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Explore your go-to resource for all things strategy by diving into in-depth interviews, thought leadership articles, white papers and more. Learn about building strategic excellence from some of the top business leaders, academics and strategists globally

Strategy Unscripted Interviews

Massimo Calvelli
CEO ATP Tour
Jos Sclater
Former CFO Ultra Electronics
Andrew Willdig
VP Global Customers Gunnebo

Strategy Shorts

Introduction to Vision & Mission Statements
Introduction to Market Matrix

Blogs

Apr 11, 2024
Three Horizons: A Framework for Long-Term Business Growth
Picture your strategy as a journey guiding your organization from its current position to a new state. This future destination should be ...
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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference between Vision and Mission Statements?

A vision statement is a vivid depiction of how a company will appear in the future if its strategy proves successful. Think about the etymology of the word “vision,” derived from the Latin word “vidēre,” meaning “to see.” If you were to look at your company 10 or more years from now, what would you see? How would the company look?

By establishing a clear picture of how the company should appear in the future, the vision statement serves as a North star, an illuminating beacon that guides the organization towards its intended destination. A compelling vision has the power to foster alignment among employees, enabling them to proactively anticipate emerging trends, embrace change, and seize new opportunities within the competitive business environment, all in pursuit of achieving that shared vision.

A mission statement, instead, articulates the core purpose of a company, its raison d’être. It clarifies why the organization exists and explains its core ideology, namely an identity that holds true independently of market cycles, individual leaders, and managerial trends. Therefore, a crucial distinction from the vision statement lies in the fact that the mission should already be tangible and apparent in the company’s present operations.

A thoughtfully crafted mission statement offers employees a deep sense of purpose and identity, nurturing a collective ethos marked by dedication and loyalty. It provides a strategic roadmap for decision-making, guaranteeing that all endeavours are in harmony with its values. Furthermore, it inspires confidence, attracting customers, investors, and individuals who resonate with the company’s values.

Learn more about vision and mission statements.

Why Is Strategy Important?

Strategy serves as a company’s roadmap, guiding the organization to achieve sustainable growth and success. It does so in a variety of ways: it defines what the organization aims to achieve and how it plans to accomplish those objectives; it ensures that all activities and resources within the organization are aligned and allocated toward common goals; it helps the organization gain a competitive advantage by identifying unique strengths and capabilities that differentiate it from competitors; it enables the organization to anticipate and respond effectively to both threats and opportunities; and it fosters alignment and engagement among stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and partners. In essence, any organization, regardless of its size or structure, must have a strategy.

What Is Corporate Strategy?

Corporate strategy revolves around addressing two fundamental questions.

First: What businesses should the organization engage in? This involves crucial decisions such as where to enter, where to exit, where to invest, and consequently, how to allocate resources across various business units or functions.

Second: What role should the head office play? This focuses on how the head office interacts with its business units. The underlying concept is that the head office should exert influence over its businesses in a manner that enables it to create more value than any of their competitors would if they owned those businesses—a concept referred to in strategy literature as “parenting advantage.” Therefore, to add value, the head office must identify opportunities for improvement within the businesses and determine how to intervene effectively to turn that improvement potential into reality.

Learn more about corporate strategy.

What Is Business Strategy?

Business strategy focuses on answering the question: How will a specific business unit or segment of the organization compete within its chosen market or industry? This involves considerations such as target market, product offerings, pricing, distribution channels, and branding. By addressing these aspects, the business unit aims to establish a sustainable edge over rivals and achieve its long-term goals and objectives within the broader framework of the organization’s overall strategy.

Learn more about the difference between corporate, business, and functional strategy.

How To Develop a Robust Strategy

The strategy formulation journey involves several key steps.

First, it’s crucial to define the company’s Vision, Mission, and Level of Ambition. This sets the overarching direction and purpose, providing a clear framework for strategic decision-making.

Second, conducting a thorough Internal Analysis is essential to identify the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. This entails mapping the company’s value chain and evaluating its internal capabilities to leverage strengths and address weaknesses effectively.

Third, an External Analysis is conducted to identify opportunities and threats in the broader business environment. This involves assessing market trends, competitor behavior, regulatory changes, and other external factors that may impact the organization.

With insights from both the Internal and External analyses, the next step is to leverage this information along with the defined Level of Ambition to define Strategic and Enabling Priorities. These priorities should align with the company’s Vision and Mission while capitalizing on strengths, addressing weaknesses, exploiting opportunities, and mitigating threats. By following these steps, organizations can develop a robust strategy that guides decision-making and drives sustainable growth.

Learn more about the key choices underpinning a robust strategy.

What Is the Balanced Scorecard?

The balanced scorecard is a strategic management framework meant to help organizations translate their vision and strategy into actionable objectives beyond just financial metrics. Developed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton in the early 1990s, the balanced scorecard adopts four perspectives: Financial, Customer, Internal Business Process, and Learning and Growth.

The Financial perspective addresses the question: “To succeed financially, how should we appear to our shareholders?” This encompasses metrics such as revenue compound annual growth rate, EBIT margin, return on invested capital, and cash ratio.

The Customer perspective addresses the question: “To achieve our vision, how should we appear to our customers?” This encompasses metrics such as Net Promoter Score, customer churn, customer lifetime value, conversion rate, and market share.

The Internal Business Process perspective addresses the question: “To satisfy our shareholders and customers, what business processes must we excel at?” This comprises metrics such as capacity utilization, quality ranking, order fulfillment cycle time, and time to market.

The Learning and Growth perspective addresses the question: ” To achieve our vision, how will we sustain our ability to change and improve?” This covers metrics such as employee engagement score, percentage of employees trained in company culture, product vitality index, and number of patents.

Furthermore, in recent years, there has been a significant surge in interest concerning matters related to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), driven by the increasing demand from both investors and the general public for enhanced transparency and socially responsible management practices from companies. Several studies have indicated that integrating ESG impact measures into the core of an organization’s strategy can help sustain its competitive advantage.

Therefore, ESG metrics could be considered a fifth additional perspective answering the question, “To achieve our vision and satisfy our shareholders and customers, how are we dealing with ESG-related matters?” This comprises metrics such as emissions intensity, supply chain labor standards, board diversity, and gender pay gap.

Learn more about the balanced scorecard.

 

What Is PESTEL Analysis?

PESTEL analysis is a strategic framework used by organizations to assess and understand the external factors that can influence their operations and strategic decisions.

The acronym stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors. Each of these factors represents a distinct aspect of the external environment that can impact the organization. Political factors encompass government policies and regulations, such as tax policy, labor law, and trade agreements. Economic factors include aspects such as inflation, economic growth, and exchange rates. Social factors focus on societal trends, demographics, and cultural aspects that may affect the organization. Environmental factors consider ecological and environmental issues that the organization may face or contribute to, while legal factors encompass laws, regulations, and legal issues relevant to the organization’s operations.

By conducting a PESTEL analysis, organizations can gain insights into the opportunities and threats posed by the external environment, enabling them to make informed strategic decisions and effectively adapt to changing circumstances.

Why Is the SWOT Analysis Important?

The SWOT analysis, an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, is a technique that holds paramount importance in the realm of strategic planning and decision-making.

First, it serves as a diagnostic tool, offering a comprehensive snapshot of an organization’s internal and external landscape. By carefully scrutinizing internal strengths and weaknesses, organizations can identify areas of competitive advantage and potential vulnerabilities. Simultaneously, the assessment of external opportunities and threats enables proactive adaptation to emerging trends and mitigation of potential risks.

Moreover, the holistic insights gleaned from the SWOT analysis are crucial to generating a strategic roadmap for maximizing strengths, minimizing weaknesses, capitalizing on opportunities, and navigating threats, thereby fostering sustained growth and resilience in an ever-evolving landscape.

Learn more about how the SWOT analysis is used to define Strategic Priorities.

What Is the Ansoff Matrix?

The Ansoff Matrix, also referred to as the Product/Market Expansion Grid, is a tool used to support companies in analyzing and planning their growth strategies by considering the possible risks and rewards of different growth opportunities. Developed by Igor Ansoff in 1957, the matrix consists of four quadrants, each representing different strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. Market penetration involves selling more of the existing products to existing markets, while market development entails entering new markets with existing products. Product development focuses on introducing new products to existing markets, and diversification involves venturing into entirely new markets with new products. By evaluating these strategies, businesses can make informed decisions to drive sustainable growth and navigate competitive landscapes effectively.

What Are OKRs?

OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are a goal-setting framework used by organizations to create focus, alignment, and commitment around ambitious business goals.

Objectives represent significant and inspiring goals that articulate what is to be achieved, providing clear direction and purpose. Key Results are specific, measurable, ambitious yet achievable outcomes that indicate progress toward achieving the objectives. They serve as concrete metrics that enable teams to assess their performance and adjust their approaches accordingly.

OKRs encourage transparency, alignment, and accountability within teams, fostering a culture of focus and execution. Originating in the 1970s, OKRs have become a widely adopted methodology across various industries due to their effectiveness in driving results and fostering continuous improvement.

What Are KPIs?

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are quantifiable measures that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives. These indicators are vital for businesses as they provide a clear understanding of whether the organization is on track to meet its goals or if adjustments need to be made.

KPIs vary across different industries and businesses, but they typically include critical areas such as revenue growth, customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and operational efficiency. By tracking KPIs, organizations can identify areas for improvement, make informed decisions, and allocate resources effectively to drive success. Ultimately, KPIs serve as a compass guiding businesses towards their desired goals and facilitating continuous improvement in performance.

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