The purpose of a strategic direction is to define the path toward the wanted position in terms of strategy, operating model and business plan. The starting points are the organisation´s mission, values, vision and current position. A clearly communicated and understood strategic direction is a prerequisite for managers and employees to correctly focus their behaviours and actions. The strategic direction should answer the following key leadership questions:
- What is the environment in which our organisation must compete and win?
- What are those few things our organisation must do outstandingly well to win and go on winning in this environment?
- How will we mobilise our organisation to implement these things faster and better than our competitors?
The strategy component of the strategic direction includes what to do to reach the wanted position in terms of customer focus, which aligns the organisation toward its key customer segments, the winning proposition, which defines the winning offerings for those customers and the key priorities, which clarifies the most important things to do to get the job done.
A strategic direction is operationalised by the operating model and the business plan. The operating model addresses structure and processes, people, culture, and measurements and rewards, which all need to be aligned behind the strategy before execution commences. The business plan is central for executing the strategy, when it comes to moving the organisation toward the wanted position during the current time period.