In this week’s edition, part 7 of this 12 part article series on corporate strategic planning, we will continue the discussion on planning, but examine some other key attributes for consideration. As we all know, corporate strategies will never be perfect or foolproof, but you may not realize how much they can be systematically improved through process changes. Our corporate strategies are what determines the directional flow of our business, such as markets to be entered or exited, products to be enhanced through innovation programs and acquisitions that will solidify competitive price advantage through supply-chain integration. As such, it must be holistic in interpreting and leveraging our business enterprise to be truly effective. That leads us to the next topic to discuss – factors that can help or, in some cases, impede execution.
The Other Attributes of Strategic Planning: Environmental & Structural Inhibitors / Accelerators
Inhibitors can detract from progress, and should be considered as factors to mitigate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, accelerators can speed progress and facilitate faster achievement. Accelerators should be identified, understood and leveraged during planning.
For consideration of how this might work in practical application, the graphic shows how core competencies, culture and resources might be thought of as “environmental” conditions, while organizational design, process and strategy and vision are more “structural” in nature.
So where might inhibitors and accelerators be found so that we can begin identifying and unlocking them?
Core Competencies, Resources and Culture
Core competencies were defined earlier in this paper, but are worth a mention again in terms of environmental inhibitors or accelerators that can be leveraged in the plan. Lack of adequate skills employee skills related to the organization’s core competencies represents an inhibitor that must be addressed through planning. Likewise, this same environmental condition might be a tremendous accelerator if an employee base is being acquired through a merger and their core competencies will already be in place to execute plan goals well.
The resources of the organization are many, but include:
- The employees of the organization and their general capabilities
- The actual skills and competencies of the employees working for the organization
- Technological resources like patents on products and processes
- Access to financial assets / resources
During strategic planning, strong consideration of available resources plays directly into operational execution of plan goals.
Another environmental condition to consider during strategic planning is culture. Organizational culture usually starts with the style of leadership adopted from founders or senior executives of the organization.
There are many variations of corporate cultures, but for the purposes of this article, we will classify cultures into one of four models:
Cooperative: The organization or team focuses on the needs of the customer and the delivery, resulting in customization and tailoring to customer needs.
Merit Focused: The organization or team focuses on how it can organize and create predictability, reliability, low cost and structure.
Actualized: The organization or team focuses on fulfilling the human potential, helping create better lives for its customers and offering self-actualization.
Creative: The organization or team focuses on creating superiority of product or service, uniqueness, one of a kind value-add service and product.
Associated with these four distinct culture signatures are corresponding organizational hierarchies. The differences in culture and hierarchy relate back to the “how” the organization works and “how” work gets accomplished. Aligning strategy, tactics and governance to address these dimensions will greatly affect the outcome of planning efforts.
In next week’s article edition, we will explore the inhibitors and accelerators related to structural conditions such as: organizational design / hierarchy, process and core values. We will also move into the final phase of the series pertaining to ways you can measure the effectiveness of your current strategic planning process.