Sustainable Organization Growth and Profitability through Strategy Driven Organizational Change
A strategic issue is a fundamental policy question or critical challenge affecting an organization's mandates, mission, values, stakeholders, internal strengths and weaknesses (resources, structure, processes, management, product or service levels and mix, financing, or organizational design), opportunities and threats (clients, users or payers). In order for an issue to be raised and resolved effectively, the organization must be prepared to deal with the conflicts associated with the issue. Strategic issues by definition embody conflicts. These conflicts may be over ends (what); means (how); philosophy (why); location (where); timing (when); and who might be helped or hurt by the different ways of resolving the issue (who).
Strategic Issues Diagnosis
Strategic issues diagnosis is a problem formulation process involving strategic decisions and decision-making processes to identify problems underlying strategic issues that are of strategic relevance, and deciding on potential courses of action (strategies) to pursue to resolve those problem(s). Strategic issues diagnosis defines the methods/process for identifying strategic issues and problems facing the organization. Deciding how to solve the problem, i.e., strategy development, creates the need for more information and analysis. Strategic issues identification focuses organizational attention on what is truly important for the survival, prosperity and effectiveness of the organization - and provides useful advice on how to achieve these aims.
The strategic issues identification step focuses organizational attention on what is truly important for the survival, prosperity and effectiveness of the organization - and provides useful advice on how to achieve these aims. It is vital that strategic issues be identified and dealt with expeditiously and effectively if the organization is to survive and prosper. An organization that does not address its strategic issues may be unable to head off threats, and unable to capitalize on important opportunities, or both.
Strategic issues must clearly relate to specific strategic problems facing the organization; additionally, they must be specific to the particular organization or industry. Analysis is the process of organizing and presenting information in an analytical way/manner that assists in better defining the problem scope or narrowing down its causes so that solutions may be more effectively created. This includes such things as determining what caused the problem, why does it continue to exist, will it go away on its own, how long has it existed, how serious is it, how soon does it have to be solved, and what internal and external factors contribute to the problem.
Problem analysis requires you to build a model of the problem, collect some data and information to test your hypotheses and assumptions underlying the problem to even discover what the real problems are to solve. The process is akin to an "empirical discovery loop" that enables systematic discovery and formulation of problems in complex real world situations such as strategy and policy making. Deciding how to solve a problem once its been stated creates the need for more information and data gathering, and analysis and synthesis.
Defining problems of strategic relevance is hard because identifying these problems are difficult, partly because of complexity induced by the complicated structures (composed of many interrelated sub-problems, possibly from different domains, e.g., such as expressed through business architecture domains, etc.) of these problems, uncertainty due to incomplete information, and turbulence in the environment. Strategic problems are cross-functional in nature and have major long-term consequences for the organization's success because they impact the organization's competitive position.
A statement (model) of a strategic issue should contain three (3) elements:
The problem definition/statement is comprised of the problem scope, variables and factors, and narrows the assumptions of cause-effect relationships so that potential solutions may be more effectively explored.
Strategic Issues Diagnosis Outputs
The substantive outputs of strategic issues diagnosis are assumptions, cause-effects understanding (beliefs), predictive judgments, and symbolic language labels. These elements facilitate decision-making during the strategy (solution) development stages of strategic planning.
These elements can constrain or facilitate decision-making during the issues diagnosis and subsequent strategy formulation stages of strategic management. Strategic decision making requires the decision makers to provide judgement, evaluation, and insights into the problem definition.
Defining solutions to strategic issues' problems is a problem solving process that results in a set of strategic alternatives/options – a set of hypothetical solutions to the problems identified from strategic issues diagnosis. Formulating/crafting appropriate strategies to respond to strategic issues/problems is an intellectual and entrepreneurial endeavor. It often requires you to build a model of the problem, collect some data and information to test your hypotheses and assumptions underlying the problem to even discover what the real problems are to solve.
I am a computer scientist interested in modeling complex business systems, and strategic management processes to drive analysis and evaluation of strategic decision making and decisions. Specifically, I am interested in the use of modeling to improve organization managers shared understanding of strategy and its influence of organizational behavior and change. And how this understanding informs management's decisions and actions in effectively managing strategy formulation, implementation and execution,