Lynsey Heeks in Leadership, HR Manager, Entrepreneurs Director • Professional Futures Ltd Oct 17, 2016 · 1 min read · +400

So what is strategy?

Academics and business leaders have tried to define this term over the years (and as a tutor, so have I), however, it is not as easy as it would seem! Are you the type of leader who thinks that your strategy will just evolve naturally or do you believe that you must carefully analyse the current climate within your industry, anticipate changes and then plan for this?

There are many writers on this topic, one well known expert and Professor at Harvard Business School, Michael Porter, emphasises that organisations must have a strategy to enable them to understand their position in the marketplace and how best to communicate with its stakeholders to gain a competitive advantage.

Planning and effective communication of the plan is at the forefront of strategy. It is paramount that today’s organisations and their leaders, identify and take advantage of their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, continue to identify new opportunities and minimise threats.

Michael Porter once said, ‘strategic plans should not be locked in a safe a night…... employees need to know your strategy…..’ In other words, they should be cascaded down the organisation so that everyone understands the plan.’

This enables everyone at every level in the organisation to see the bigger picture but also enables each team to produce its own strategy. Team leaders can then identify the day to day activities required to ensure that the business achieves its strategic objectives and ultimately, organisational success.

Understanding the external environment is critical to strategy. Consider Brexit. How will UK businesses plan for the future when the future is uncertain? According to the BBC, ‘a group of major business lobby groups has written an open letter urging the government to preserve barrier free trade with Europe….. The letter calls for the government to "give certainty to business by immediately ruling this option out under any circumstances" It is a challenging time for UK businesses. I wonder how many have written more than one strategic plan depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations!

Effective communication is essential to manage strategy effectively. Today’s leaders have a wealth of technology to choose from to help them communicate their plans to the team. However, it often goes wrong! Why is this? Why are leaders often using the wrong communication medium? How do leaders ensure that their team members understand their roles clearly? What other communication barriers present problems in the workplace?

These questions, and many more, will be answered in my next blog. If you’ve enjoyed reading this article on Strategy and would like to find out more, why not join us on our next level 4 course in Leadership and Management starting in November or subscribe to us for all of our updates: what is strategy?

Renée Cormier 17/10/2016 · #1

Nice post, Lynsey. My post on implementing strategic plans is a good complement to this.