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Definitions of strategy

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What is a 'strategy' and why it helps to have one.

Strategy can be seen as a means of mobilising an organisation to get to its future. Here are some statements which illustrate the impact of having a strategy and the benefits to the organisation.

  • Strategy is about giving an organisation purpose and direction, motivating trustees, staff and volunteers to engage meaningfully with the external environment – linking in to funders and beneficiaries.
  • Strategy is about determining how an organisation will match its diverse capabilities with the needs of stakeholders, now and in the future (in order to maximise impact).
  • An organisation’s strategy will determine how it relates to the outside world – how it makes the most of opportunities, responds to change, and faces up to threats: opportunities to innovate, improvise and improve.
  • A strategy makes it clear what the priorities are, and what the organisation’s resources should be concentrated on delivering.
  • Strategy usually focuses on the medium to long term (3 to 5 years), but is reliant on the short term too – you can’t accurately predict when and how things will change, so your strategy has to be flexible, and so do you!
  • Strategies are often developed ‘top-down’ but increasingly organisations seek to mobilise and motivate everyone in the organisation by early involvement.
  • Strategy will emerge from the grassroots of an organisation – finding ways of creatively integrating top down from bottom up is vital.

Five different definitions of strategy

Are strategies real things? Five 'P's for strategy, five different definitions of strategy from the Financial Times Press.

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