction set; normally a document that gives instructions, on what, where, when, and how, things need to be done, by whom, and in what time, with which resources, and it has to be delivered in a specific time, in a required format.
  • When we work on Grand strategies with a great span; then – detailed plans are passed on called a Project.

Three levels exist within the strategic plans hierarchy;

  • The strategic plan is the overall plan – as drawn up by management
  • The tactical plans flow from the directives of the strategic plan, into departments, and divisions – where they have to interoperate, and disseminate it into operational plans – to give it life.
  • The operational plans flow into sections, teams, as well as individuals tasking, called a business scope, or work scope, alternatively also called a job specification and an instruction set. If it is a huge strategy it could also produce projects.
  • The strategic plan is the overall plan also known as the – Business Scope
    • Divines the overall mission for  each department to interrogate,
    • Divines the goals, tactics and objectives framework that will be used  at operational level
      • Goals are operational tasking – actions required at operational level
      • Tactics are middle management plans, to operationalize goals
      • Objectives are departmental targets supported by structures.
  • The tactical plans flow from the directives of the strategic plan – creates Structure
    • There to support the strategy in the following manner, it creates a
      • Hierarchy of decision making, who reports to whom
      • Segmented into groupings of activities that belong together
        • With accountable and responsible people in charge of each group
    • Flow of work is established, with matrix and work flow diagrams
    • Policy, procedures, task orientation; is introduced
    • Breaks work down into task orientated work packages –or  job descriptions
  • The operational plans flow into sections, teams, as well as individuals tasking  -Mission
    • Informs; direction
    • Its purpose; divine; values, goals and objectives

Read more on my blog; or Read the book or Ebook; Read more in my new book Strategic Management, The Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators by Reinier Geel, now available at these stores

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3 Responses to “Strategic Management and Planning Concept Development”

  1. Mohamed Nabil Gamie May 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Very piercive and illuminating thoughts. I enjoyed reading very much. Thanks a lot.

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