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The Leader's Task
Understand the Concepts
Pick a Method
   - Scenarios
   - Bottom Up
   - Team Based
Setup the Team
Organize Their Research
Find Research Sources
Plan the Meetings
Prioritize the Opportunities
Write the Action Plans
Compute a Strategy's Value
Prepare the Documents
  - Mission and Vision

Growth, Cost Containment, Innovation

Growth, cost containment and the need to be innovative to stay ahead of the competition are the fundamental tensions between the three perspectives people bring to the discussion when they formulate strategy, and they are often very assertive about these issues.

Strategy Formulation Process approaches and tensionsPositioners seek the best total return, usually Return on Investment (ROI) or Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) through profitable growth, and they must concentrate on the firm's high margin customers. Typically, they are folks who measure and report on performance: the CFO, Finance, Product Managers, Sales, Marketing. These folks tend to direct work top down. Ultimately, the owner positions the firm for sustained profitability.

Adapters also seek growth but they are working with customers daily and must respond to their needs, to improve the product or service and get it to the customer before the competition. They must be innovative and tend to think bottom up lobbying for change, which may not be focused on the most profitable choices. Innovation is hard and expensive with many failures. Typically they are from Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, product fulfillment. A fatal flaw, a trap to avoid, is where adapters are there to "fix the firm" rather than to improve core and carefully expand to provide the customer more benefits.

Aligners have to produce the work, provide the service. They own the processes, want clear priorities, clear linkages of all the activities performed, specific objectives, personal accountability and most of all, time to do it right (effective) and smart (efficient). They own most of the budget. They see rapid, unfocused change as expensive, wasteful and will resist ideas that are not practical and pragmatic. They are the core of a firm's culture and its success.

The tensions are necessary, the core of the conversations from which strategy emerges, and as the strategic planning consultant, I will the focus each group on common ground: customer benefits, sustainable, profitable earnings and sharing assets. Secondly, I'll ensure the team has a robust set of options or approaches.

The website will provide detailed advice on the process and methods to guide those discussions.

Next, the concepts and language of strategy.

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