Course and Direction

The Path to Strategic Success

Center for Simplified Strategic Planning

October 10, 2018

Does your team struggle to find strategic issues that lead to an actionable strategic plan? Learn a couple of exercises that will help your team find those issues that are key to a successful strategy. Please continue reading our blog.

M. Dana Baldwin

Finding Strategic Issues that Lead to an Actionable Strategy

M. Dana Baldwin

Finding Strategic Issues that the team must resolve to produce an actionable Strategy is key in Simplified Strategic Planning. We find Strategic Issues with multiple diagnostic exercises. One is an exercise we call “Winner’s Profile”. We do it for a couple of reasons.

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Questions & Answers

Should we wait until the Strategic Plan is fully developed before responding to key threats?
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Is there a special role in Strategic Planning for the finance department?
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This column is intended to answer common questions related to strategic planning and strategy in general. In each issue we will answer questions posed by seminar attendees, our clients and our readers. Please send your questions to –
Mail: CSSP, Inc. PO Box 8272, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Article Archives

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How Generic Strategies Kill Your Profit

By Robert W. Bradford
One of the ways of thinking I’ve encountered in strategic planning is based upon the desire to make things easier. For example, companies automate processes to make things easier. Furthermore, since automation tends to simplify operations, more reliable equipment can replace highly variable workers – at least in theory. Consequently, this can “make things easier”. Likewise, we make our product design and marketing efforts easier by making product and service offerings “one size fits all”.

Differentiating a Price Sensitive Product to a Value-Added Product

By Denise Harrison
When you’re selling price sensitive products, find a way to add value, so your customers will pay a premium. Understand your customers’ needs and preferences, however, and understand what you can do to improve your products and services.

Standard Textile was faced with this dilemma – in particular, hotels and hospitals kept going with the vendor with the lowest price. How could they break the cycle?

Why is Commitment Crucial to Strategy?

By M. Dana Baldwin
Why is commitment crucial and how does an organization get and keep it?

Commitment means that senior management and key personnel throughout the company buy-in to driving the company forward to reach its objectives. Therefore, they have committed to the success of the company. Furthermore, they execute the strategies of the organization as effectively as possible. Finally, their actions reflect the level of commitment they have and inspire those around them to excel.

The Fear of Being Different

By Robert W. Bradford
Being different is one of the keys to profitability, however, it is also one of the most feared strategies. Clearly, there are very few success stories about companies that behaved just like their competitors. This may be because managers feel unusually vulnerable when considering a strategy that builds true distinction for their brand. In so many cases we’ve seen, the courage to build true distinction comes when it seems like the only option.

Beat the Competition with Process Technology

By Denise Harrison
Aircraft engines: how did GE beat the competition? Mohammad Ehteshami was faced with a seemingly impossible task. He needed to significantly increase the value of the next generation of GE jet engines. Mr. Ehteshami had years of industry expertise and he and his team set up to achieve the objective. After failing multiple times, a junior member of the team suggested using additive technology as a possible solution.

Technology Assessment – An Important Part of Strategic Planning

By M. Dana Baldwin
In developing our strategic plan, we spend significant time analyzing our market segments and our competition. There are other important factors which can affect our strategies, even our ability to continue in business as usual. Most organizations will have most or all of these factors. However, there will be some which are not present or are minimally present in some companies. This depends on the type of business activities which add up to the complete company profile. This article will be the first of a short series of articles on the “other factors” we analyze in our strategic planning. The first area of these other factors is: Technology Assessment

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