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Strategic Planning Best Practice 6 – Focus on Strength

Time and again, organizations – like people – focus on overcoming weaknesses to improve performance. But like people, far more can often be gained by advancing the company’s strengths. Strength in this sense is not simply a corporate competency; rather, it is something the organization can consistently perform at world class levels.

Organizations focusing on their strengths realize several strategic advantages over their competitors. A focus on activities of strength implies reduced managerial attention and resource application to weaknesses; freeing these to further advance the company’s strengths. Workers feel a greater sense of accomplishment with the company’s increased success; improving employee engagement which often leads to an improved public image, both of which build on the strengths.

Focusing on strengths does not imply a lack of awareness or activities to eliminate weaknesses. In fact, it is important that weaknesses be reduced to a level that appropriately manages the risk of exploitation by competitors and minimizes their interference and distraction to the achievement of strength activities.

Additional Resources

StrategyDriven contributors recommend several resources that elaborate or compliment the Focus on Strength best practice including:

Organizational Strength

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
by Jim Collins

Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great
by Jim Collins

Jack: Straight from the Gut
by Jack Welch

Individual Strength

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
by Peter F. Drucker

Now, Discover Your Strengths
by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

Strategic Planning Best Practice 5 – Defined Program

Organizations must be able to respond quickly and decisively to the rapidly changing business environment. A formally defined strategic planning program consists of a collection of planning and execution activities that help an organization appropriately respond to marketplace events and evolving trends.

A strategic planning program provides the framework for execution consistency and minimizes the risk of inappropriate action or inaction. Comprised of planning, execution, and monitoring and control processes; the strategic planning program structures the way data is collected, assessed, and acted upon. Established prior to event occurrence, the program enhances the organization’s overall responsiveness because it ensures the organization is aware of its environment and prepared to respond to changes in a timely manner.


About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Strategic Analysis Best Practice 2 – advocatus diaboli, The Devil’s Advocate

Shared experience, organizational pride, and/or conflict avoidance can diminish the criticality of data and conclusion assessment; leading to exaggerated optimism and resulting in an organizational pursuit of unrealistic goals. Inflated expectations may drive investment in projects well outside of the organization's risk tolerance. In today's aggressive marketplace and under intense shareholder scrutiny, missteps like these can be disastrous for a company and its executive team.


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Strategic Planning Best Practice 4 – Ongoing Planning and Execution

Market changes wait for no one. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, competitors and suppliers aggressively seek to gain a competitive advantage while government agencies and special interest groups continuously seek to further their agendas. These forces, acting together, demand an organization to be responsive and flexible to maintain its footing within the marketplace.

Ongoing planning and execution enables an organization to appropriately adjust to its changing operational environment. Effective response to marketplace changes is achieved by using a combination of event, routine, and annualized planning and execution activities. Event driven activities, triggered by abrupt marketplace changes, enable the organization to react to significant developments in the business environment. Routine and annualized activities help the organization maintain flexibility in response to slowly evolving trends.


About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Organizational Performance Measures Best Practice 4 – Core Performance Measures

Core performance measures are a unique subset of ongoing indicators within the organization's performance measurement system. Differing from key performance indicators or KPIs that monitor the few critical drivers of organizational performance, core performance measures provide an ongoing comparative basis between products, services, business units, and individuals.


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