Bill Crawford's Blog

Strategic Management - Part 2

In our first discussion of Strategic Management and Planning (found in the February print and on-line editions of the Natural Food Merchandiser), we talked a bit about what Strategic Management is – and what it is not.

It is a smart thing to do, but it isn’t the output of those who are innately smart – it is the output of those that are willing to do the hard work of researching and analyzing the world in which their company operates. It is only from this kind of hard work that you will gain the insights necessary to plot a strategic course that will lead you through tough times. I want to continue along those lines a bit, but also I want to get a bit deeper into the types of things that are a part of the steps in the Strategic Management process. Check out the chart found at this web site - This is a very solid, “events-in-the-order-of-their-happening” look at the Strategic Management process. Company Mission Company Profile (From these first two items, we want to look at what “is” and what “is possible” External Environment (When adding this to the first two, we want to look at what “is desired” Strategic Analysis and Choice Long-Term Objectives – Grand Strategy Annual (or Short-Term) Objectives – Functional Strategy Policies Implementation of the Strategy Controls and Evaluation Our plan is to follow this listing over the next blog posts and printed articles to give some details and insight into each of these steps to help you get a handle on how to map out a Strategic Plan for your business.

However, I do want to show you one more chart while still talking about an overview of this vital subject. Check this out -

Here we have a different way of hooking most of these same elements together. The three main elements are Strategic Analysis, Strategic Choice and Strategic Implementation. Logic would tell us that these three would be carried out in this order – Analysis, Choice and Implementation. Tied to Analysis are Values, Expectations and Objections (Mission), The Environment, and Resources. Tied to Choice are Generation of Options, Evaluation of Options, and Selection of Strategy. Lastly, tied to Implementation are People and Systems, Organization Structure, and Resource Planning. The structure and flow of this chart ends up being very similar to the first one – but the look is very different. Why did I bring it up? I do think that this look has the reality to it that some things have to happen “at the same time” to be effective. For example, one of the concepts that we will be discussing not too far down the line is the S.W.O.T. Analysis: a look at Strengths and Weaknesses (which are internal) and Opportunities and Threats (which are external). The question always arises – do I do the internal or the external first? How do you know what is a strength or a weakness until you see the opportunities and threats? Conversely, how do you know what is an opportunity or threat until you see what strength and weaknesses you have? Doing them both at the same time gives a greater understanding of them both. That is why I brought up this second chart. While the “big three” (Analysis, Choice and Implementation) have to be done in order, the sub-steps within them don’t have to be done in a formal step-by-step manner. Doing them ad hoc, or at the same time, or so that they overlap each other, etc. may make them much more effective! Enjoy the charts – and some thinking along these lines. I’ll respond to any comments that I get in the mean time, but I’ll be posting some thoughts and examples of role of the CEO or leader in this process in about ten days.
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