Strategic Planning

Has your company defined a clear growth strategy centered on a “hedgehog concept” that rivets it attention on a single overriding goal? Are its operational priorities consistent with that direction? We will work with a company’s management team to develop a coherent strategy, sorting out priorities from the many competing opportunities. Often a good way to start is with an off-site management retreat to assess the business at its most fundamental level: its mission, values, strategic intent, core competencies, corporate objectives, and strategic planks. The result of this process may be a formal, written document that charts a roadmap for implementing the company’s strategy and becomes a blueprint for change. Some of the key elements in any strategic plan are:

  • Business Definition: What business are we in? How should we define the boundaries of the playing field within which we will operate?
  • Company Mission: Why are we in business? Why should our employees or customers care about our success?
  • Company Values: What are the ground rules by which we will operate? What principles are important for us to adhere to and how will we communicate these to our various stakeholders?
  • Purpose/Strategic Intent: What overriding business goal will we commit to accomplishing over the next 5-10 years? (E.g., market leadership? –technology innovation? –financial performance?)
  • Hedgehog Concept/Business Strategy: What are the key elements of our business strategy? Do we have a single minded focus on a unique hedgehog strategy? Have we chartered a course into blue ocean waters, or limited ourselves to fighting it out in shark infested waters with competitors pursuing similar strategies?
  • Business Model: Have we properly defined the value proposition and operating structure we will follow to achieve our financial objectives (e.g., revenue model, in house versus outsourcing, value chain)?
  • Core Competencies: In what areas can the company achieve best-in-class performance? What weaknesses need to be bolstered to achieve the company’s goals.
  • Growth Plan: What strategic innovations, new products, service enhancements and market expansion will accelerate our growth? How should we plan, finance and execute these programs? How can your external market research methods and internal new product development processes be improved?
  • Company Objectives: What are the company’s short and medium term financial and operational goals? Are they properly defined and have they been communicated to the organization in a way that is concrete and motivational?
  • Operating Plans: Have specific operating priorities and plans been developed to pursue the new strategic directions and achieve the desired goals? Has implementation been assigned to different team members following a divide and conquer approach?

Chandler has been developing and implementing strategic plans for companies since he prepared the first formal strategic planning documents for Bell & Howell Company and Sara Lee Corporation in the early 1970s. As a CEO, he instituted thorough planning processes building on the best practices employed by McKinsey, Arthur D. Little and General Electric. By teaching courses in strategy at two universities, plus giving numerous guest lectures elsewhere, he has stayed current on the latest literature in the field. As a consultant, he has recently implemented planning processes at several smaller companies, including a surgery center and an apparel company. With most clients, much of his focus has centered on how to accelerate top line growth.