Monday, September 23, 2013

What is Strategy? Part IV

Strategy is an integrated explanation of how an organization is going to guide its performance into the future.

In Part IV of “What is Strategy?” we put everything together.  You have chosen your future with your Vision & Strategic Goals, and you have discerned your SWOTs.  Your Strategy answers the question “How do we get from there (your Current Reality) to here (your Ideal Future).”

Here is how you answer that question.

While looking at your goals, take each SWOT item by item.  Ask “What Strategic Action can we take regarding this SWOT to move us toward our goals?”

For each Strength, ask “What Strategic Action can we take to Leverage this Strength and move us toward the goals.

For each Weakness, ask “What Strategic Action can we take to Fortify this Weakness and move us toward the goals.

For each Opportunity, ask “What Strategic Action can we take to Seize this Opportunity and move us toward the goals.

For each Threat, ask “What Strategic Action can we take to Block this Threat and move us toward the goals.

You are now entering the most creative part of the strategy development process.  Crafting the Strategy requires you to look at your lists of Strategic Actions to discern which ones are most important, and which you need to take early on.  You will realize that some Strategic Actions are actually more “strategic” than others.  You need to figure out which Strategic Actions will really move you forward most effectively.

Look for connections between the Strategic Actions and figure out how the sequencing will flow from one to another.  As in chess, every action you take affects the whole board.  You need to weave these various Strategic Actions together to identify your most important Strategic Themes that result in your Strategy Narrative.  A Strategy Narrative is an explanation – or story – of how you are going to Leverage your Strengths, Fortify your Weaknesses, Seize your Opportunities, and Block your Threats to move you forward.

If we were sitting in your office I could work through some examples with you to show you more clearly how this works.  But this is the best I can do in a blog!  There are more examples in the Mission Impact book, of course, and there is an example in my Breakthrough Strategy Workbook which you can download from my web site at no cost.

If you follow the process in these four recent blogs then you can craft a Strategy that makes a Breakthrough Impact in the difference you make for others.  Good luck!

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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