Berger Leadership Blog

Here's what to consider in strategy development

Dan and CurtMost companies set aside time for strategic planning each year. This can have different meanings and approaches, but ultimately it helps leadership articulate the long-term vision and ensure continued success. Often, it coincides with budgeting, which is what my organization is in the early stages of.

However, simply holding a strategy development meeting isn't enough on its own. There are many things to consider during this process that require intention and focus. You can't "just wing it."

I came across this Columbia Business School article from leadership expert Willie Pietersen that details the components of an effective strategy. These are sure to help you give strategic development the attention it deserves:

  1. Concept: Thinking must come before acting. I'm sure many of you, like me, have big plans for the growth and development of your organizations. But the reality is, only so much can be accomplished at certain times. From internal factors – like budgetary constraints – to external pressures, we must be smart about our strategy. Strategy is a balancing act, where we must be willing to allocate resources accordingly.

  2. Content: Good strategy produces real results. Pietersen outlines four questions – focused on competition, priorities and implementation – to help companies roadmap their deliverables. He also stresses the difference between strategy and planning:

    "Strategy is about doing the right things. It is about insights, ideas and an external perspective. Planning is about doing things right. It is about numbers and logistics and is internally focused. Strategy comes first and planning follows. Think about running a railroad. Strategy determines where to lay the railroad tracks. Planning makes the trains run on time," Pietersen writes.
  3. Conduct: Once strategy is developed, it must be implemented using a dynamic process of constant learning and renewal, Pietersen says. He then outlines his "strategic learning" process: learn, focus, align and execute. This stresses the importance of gaining insights to the environment in which a company competes so you can then develop and implement a winning strategy.

Keep in mind that creating a solid strategy can only take you so far – it is critical to have the right team, with the right skills and knowledge, in place to execute. Once you've built your team, ensure that you've created a positive company culture that engages employees in the strategy process and acknowledges their contributions to your success.

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About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and has helped expand the association's reputation into becoming a premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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