The big idea
For a business to succeed, it is vital that the right strategic choices are made. A strategy is about giving the business a clear direction and purpose. It has been proposed by Henry Mintzberg that strategy can take different forms. It can be a:
- Plan: some sort of planned course of action
- Ploy: it outlines a manoeuvre to outwit a competitor
- Pattern: it is about putting the plan into action and recognising the behaviours that result. Be aware that not all outcomes are intended, or ‘planned’, and that there is an emergent aspect to strategy
- Position: it locates a business in a particular environment at a specific point in time. It is externally focused
- Perspective: it is about the viewpoint of those running the business. It is internally derived and shows the personality of the business
On this basis, a good strategy gives a clear sense of direction but is flexible. It recognises the position of the business within its external environment. It moves people to action and reflects the intentions and viewpoints of its creators.
This tool is designed to help you explore all the strategic options available to your business. It encourages you to make a rigorous assessment of where your business is now and what options might be available in the short, medium and longer term. It offers a spectrum of options from reduction to growth and asks you to consider what is feasible in terms of future direction. It deliberately includes some tough options, like closure, to ensure you consider the full range of possibilities. This may not be an exhaustive list of options for your circumstances: do feel free to add others.
This tool includes two stages of strategic planning. Firstly, it is a framework for reviewing different strategic options. Secondly, the ‘options grid’ offers criteria for analysing the relative benefits of the different options that you might be considering. It is best done as a group and is suitable for businesses of all scales. It will take you several hours to complete.