“Given the importance of the annual strategy review, how should the process be managed to make it a positive experience and a valuable exercise both for the participants and the overall enterprise?”
Strategic CA(SA): The annual strategy review
There is a clock, compass and calendar built into the human condition. Marking the passage of time, pausing to take our bearings and assess our progress, and observing the recurring cycles of life are universal features of human existence. As we progress from one year to the next, there is a natural tendency to review the highlights and achievements of the past year and to contemplate the goals and plans for the year ahead. Strategic management in the context of any enterprise is a manifestation of this basic human need to frame the past and to shape the future.
The annual strategy review is a signal event in the calendar of most enterprises. Often designed as a strategy workshop, it is a time when senior executives, as well as non-executive board members, come together to review the performance of the enterprise, assess the changes and trends in the internal and external business environment, review (and revise as required) the enterprise's vision and strategy, and determine what is required for the successful execution of the revised strategy. An effective annual strategy review can serve to re-energise the enterprise, clarify its vision, redirect and focus its efforts, and raise it to totally new levels of performance.
As many would agree though, the annual strategy review does not always live up to its promise, often due to poor management of the underlying strategic management process. Participants fail to develop a common perspective or achieve a meaningful consensus on key decisions affecting the enterprise. Consequently the enterprise's strategic plans are not effectively executed and its strategic goals are not achieved. Given the importance of the annual strategy review, how should the process be managed to make it a positive experience and a valuable exercise both for the participants and the overall enterprise?
Based on insights gained through serving various roles in strategic management, including those of participant, leader and facilitator of annual strategy workshops, here are a few guidelines to improve the effectiveness of the annual strategy review.
As one year ends and another begins, now is a good time to frame the past and shape the future, at both an enterprise level and a personal level. Best wishes for the new year. asa
Author: Troy Dyer CA(SA), MBA, CFA, is a strategy coach at Audax Ideas.
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