Culture and strategy implementation is a mission critical goal for every manager, leader and business owner. Businesses need strategy like roses need rain. Leadership and strategy go hand in hand. The management of strategy development, however, is typically described in terms of strategic planning and analytical systems. 

Strategic Thinking, however, is even more important but less well developed.  Getting to grips with a strategic thinking and a strategic planning process is central to creating business advantage and mastering the strategy challenge.
The purpose of Strategic Planning is to put into operation the potential and possibilities developed through strategic thinking.  It is a much more analytical, structured, conventional, and formal process. 
But it’s the psychological, mental, even spiritual dimension of Strategic Thinking that emotionalises and transforms the strategy process.
I call it, therefore, Emotional Strategy.
 Once the strategy team embrace much higher quality emotional approach sustainable planning emerges. 
It’s clear, total, pure, real strategy in action.
Here is a seven step framework to moved you towards shared emotional strategy.  The first three or four steps are the thinking process and the final steps are the traditional analytical planning steps:
Step One:  Current Situation Analysis
All good strategy starts with an analysis of your current state of affairs.  There is a host of strategic tools you can use to establish exactly where you are in the market place and on your journey forward.  What are your critical (live or die) success factors?  What are your core competencies?  What is your competitive advantage (cost leadership, differentiation, technology, innovation)?  What business are you in, really?  Who is your customer?  What are your driving forces?  Do a total situation analysis of sales, costs profits, trends, outlooks, issues, resources, structure.  Everything!
Step Two:    Write your History
Your history is a key part of who you are.  Don’t assume everyone knows where you have come from and what the journey has been like.  Ask questions like: ‘As your development path progressed, what were your major obstacles?’  ‘How has the business grown and expanded?’  Strategic planners look at the past to find data points that allow them to uncover and plot trend lines.  Strategic thinkers, on the other hand, look back to uncover plot lines in order to decipher the moral of the story.

Step Three: Clarify and Order your Values
Your core values lie at the very heart of pure strategy. They help clarify what is really important and significant.  Every organisation has a value system, whether it’s good or bad, clear or unclear to all concerned. Values provide a framework for decision-making. They provide a basis for action and they help everyone to live with the results of actions taken. Values are at the heart of personal and business strategy. They are the unifying principles and core beliefs. Every hour spent clarifying, ordering and ratifying your values saves thousands of hours later on.
Step Four: ‘Crystallise’ your Mission
Your mission is how you aspire to do things. It’s a broadly based enduring statement of purpose that differentiates your business. It is the reason for your long-term existence. It crystallises and articulates how we do things around here. It’s your operational, cultural, ethical and financial guiding light. Collective clarity about your mission is central to real strategy development.
Step Five: Commit to a Clear Vision
Your vision is something you can visualise and see at a particular moment in the future. It’s a clear description of a desired state of affairs. It’s your big goal. It should be a clear compelling statement of where you want to go, demanding yet achievable, and reflect a fact based view of the future. A vision is a yardstick (‘look around, are we there yet’) and it’s a rallying flag (‘it will be great when we get there so let’s …’). 
Step Six: Write Clear Specific Strategic Goals
When you get to setting strategic goals, you will find they flow so easily that everyone is truly amazed. You see, you already know the answers to most of the challenges within your business. The problem is not the answers, it is getting to the answers. It’s the questions. It’s building the foundations and it’s getting collective responsibility. It’s aligning all the thinking, all the energy, in the one direction. It’s planning with the proper foundations in place. It’s planning at the right time. 
Step Seven:   Tactical Planning
Tactical plans are the operational, day-to-day plans and objectives to carry out each strategic goal. They are, in effect, short-term goals and they must be specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bounded. Otherwise, they are just nice ideas. Who does it and by when is the key to tactics. 
Finally, blending Strategic Thinking and Planning together is a learned practice.
 It’s like an acquired taste. 
Everyone is doing it to some degree all the time. 
The only question is “How good are you at it”? 
The whole purpose of strategy is to create business advantage, to maximise your resources, decisions and core competencies. 
To win the ‘Game’. 
So get thinking, then planning.

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