I had the privilege of working with a group of 23 wonderful people yesterday. The task was to present the 'strategy' day of the IoD five-day Company Director's Course, the Institute's flagship professional development programme. The course is designed to provide a solid grounding in governance and governance-related topics. Delegates usually have some governance experience, although some do not. The strategy component explores a range of topics including the importance of strategy; the strategic planning process and formation of strategy; the role of the board; and, the importance of implementation and monitoring.
As I worked with the delegates, I was reminded that the underlying foundations of strategic planning are actually very straightforward. Just four questions need to be answered:
For organisations, this means understanding the environment the organisation operates in, confirming the core purpose and strategic objective(s), and then selecting strategies and action plans to achieve the objective. That's all. The rest can (and should) be treated as tactical actions, to be completed by management as part of the business planning process.
One final point. The output of the process (the plan) should be as straightforward as the process used to create it. A coherent plan—that fits on one or two pages—is far more likely to be understood and supported, than a large document with many pages of tables, lists and detailed analyses.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.