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Strategic and Enabling Priorities: Guiding your Strategic Journey to Success
Formulating a robust strategy is essential for organizations to stay competitive and achieve their ultimate vision. Think of strategy as a journey, comprising a series of coordinated, future-oriented, and sustainable actions that will guide the company from its current state to a new, different place. This future destination must be described in an inspiring, yet always attainable, Vision statement. In turn, the Vision statement should be complemented by a small set of measurable targets, known as the Level of Ambition, to ensure that there is no room for ambiguity regarding the final destination that the company aims to reach—think of it as the precise GPS coordinates of the destination. Now, the question arises: how does a company go from the current state to the desired future state? The answer lies in defining Strategic and Enabling Priorities.
Strategic Priorities: The Path to Growth and Resilience
Strategic priorities encompass long-term objectives that stem from a careful analysis of the marketplace. These priorities are driven by a deliberate choice to grow in specific market spaces or to strengthen the organization against external forces. To identify Strategic priorities, companies need to perform two types of analysis: Internal analysis, to identify the company’s own core strengths and core weaknesses; External Analysis, to identify available opportunities and potential threats. By grouping market opportunities and threats and aligning them with their own core strengths and weaknesses, organizations can identify clusters that form the foundation of their Strategic priorities.
Enabling Priorities: Strengthening the Organizational Backbone
While Strategic priorities focus on market-driven growth, Enabling priorities address the internal workings of an organization. These priorities cut across all market spaces and seek to answer the fundamental question: How will we transform and strengthen the organization to enable it to achieve our strategic priorities? By addressing three key levers – Enabling Systems, People, and Organization – organizations assess whether they have the right digital infrastructure, skilled workforce, and organizational structure to support their strategic objectives.
Formulating the Strategic Priorities: Words and Numbers Working in Harmony
Each Strategic priority is first defined in words, expressing it as a clear and concise objective with additional details. For example, an objective might be to become the market leader in specific geographic areas while expanding presence in new regions. The “how” part is equally important, where organizations outline the actions and initiatives to achieve these objectives.
However, words alone can be open to interpretation, which is why it’s essential to associate each priority with a set of impact measures or numbers. Impact measures quantify the effects of the Strategic priorities, encompassing factors such as revenues, gross margin, and operating expenses. By aligning these impact measures with the Level of Ambition, organizations can ensure that each priority contributes to their ultimate vision.
Enabling Priorities: After Strategic Priorities
Since Enabling priorities are meant to improve the internal workings of the organization to enable it to achieve its Strategic priorities, the choice of Enabling priorities will depend entirely on the selection of Strategic priorities. In other words, choosing Enabling priorities comes after defining Strategic priorities, as they are inherently transversal and touch upon every market space. The impact metrics for Enabling priorities differ from those related to Strategic priorities, with a focus on general cost savings and process optimization, potentially contributing to improved EBITDA.
In conclusion, both Strategic and Enabling priorities are crucial and indispensable, as they represent the initial fundamental choice of what to do and what not to do in the future in order to achieve the desired Vision and Level of Ambition. These priorities serve as the fundamental building blocks of a well-defined strategy. By carefully crafting and aligning them with the organization’s Vision and Level of Ambition, companies can navigate the complex business landscape with clarity and purpose. This strategic approach will not only guide them on the path to growth and resilience but also strengthen the organizational backbone to overcome challenges and achieve success. By continually reassessing and refining these priorities, organizations can remain agile and adaptable in an ever-changing business environment.
SiA: Strategy in Action
Curious to learn more about the process of identifying Strategic and Enabling priorities? COTRUGLI Business School is the official distributor of the Strategy in Action (SiA) program in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. SiA is an end-to-end strategy program that integrates the innovative SiA Platform, expert workshops, and impactful coaching to empower businesses in devising and implementing more resilient, efficient, and effective strategies.
By providing a user-friendly interface, the platform simplifies the visualization of various market opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses identified during the Internal and External analyses. It enables companies to strategically group and cluster these factors, helping them discern the most promising areas of focus. By leveraging the platform’s capabilities, companies gain valuable insights into the quantitative and qualitative aspects of their priorities, ensuring a well-informed and data-driven decision-making process that aligns with their overall Vision and Level of Ambition.
Unlock the full potential of your organization with SiA and transform your strategic execution! Learn more about our SiA Platform here.