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Strategic planning

The Changemaking Systems model for addressing the overall strategies of an organization is illustrated in the graphic that follows.  The graphic has two stages:

1. Strategic Audit? (Identify the right strategic questions.)

2. Strategic Framework! (Answer them.)

The organization / business first reviews its current strategic profile, how it stacks up in the areas of the business environment, products offered, market needs, capabilities, and results achieved.  Part of this review is focused on where it has been in each of these categories, and part of it is to look at the new and emerging conditions in each of these categories. 

Most importantly, the question must be asked regarding each category: What does this mean, especially for the future?

Secondly, the organization / business determines which category should be the driver for the foreseeable future.  This driving force is then the foundation upon which the remainder of the strategic framework will be built. 

Will the driving force be products (called the product leader value discipline, best product, or differentiation strategy)

Will the driving force be the market (called the customer intimacy value discipline, best total solution, or focused strategy)? 

Will the driving force be capabilities and operational costs and efficiencies with those capabilities (called operational excellence, best total cost, or competing on the basis of cost)?

After the driving force is selected (which requires much thought and interaction / debate, for it is fundamental to all other planning), then the strategic framework is created on the foundation of the driving force.  The framework consists of outcome and process objectives for each of the five categories, starting with the driving force category, but then going in any sequence that seems to fit.

The strategic planning product can be simple or elaborate.  It must be clear and be capable of guiding the decisions of the people of the organization.  Priorities should be clear, giving everyone a sense of how their work could be most strategic.

What needs to follow after the strategic planning is all the rest of the operational planning, budgeting, contingency plans, functional plans, unit plans, and critical issue planning.  Success indicators and outcome measures should be included, and there should be no doubt as to who is accountable for what.  Then there is the compelling need to both manage to the plan(s) and monitor / modify the plan as needed.

The exact terminology used, the formatting of the plan, and the approach to the planning process itself differ from one organization to the next, depending upon the needs and situations in which the given organization finds itself at a given point, in time. 

A few comments on strategy:

Strategy is all about making choices and doing the right thing, not just doing things right.

Strategy is all about putting yourself and your organization in a good position to succeed.

Hard work is essential, but it does not guarantee success.  We need to be working hard at the right thing, whether we are individuals or a huge corporation...or a nation.

There is little worse than doing the wrong thing better and better.

This is why strategic thinking has become one of the keys to career success in virtually all organizations in all walks of life.



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Strategic Planning - View the Changemaking model for addressing the overall strategies for organizations
  Basics on Strategy
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  Audit and Framework
  Strategic Planning Process
  Strategic Planning - Case Study

Organization Change and Development - View the fundamentals of organizational change
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  Why Change Fails
  Vehicles for Change

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Library of Strategy - A library of strategy articles for individual continuing education.

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Changemaking Systems, LLC
950 Pershing Circle, Burnsville, MN 55306

phone ............... 952.435.7464
fax .................... 952.892.6707

John Johnson ... john@changemakingsystems.com
Molly Johnson ... molly@changemakingsystems.com
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