by Doreen Yarnold

Strategic direction setting – a practical process

The diagram illustrates the process through which the core development team will go. This part of the process provides the analytical framework from which vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategies emerge. Although Vision and Mission are covered elsewhere in this resource, they are important components in developing strategic direction, so they are covered in a little detail here, as an integral part of the SDS process.

An understanding of the environment in which an organisation operates is vital for developing strategic direction since what is happening in the wider world could/will impact on you and your organisation.

Interestingly, ‘strategic choices’ emerge as the analyses unfold. Each finished analysis provides the core team with insights and hints about possible futures. By the time all the analyses are completed, the team should be in a position to formulate a preferred strategic direction for the organisation.

SDS process map

Analysis and choice

Many of the following models and tools are to be found elsewhere in this resource, and you may already be familiar with some of them. We have collected them together here so that you can click on those with which you are less familiar.

Taking each of the SDS elements in turn, the team will go through the following process:

  1. Stakeholder analysis and mission
  3. Porter’s five forces
  4. BCG matrix
  5. Directional policy matrix (DPM)
  6. Other analyses
  7. SWOT
  8. Future products and markets
  9. Vision and strategic direction
  10. Goal and objective setting

Once the groundwork has been completed, and the goals and objectives have been set, the team now develops and plans the strategy (or strategies).

  1. Strategy development
  2. Detailed planning
  3. Review and monitoring