Every decision your organization faces is made within limited resources. A long-term strategy ensures you are making the best choices.
A sound strategy involves understanding and applying your best resources. The consequences of strategy can be powerful, so it is critical to examine the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.
Review your organization’s history and note its strongest successes. What did the organization do to create them? Identify those strengths that contributed. Your organization’s greatest strengths are those that are repeated across accomplishments.
Look at your organization’s greatest shortfalls, at what it did incorrectly or failed to do. This leads to identifying its greatest weaknesses. Consider all resources including financial, human, and time.
Align your perception of strengths and weaknesses with your assessment of societal and market trends over the next five years. What are the opportunities and threats in the future? This is the context for making strategic choices.
Discover your most powerful strategic opportunities by reviewing trends and changes in demographics, social attitudes, technology, economics, politics, and competition. This helps to identify which customer needs will continue to strengthen, unfold and grow.
Using the same time perspective examine disappearing needs and wants to determine your greatest threats. How do your competitors’ actions better serve your clients?
Identify your strategic advantages. Where can your greatest strengths work to exploit the most powerful opportunities? What does your organization do best to put it an advantage over all competitors?
Strategic disadvantages can lead to decisions to abandon or rebuild. Abandonment involves pulling resources from one pursuit for use in serving a more current or future one. If the organization cannot abandon a pursuit, then investment will need to be realigned to ensure the training, skills and resources required to meet the new direction.
Focus your best resources on your greatest opportunities. These are the decisions with the most powerful long-term returns.