Strategic Organization

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Strategic Orientation is a focus on the big picture, an attention to defining the future direction of the enterprise, and in using this definition to direct and guide the efforts of all in the organization.  The 5 Levels of Strategic Orientation

Most people would agree that Strategic Orientation is a positive factor for organisations. But what does that mean? How do you determine how Strategically Oriented your organisation is, and what can you do to improve the situation?

There are 5 levels of Strategic Orientation. Each one builds on the previous one, providing you with a road map and a measure of progress towards Strategic Orientation. The 5 levels are: 

Engaging in Strategic Dialogue 
Strategic Planning 
Strategic Measurement 
Developing a Strategic Calendar 
Integrating Strategic Dialogue 
Engaging in Strategic DialogueThe first step towards Strategic Orientation is, very simply, to start talking about strategy. According to Dr. Robert Kaplan (personal communication, 2000), 85% of Executive Teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. If an executive team can't find the time to lift their sights of the day to day operational and tactical issues to talk about strategy, then it should come as not surprise that it will not become an organisational priority. The organisation is likely to remain in "fire-fighting" mode indefinitely.

It is easy enough to actually measure the amount of time executives spend discussing strategy. The optimum time will, of course, depended on the competitiveness of the industry in which they operate (refer to Porter's 5 Forces model for one method of determining industry competitiveness). Sheer length of discussion though, whilst a good start, is not enough. It is important to focus on the quality of the discussion as well. Quality Strategic Dialogue requires continuing questioning of assumptions (ref: Senge for Double Loop Accounting, Balancing Advocacy and Inquiry). More complex techniques, such as...
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