Strategic management is not merely a subject in business courses. It is an essential area, which can give rise to large scale business problems if the correct steps are not followed. There are many core steps in the entire process of strategic management and many of them are defined as well as described well in the various executive leadership development program. However, at a broad level, the entire process can be categorized into setting the goals or visioning, analyzing the strategy and its SWOT, development of actual strategy, its implementation and then its tracking or evaluation.
Let us take a closer look at each of these.
- Visioning / Setting the goals – Strategy has to be firmly rooted in the actual vision of the business venture or organization. It has to be a reflection of what the organization believes it wants to achieve. So clarifying that vision is important.
- Analyzing the viability – This is a brainstorming stage where many different strategies are usually discussed and their viability assessed. The assessment will depend on market data and information about other aspects that can impact it, internally as well as externally. Collecting and then analyzing that is crucial. The analysis will include a SWOT one too, which allows the company to know which strategy is feasible.
- Developing the strategy –After the analysis, developing the strategy is a big task or step. The strategy gets created based on the goals and information, and viability. It needs to be translated into a more concrete form by defining the milestones, timeframe, impact and scalability.
- Implementing the strategy – Once the blueprint is ready, the strategy needs to undergo implementation. Seeing it in action, with actual impact is what organizations aim for. At times there are challenges in the way it was developed or envisioned and the manner in which it gets implemented. But even so, this is a crucial step that takes strategic management to the next level.
- Evaluating the strategy – This has to be an ongoing process in terms of collecting feedback, assessing what can be applied immediately and what needs to be put onto the back burner, and then adding the feedback in a looped form to make the strategy better. The entire evaluation process and feedback sharing need to be iterative in nature, to have an overall impact.
These are the key steps in strategic management. Following them is the best way to get the results that one requires from the strategy that has been defined. Developing and implementing strategic management is a collaborative effort and not a single person’s role.