Strategy Tools by Andrew Isherwood

A list of Strategy tools and a brief description of them

There are a plethora of tools and theories available for the strategist to use to help direct them in choosing what should be the direction of the organisation.  The following table describes a selection of a strategy tools

Tool Description
SWOT Analysis Used to document the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, in a 4×4 matrix. 

SWOT generally creates many meaningless lists of bullet points (Hill & Westbrook 1997) which are not actually used in further strategy formulisation. Pickton & Wright (1998) argue that it is the group discussion that is involved in SWOT and the prioritising of the issues identified where the real value in SWOT comes from.

PEST (or PESTEL) Used to document the external environment and categorised into: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal. Again a useful tool for focusing the group mind while brainstorming, real value when issues prioritised and auctioned.
Ansoft MAtrix Used to communicate strategic direction, either new product or market development or both (diversification).
Porters 5-forces This tool provides a way of analysing an existing industry and its competition based on five forces: Bargaining power of suppliers, Bargaining power of customers, Threat of new entrants, Threat of substitute products and competitive rivalry within an industry.
Game Theory Tool used in predicting what a competitor is likely to do as a result of what you plan to do therefore you change your initial move to make the outcome more favourable
Scenario Planning Create different scenarios to compare and contrast possible options.
Value Chain Analysis Analyse the chain of events that convert the raw materials into products or services from a financial perspective to be able to optimise the process or identify opportunities for greater profit.
Mission and  

Vision Statements

Statements used to communicate the strategy to stakeholders: 

Vision statement: where the organisation want to be in the future, e.g. the biggest car manufacturer in the world

Mission Statement: short term targets to make the vision come true, e.g. take 30% of the small car market.

The Cultural Web A tool used in documenting and analysing the culture of an organisation
Strategic Clock Offers some generic strategies based on a price and added value matrix
BCG Matrix (Boston Consulting Group) Tool for analysing product portfolios plotted against Market Growth and Market Share.
Financial Forecasting Financial predictions and plans of how much a product costs and how much it can be sold for and hence the profit

 

But what if there is no competition?

The tools listed above, mostly rely on competition and the fact that someone is already competing within the market.  These tools are very good at directing the organisation towards a suitable strategy to maximise stakeholder value.  However there is an inherent problem with trying to use them to create new ventures, as the data required to make them accurate or believable is simply not available.

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