Thomas E. Ambler, Senior Consultant
Note: This post is a part of a series taken from Tom Ambler’s article Strategic Issues: The Pivotal Process for Strategic Success previously published in Compass Points in July 1999. In this part we will introduce the series and discuss What is a Strategic Issue?
REALIZE YOUR POTENTIAL! Is that what you want for yourself and your company? What is your company’s potential? Do you have a vision of it?
Yes? That’s why you use Simplified Strategic Planning, isn’t it? In the Simplified Strategic Planning process you build toward your strategy – your vision for the longer term, the course and direction you need to take to maximize your potential. Then, for the short term you make sure that your resources line up and are focused on achieving your vision.
Good strategy takes more than just strong desire. Good strategy requires good input and analysis. It also requires good decision-making. That’s what the exercise known as “STRATEGIC ISSUES” is all about. It is a pivotal step in the strategic planning process that deals with answering the “Big Strategic Questions.”
Successful identification and resolution of Strategic Issues results from combining both content and process elements, big and small, effectively and smoothly.
What is a Strategic Issue?
A Strategic Issue is, first of all, an issue – an unresolved question needing a decision or waiting for some clarifying future event. Secondly, it is strategic and has major impact on the course and direction of the business. It probably relates directly to one or more of the fundamental “Three Strategic Questions”:
- What are we going to sell?
- To whom are we going to sell it?
- How will we beat or avoid our competition?
Strategic Issues lie right at the heart of the business. Correspondingly, the process step dealing with Strategic Issues lies right at the heart of Simplified Strategic Planning.
In your planning process, does your team truly understand what constitutes a strategic issue, and what is necessary to do to explore the issue and come to a resolution, if possible? If your team is having difficulty with this concept, let the strategists at CSSP, Inc. help the team gain the perspective and understanding necessary to properly analyze and resolve your strategic issues. Please contact Elizabeth at 734-995-3465 for help.
In the next part of this series we will discuss How Does the Strategic Issues Process Relate to the Rest of the Simplified Strategic Planning Process?
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Tom Ambler is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at [email protected]