Strategic Orientation is the process of setting goals and establishing strategies to achieve those goals.
A company should have a clear sense of direction and should have a plan to move forward. This should be done in such a way that it would improve upon what they have done in the past and set them up for success.
What Is Strategic Orientation?
Strategic orientation indicates a company’s future goals and how well it is positioned to achieve them. This concept is comprised of two primary elements, the first of which is the perception that a company has a strategy for future growth.
In addition, a corporation may assess how effectively it is progressing along this route. Together, these two elements define the company’s strategic direction, since one may examine this plan for future modification or expansion in contrast to the current operations done.
The 5 Levels of Strategic Orientation
Strategic Orientation is a beneficial element for organizations, according to the majority of individuals. However, what exactly does that imply? How can you identify if your organization is Strategically Oriented, and what can be done to improve the situation?
Strategic Orientation has five distinct stages. Each one builds upon the last, giving you with a road map and a gauge of your progress toward Strategic Orientation. Following are the five levels:
- Engaging in Strategic Dialogue
- Strategic Planning
- Strategic Measurement
- Developing a Strategic Calendar
- Integrating Strategic Dialogue
1. Engaging in Strategic Dialogue
The first step toward achieving Strategic Orientation is to begin discussing strategy. Dr. Robert Kaplan (personal communication, 2000) reports that 85 percent of Executive Teams spend less than one hour each month discussing strategy.
It should not come as a surprise that strategy will not become an organization’s top priority if the management team cannot find time to discuss it. It is likely that the organization will stay in “fire-fighting” mode indefinitely.
The amount of time CEOs spend discussing strategy is straightforward to quantify. Obviously, the optimal period will rely on the competitiveness of the industry in which they operate (for one technique of measuring industry competitiveness, see Porter’s Five Forces Model).
However, while the duration of the conversation is a wonderful starting point, it is insufficient. It is also essential to focus on the discussion’s quality. Continual questioning of presumptions is a requirement for effective strategic dialogue (ref: Senge for Double Loop Accounting, Balancing Advocacy and Inquiry).
Complex methodologies, such as Scenario Planning, can also be utilized to enhance the quality of strategic dialogue.
2. Strategic Planning
Once the Strategic Dialogue has begun, it is essential to formalize the result in a Strategic Plan. This should be a paper that summarizes the Strategic Dialogue under at least the following categories:
A unified perspective of the external environment as it relates to the organization. Again, Porter’s Five Forces Model gives a valuable framework for analyzing this situation. Additionally, the external study should contain a common evaluation of the organization’s prospects and dangers.
A common picture of the company’s internal condition. The McKinsey 7-S Model may serve as a valuable framework. A unified evaluation of the company’s strengths and flaws should also be included in the internal study.
A vision statement or mission statement is necessary to explain the desired future condition of the organization. This ideal future state should consider both internal and external analyses, capitalizing on the organization’s strengths to seize chances.
Having created a future vision, the organization must now plan concrete activities to realize it. The Implementation Plan should be structured as a project of projects – a high-level plan that reflects the accomplishment of certain strategic objectives.
Most organisations have strategic plans, but often these are shelved – never to be looked at until next years Strategic Planning conference.
Often, they are also considered to be top secret, highly confidential, and only to be seen by a few select top managers. It is not surprising then, that such plans are seldom successfully implemented. To be successful, th
e Strategic Plan must be widely communicated to everyone who is to be involved in its execution, and held up for scrutiny, challenge and modification. The only good Strategic Plan is a living Strategic Plan.
You could measure:
- The proportion of personnel who have read the Strategic Plan.
- The proportion of employees who can describe the Strategic Plan without consulting the paper.
- The proportion of company programs and efforts that are closely connected with the
- Strategic Plan and/or suggested by it.
The Strategic Learning Model describes a method for strategic planning and management that may span all five levels of strategic orientation.
3. Strategic Measurement
Once the Strategic Plan has been implemented, it is quite useful to be able to evaluate its success. This is measurable in two dimensions:
Are we achieving the objectives outlined in the plan? (Input Measures) Does what we intended to achieve in the plan have the anticipated results? (Output Measures)
The Balanced Scorecard offers a systematic way for developing Strategic Metrics. Nonetheless, it is of utmost importance to ensure that you have at least one metric for each essential area of your Strategy.
More over twenty-five measurements may indicate a lack of strategic focus and become difficult to manage, but less than twelve measures almost always implies an oversimplification of the firm.
A solid foundation for creating Strategic Measures includes the following elements:
- Developing Vision-aligned Strategic Objectives.
- Identifying particular factors that indicate progress (or lack thereof) towards achieving this Strategic Objective. (It may be essential to define many variables per target, as difficult-to-quantify objectives may necessitate surrogate variables.)
- Set objectives for each variable. These objectives may alter over time (e.g., rise by 2 percent every month for the next three years) or remain constant. Always include a time dimension in your change objectives.
- Develop distinct initiatives to meet each change objective. (These activities should match those outlined in the strategic plan.)
To assess the effectiveness of your Strategic Measurement, you could:
- The proportion of individuals who can identify the Strategic Measures and which ones are up or down for the most recent period.
- After the implementation of the measure, the degree to which the divergence from the measurement goals diminishes over time.
4. Developing a Strategic Calendar
To guarantee that the Strategic Plan is implemented, it is necessary to create a Strategic Calendar.
The Strategic Calendar displays the Strategic Planning procedures and events of an organization, as well as their interrelationships.
In an ideal situation, the Strategic Calendar should reflect a yearly planning cycle. These are the objectives of the Strategic Calendar:
1. Ensure continuing Strategic Dialogue, Planning, and Metrics. Frequently, Strategic Planning is an annual event, and nothing else is done to ensure that organization-wide strategy is considered throughout the year.
The Strategic Calendar should guarantee that various components of the strategy receive continuing and consistent attention on a rotational basis. This guarantees that the Strategic Plan is evaluated and updated constantly.
2. Ensure diverse levels of strategic dialogue, planning, and measurement. Clearly, a company would prefer not to examine and revise its whole strategy on a regular basis. This would add uncertainty into the process, diminishing the benefits of Strategic Planning.
The Strategic Calendar should dissect the Strategic Planning process into several levels and components, ensuring that each is addressed in a logical and methodical manner.
3. Integrate the procedures and events of Strategic Planning with those of other organizational roles.
Strategic Planning is a component of the larger organisational process, and it is notably interconnected with Financial Planning and Human Resource Planning (particularly performance appraisal and incentivisation).
The Strategic Calendar should represent these interdependencies, ensuring that each task is viewed as an integral part of the broader total, as opposed to a tedious obligation.
5. Integrating Strategic Dialogue
Finally, the organization is prepared to include Strategic Dialogue into its fundamental communications fabric. Strategy entails building the metaphors and mental models that underpin how individuals see the organization.
Refer to The Strategist as Playwright for a metaphor on the Strategist’s role in composing the discourse of the organization.
The amount to which individuals discuss the organization using the metaphors and mental models generated during Strategic Dialogue reveals the degree to which people have internalized the strategy or “bought into” it.
This internalization of metaphors and mental models will also direct their day-to-day actions, ensuring that the organization is Strategy-Oriented.
What Is A Lack Of Strategic Perspective?
When “lack of strategic perspective” is highlighted as a subject for leadership development, emerging and seasoned leaders frequently interpret this as an inability to formulate strategy.
Therefore, the simplest way is to collaborate closely with the strategy teams and strive to become more proficient at developing long-term business strategies and appealing ideas. Others conflate strategic thinking with a lack of long-term orientation — the capacity to establish long-term objectives and retain a future-focused perspective.
A lack of strategic perspective is a preoccupation with the concrete and immediate – what I know – as opposed to the larger and philosophical. It requires visualizing what may actually be and being able to prioritize current tasks that provide the most value and effect, as opposed to placing a premium on “busyness.”
How to Enhance Your Strategic Orientation?
Set aside time each day for reflection. Create a room or location where you cannot be disturbed. Close Outlook and place your smart phone on silent mode. Those communications may wait an hour. Utilize this opportunity to develop a deeper grasp of the corporation as a whole, outside your department and the current business climate.
Determine the interrelationships between your duties and the goals of others. Read more widely in order to have a better understanding of market trends and rival actions. Create summaries, give your perspective, and solicit feedback.
Be Curious and Creative
Increase your curiosity. This requires maintaining an open mind and persistently asking questions, much like a scientist or youngster attempting to make sense of a new environment. Ask yourself continually: What is occurring outside of my function or organization? Try not to think or act as you have in the past.
Examine your previous presumptions and be receptive to fresh ideas. Instead than focusing on why ideas won’t work, ask yourself “what if?” questions. When constraints and apparent restrictions are eliminated, creativity occurs.
Make time to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders. Schedule coffee chats across functions and business divisions in order to gain a deeper grasp of ground realities, existing limits, and future ambitions.
Externally, participate in industry “meet-ups,” forums, and conferences to identify overall systemic trends, issues, and cause-and-effect links, as well as innovation in your business. This will assist guarantee that your perspective is not very inwardly oriented and allow you to gaze both within and outwardly.
Prioritize And Work Agile
Think before acting. Simple advise but tough to execute. Be disciplined in your time and effort allocation. Delay taking action so that you may utilize the limited time you have each day in the most effective manner. This is also “serious job,” so you shouldn’t feel bad.
This will prevent you from mistaking activity for productivity. Be receptive to shifting your priorities based on fresh insights generated by a heightened strategic orientation, act on early discoveries, and be prepared to change course to maximize on opportunities and reduce dangers.
Strategic orientation means being aware of your business environment and how it affects your sales. It’s how well you understand the market you’re in and how well you can influence it. It’s about understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a company and what those weaknesses are.
Strategic orientation is an essential part of business for long-term success and growth. Strategic orientation means knowing who you are and where you’re going in life.
As a company grows, its strategy should also grow. That’s why strategic orientation is so important. It allows you to take a proactive approach to growing your business instead of having to react to everything that happens.