- Involve the top team, and the board, in periodically revisiting corporate aspirations and making any big, directional changes in strategy required by changes in the global forces at work on a company.
- Create a rigorous, ongoing management process for formulating the specific strategic initiatives needed to close gaps between the current trajectory of the company and its aspirations.
- Convert these initiatives into an operating reality by formally integrating the strategic-management process with your financial-planning processes (a change that usually requires also moving to more continuous, rolling forecasting and budgeting approaches).
Setting aspirations and direction
Installing a rigorous ongoing strategy process
- Set a practical limit to the number of issues that can be pursued simultaneously at the corporate level; usually, given the time needed for review and debate at the strategy forum, no more than 15 to 25 can be managed in parallel.
- Develop a pragmatic approach for prioritizing issues. One way is to give each member of the forum a set number of slots on the agenda to bring forth whichever issues for review he or she thinks are most important. A few slots for critical issues—such as how to improve capital budgeting, which affects many different businesses—can be reserved for the corporate-wide perspective.
- Trade off quantity in favor of quality. If something deserves to be discussed by the top-management strategy forum, the staff work undertaken to address the issue should meet a high standard, and any recommendation made should be “owned” by relevant line managers.