Strategic direction can be defined as a course of action that ultimately leads to the achievement of the stated goals of a business or organizational strategy. Strategic direction is established during the strategic planning phase of an organisation. During the strategic planning process an organisation will create a strategic business plan and establish a written vision and mission statement. A strategic business plan differs from a business plan in that the strategic plan focuses on objectives, values, focus areas and performance indicators while a business plan focuses on functions of business that refer back to strategic direction.
Establishing Strategic Business Plan
According to Brian Thompson of All Experts, strategic direction should ideally be established in the planning phase of a new business or organisation. Organizations seeking to energise and reorganise operations should revisit their strategic direction plan yearly. Some organisations revamp the entire direction of the business by establishing strategic direction goals and creating a strategic business plan. A strategic business plan should outline the overall direction, philosophy and purpose of an organisation. A strategic plan will take a thorough and realistic look at the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the stated strategic direction plan. The strategic business plan will also set long-term objectives and establish short-term tactics to make those objectives a reality.
Understanding Strategic Drivers
A strategic driver is a critical factor that can make or break an organisation's strategy. Strategic drivers are the natural movers of the strategic plan that implements the strategic direction of a business or organisation. Strategic drivers translate stated objectives in the strategic business plan into actions supported by resources that have been allocated by the organisation for that purpose. Examples of strategic drivers at Lansing Community College are team-based learning and service learning. These strategic drivers are actionable means by which the college implements the stated strategic goal of educating students in team-based problem solving and social and civic engagement.
Strategic decisions are wide in scope and involve the environment, the people and the resources of the entire business or organisation. They establish the way these entities interact. Strategic decisions are generally factors that determine the success or failure of an organisation's strategy. Tactical decisions determine the day-to-day workings that lead to successful goals of a strategy. Strategic decisions are long-term decisions that impact organizational plans that reflect the vision and mission of the organisation established during the planning of the strategic direction.
According to Execution - MiH, strategic execution management is the process of making the strategic decisions and strategic business plan happen. This type of strategy execution does not affect day-to-day operations or one single departmental plan. Strategy execution drives the underlying strategic business plan of the organisation, which in turn advances the strategic direction of the group. Execution management uses tools and processes to bring the strategic direction and business plan into reality.
Putting it Into Practice
Strategic direction is the driving force for strategic business planning. A stated organizational strategic direction will become the vision or mission statement and may include an ethics statement. A strategic business plan based on a strategic decision statement will usually be no longer than one page. These are the basic goals and values of the organisation. Every decision and program in the entire organisation must always advance these goals and values.