Building a Strategic Information “Radar” System – Part II

By Randall Rollinson

In this the second segment of our “Radar” post. We offer insights into facilitating the learning and strategic thinking processes in leadership teams of mid-sized organizations. Whether it is in a private sector, public sector or nonprofit organization we believe these principals apply.

Let’s begin with a clear statement of our baseline assumptions. Accurate assessment of any strategic environment is premised on a competent leadership team having strategic information readily available to monitor, gather, consolidate and mine on a timely basis. The scope of this information resource should be sufficient to clearly understand the external and internal dimensions of the organization’s environment.

We argue any mid-sized organization seeking to improve their strategic management maturity rating will benefit by systematically developing and continually improving a customized strategic information system designed to meet three specific objectives.

  1. Provide an up-to-date repository of accurate strategic information necessary to support any aspect of the organization’s strategic management process.
  2. Provide timely and actionable information via a “radar system” which will facilitate strategic learning and mid-course adjustments by the leadership team, in the longer term strategic plan or the nearer term strategic operating plan.
  3. Provide a strategic information resource all team members can draw upon, on an ad hoc basis, to meet their particular governance, leadership and/or management needs.

Keeping in mind these three objectives, leadership teams seeking to build a sustainable advantage, may want to focus on designing and building a strategic information system that meets their unique needs and contextual situation. While every organization is different and one size can never fit every need, there are a number of generic features any leadership team should consider when assessing or designing their own strategic information system. For example, a strategic information system is of maximum value when it is kept up-to-date, practical to use (with easy access) and, most importantly, managed by a motivated champion of the system. A system that does not meet these base criteria will likely be of limited value.

To help lay the ground work for designing a valuable strategic information system we encourage leadership teams to do a preliminary assessment of their existing system before proceeding.   It may be the case that no system currently exists or is only partially developed. In either case, it is helpful to keep in mind four building blocks in strategic management:

  1. Leading the process
  2. Thinking through the strategy
  3. Planning for success
  4. Act and get it done

Now it’s your time to comment. Share your thoughts on establishing strategic information radar.

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