20 Questions to make you Strategy Smart

Posted on Jun 30, 2017 :: Guest Insights
Oliver Buechse
Posted by of Insight Publications

It is hard to believe that the longest day of the year is already behind us. When it comes to planning, many organizations have that same notion. “It feels like we just wrapped up last year’s planning, and now we are thinking about 2018 already.” 

While there is often a very clear process for creating a budget for the following year, many business leaders have a less clear picture of strategy and strategic planning. 

Here are 20 questions to guide your thinking on how to approach it.   

Start with strategy fundamentals
1. Do we really need strategy?

2. What exactly is it that we want strategy to do for us?

3. Who has the skills (inside and outside of the organization) to help us achieve that?

Next, create a strategy process architecture 
4. What strategy perspective(s) is/are right for us (corporate, portfolio, business)?

5. For what time horizon should we plan (1 year, 3 years, longer)?

6. How do we ensure collaboration with other planning efforts (Finance, Marketing, HR, IT, Operations)?

You are now ready to move to essential preparations
7. Who needs to be involved in the process and what are their roles?

8. What are our critical resource constraints (capital, skills, manpower, technology capacity, etc.)?

9. Where will we find the data and information to support our planning efforts?

Design your process to include key strategic assessments
10. How can we understand the changes in our external environment (market, technology, competition, etc.)?

11. What is our current performance (operational, sales/marketing, financial, etc.) and what is influencing it?

12. Who are our target customers and how effective are we at reaching them?

13. What is our value proposition/differentiator and how well are we delivering?

Articulate your outcomes in a strategic plan
14. What is our overall direction and what are the key themes?

15. Which ideas and new initiatives give us the highest impact?

16. How do we assign resources to these activities and reconcile with current activities?

Think about the entire strategy lifecycle
17. How do we ensure everyone understands our strategy and is on board?

18. What will it take to support the implementation of the strategy?

19. What are our indicators of success and how will we track them?

20. How will we make changes to our strategy if/when necessary?

While these questions are a helpful orientation, they do not make you a strategy expert. Insight Publications and My Strategy Source have designed a series of compact workshops to help you find answers and provide you with additional information.

The Strategy Bootcamp: A one-day workshop to provide you with an understanding of the various elements of strategy and the strategy process, so you can begin your strategy journey.

The Strategy Basecamp: A five-day workshop series over eight weeks to introduce you to detailed strategy tools and help you apply them to your business. 

Are you ready to get Strategy Smart?

For more information about Strategy Bootcamps and Strategy Basecamps please visit insightonbusiness.com/strategycamps.

About the Author
Oliver Buechse

Oliver Buechse is the Founder of My Strategy Source. In his successful strategy career he held roles at McKinsey, Union Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, and as Chief Strategy Officer at Associated Bank.  He is currently involved in launching the first Open Financial Education Marketplace (MyMazuma), raising the awareness in Wisconsin of technology impact through Artificial Intelligence (ACTION Wisconsin) and improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northeast Wisconsin for fast growth businesses (Forum for Innovation).