As an organization, the first step that leaders usually follow is not just a definition of the strategy but also the layers it will have. This arises from the fact that strategy needs to reach all parts of the organization, and in the most relevant manner. Hence strategic management certificate courses talk about the key levels that define any strong and robust strategy – corporate, business and functional. You need to spend time and effort in developing all the three levels, for your organization to be successful.
Let us look at each of these three levels of strategy in some more detail –
Corporate Strategy – This is a general and macro-level strategy which is overarching all the other aspects. It focuses on the purpose of the business, its areas of operations, the goals in terms of markets and target consumers, and the approaches that will be taken to meet those goals. This is an important first step because it helps you clarify your own vision and give it a form that can then be detailed out. It also provides a line of sight to the leaders and employees, both potential and existing, and allows you to define values that you will need to apply for your business’s success. Depending on the size of operations, this will be a simple or complicated process.
Business Strategy – This is the next level where the corporate strategy is percolated down to the business level. This requires some more detailing such as specific steps that will be undertaken within identified approaches, for goal achievement. It also allows different businesses to identify their alignment and linkage with the corporate strategy, and define their growth goals as per that. The go-to-market strategy comes into the picture at this stage as well. Operational details such as resource planning, workforce optimization and delivery, will also become a part of this phase.
Functional Strategy – This is more of a regular and daily strategy which needs to be defined to ensure that the organization is moving towards its goals. This is the bottom level of the strategy pyramid but it is extremely crucial because it can determine the final success. The idea at this stage is to find and work on function-wise goals that are linked to the business, and corporate strategies. Each function has its role to play with respect to business impact. Some play a direct role while others play a contributory one. Those are kept in mind to work on this level.
These are the typical three levels that most organizations, big and small, follow. Each of them is of equal importance.