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How to build a successful strategy - Ron Finlay Communications

How to build a successful strategy - Ron Finlay Communications

A supplier on ESPO Framework 664-21 - Ron Finlay Communications - provides top tips on how to build a successful strategy for your organisation.

‘Vision’, ‘mission’, ‘values’ - these are all words that get bandied about in corporate discussions about strategy. But what do they actually mean? How should they be used to help make an organisation really successful?

Let’s start with ‘Vision’. This should define how you would like the world to look in the far future, if you are ultimately successful. For Oxfam, this is ‘A Just World Without Poverty’.

Intermediate staging posts on the way to that vision might be called ‘Strategic Aims’ – or just ‘Aims’.

And in the medium term, the organisation should have ‘Objectives’. Ideally, they should be SMART – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Some bodies find ‘Goals’ useful to define their short-term aspirations.

Other important short-term measures are KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. Such as ‘We will increase production by 5% by the end of this year.’ If they are to have any value, you should monitor your achievement against these KPIs regularly. If you’re on track, well done. If you’re slipping behind, investigate why and work out how you can address the causes.

So far, all this has been about WHAT you want to achieve.

The real question for most organisations though is HOW?

This is what the Strategy should tell you. It should set out how you are going to allocate resources – what you are going to prioritise and, by implication, what you are NOT. Don’t forget that if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

The Strategy should be supported by a Business Plan giving the details of activities, their timing and their budgeted cost, usually over at least one year. This should be tied in to the KPIs and SMART objectives, so that you have a realistic chance of achieving them.

Your Mission is a way of expressing succinctly what you do and what changes to the world you want to make. Google: ‘To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.’

Values are nice to have. If that sounds dismissive, it’s only because it’s hard to avoid motherhood and apple pie. Yes, you may want to promote Integrity, Honesty and Accountability, say – but would any sane organisation ever profess to espouse the opposite?

Organisations often wrap up all these things in a document and call it ‘Strategy’, which has come to be the portmanteau term. But then it often lingers as a document on the shelf, never consulted, never checked and feeling lonely.

To make the most of your investment in a Strategy, treat it as a living organism. Keep it in the light. Check on it regularly. Feed and even prune it occasionally – by inputting new information and tweaking elements as necessary, so that it is fresh and up to date. And then it will serve you well. It will help you make decisions. It will keep you on course. And one day it should enable you to reach your objectives.


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About Ron Finlay Communications

Ron Finlay Communications (RFC) helps public sector organisations present themselves effectively to their customers, staff, service users, the media and other stakeholders. Whether you’re in education, the emergency services, central or local government, the NHS or the charitable and housing sector, RFC can provide the communications support you need.