[Guest Post] The Strategic Advantage

by | Feb 26, 2020 | Board Members, CEO/Executive Directors, Organizational Leadership, Strategic Plan | 0 comments

This post is from Charles Weathers, the founder of The Weathers Group, a management consulting firm specializing in organization behavior and development. Charles has a wonderful gift to explain complex processes in terms you easily understand! You can learn more about Charles at www.charlescweathers.com. And you can follow him on Twitter @CharlesWeathers


The Strategic Advantage

by Charles Weathers, The Weathers Group

There’s a major, significant assumption that I have seen Boards, teams, and leaders make – they assume a Strategic Plan is synonymous with strategy. It makes sense to me. I mean if we are going to call it a Strategic Plan, logic dictates that there be some degree of strategy within the document. Unfortunately, that does not always happen.

One reason this happens is we have become more focused on developing a document than developing strategy. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a document, it’s just that it is time for Boards, teams, and leaders to move beyond our fascination with pretty documents and get serious about strategy.

The Strategic Advantage is a framework we developed based on our 17 years as practitioners in the field of Management Consulting.

If you are tired of creating plans that sit on shelves, the Strategic Advantage will help you.
If you are having trouble articulating what your strategy is, the Strategic Advantage will help you.
If your planning, budgeting, staffing, and programmatic functions are not complimentary of each other and tend to operate in silos, the Strategic Advantage will help you.

The Strategic Advantage Framework

The Strategic Advantage framework is based on 4 pillars of strategic management (notice, it doesn’t say planning): Data, Dialogue, Direction, and Decisions.

Here are some questions associated with each pillar to give you an idea of the importance of each one.

  • Data

    What information are we using to inform our dialogue, direction, and decisions? What information do we need that we don’t have, and how will we get it? Who knows what we don’t? Will the data drive the decisions or inform the decisions?

  • Dialogue

    What are the most important questions we can consider and conversations we can have that will help clarify our direction? What opportunities can we explore, problems can we solve, and options we can consider during this time?

  • Direction

    How clear are we on our direction? Are we all going in the same direction? Does a change in direction mean a change in destination? Is this a new course or are we off course?

  • Decisions

    Based on the data, dialogue, and direction, what decisions need to be made by whom? Have we delineated strategic decisions from operational decisions? Do the people who need to make decisions have the autonomy they need to make the decisions?

When there is synergy between the data, dialogue, direction, and decisions – then you are better positioned to produce a document (plan) that is Strategic and now you have the advantage of a tool that will be used to support and drive your work going forward.


To learn more about The Strategic Advantage, check out Charles’ training in The Nonprofit Academy at: https://thenonprofitacademy.com/trainings/strategic-advantage/

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