Strategy development

Strategies are not tomes that sit unread. They are principles to focus activity and guide approach.

How often have you seen a beautifully crafted strategy sit unread by the people who should be bringing it to life? A strategy is a mechanism for change: more income, greater impact; new beneficiaries; and focus are all good strategic intents. Change may even be required to maintain business as usual when operating in shifting sands or with turbulent income streams.

Too often strategies include too much and achieve too little. A strategy that resembles a collection of business plans, with very detailed activities, could suggest that your organisation has competing interests with teams vying to ensure their own status - using the strategy process as a tool to green light their projects.

For a strategy to affect change it must be easy to understand and would ideally be unifying for the whole organisation. The strategy would outline the outcomes the organisation aims to achieve, its key activities and its theories of change. It would help people to focus on the shared goals and to understand cross organisational initiatives, where their work contibutes and their interdependencies with others. With the strategy as a guide the detail can be done at the business planning stage. Which activities to go ahead with is informed by the decision making framework which falls out of the strategic priorities.

Consider: Could you explain the essence of your strategy to a stranger in less than 20 seconds? Is your strategy making the change you want to see? Does your strategy drive behaviours and decisions about which activities to pursue and which to drop?