Different Levels of Strategy
The effort to develop a disciplined and persuasive set of strategies can be strengthened through the creation of several levels of definition, starting with broad themes, issues, and goals, and moving to specific plans and proposed actions.
A content analysis shows that in almost all cases, strategic plans are built explicitly or implicitly around three of four levels of argumentation and explication, although the language used to describe them is very diverse. From the point of view of both the methods of management and leadership, what matters most is the effort to construct strategies through a coherent pattern and sequence of analysis and argumentation.
It is helpful to develop strategy at the four levels of (1) strategic initiatives, (2) Strategies, (3) goals, and (4) actions. The terminology used in the literature and in the practice of strategic planning is widely variable and determined by context, thought there is almost always a set of terms that parallel the usages proposed.
Based on context and usage, it becomes clear that one plan’s “strategic initiatives” are another’s “strategies,” “directions,” “themes,” “issues,” or “goals.” what some documents designate simply “strategies,” we are differentiating here as “strategic initiatives,” and designated as “goals” or even “objectives.”
We, and many others, reserve the word “goal” for a specific and measurable target of opportunity, but the word frequently used for this is “objective.” We call the fourth and most specific level “actions,” which is the predominant usage, though it is also common to refer to this stage of strategy as “tactics.” And so it goes in the terminology of strategy, making it impossible to establish definitive terms of art or usage. The least one can expect, however, is a definition and justification for the term chosen, as well as a sense of the levels and forms of strategic thinking as a pattern of argumentation.
STRATEGIC INITIATIVE – A theme that describes one of the major issues, priorities, or aspirations in the strategic plan, consisting of one or more strategies, each of which is defined by goals
SITUATION ANALYSIS – A rationale that gives the evidence and reasons for the significance of the strategic initiative in terms of the institution’s identity, mission, vision, and position
STRATEGIES – A strategic initiative usually has several strategic projects or programs within it. They each define a discrete activity with one or more goals that address one aspect of the larger theme. Each strategy has a rationale and a definable pattern of accountability with measurable goals, designated responsibilities, deadlines, and actions.
GOALS – An aim to achieve results that do not currently exist
MEASUREMENT – Goals are determinable and should be subject to various forms of measurement
ACCOUNTABILITY – The achievement of a goal should be assigned explicitly to groups or individuals who are responsible to attain it.
TIMELINE – The achievement of goals should have milestones and deadlines
ACTIONS – The specific actions that are required to achieve the goal.
This is taken From Strategic Leadership
Written by Arshad. A