Strategic Issues Synthesis
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STRATEGIC ISSUES SYNTHESIS
"The final analytical task is to home in on the strategic issues management needs to address in
forming an effective strategic action plan. Here, managers need to draw upon all the prior
analysis, put the company's overall situation into perspective, and get a lock on exactly where
they need to focus their strategic attention. " (Thompson and Strickland)
What are the firm's core competencies? Key competitive advantages?
Where do the company's strengths and opportunities reinforce each other?
Where do the company's weaknesses and threats reinforce each other?
To answer these interrelated questions, construct at least three scenarios or stories about the company's future. For each scenario, focus on the key uncertainties about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
1. DECLINE. What combination of external threats, unrealized opportunities, internal weaknesses, and decreasing strengths could result in a substantial decline in performance?
2. SAME BUT BETTER. What combination of external opportunities and threats and internal strengths and weaknesses could result in a gradual extension and enhancement of past performance?
3. FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE. What combination of realized opportunities, avoided threats, dramatic enhancement of strengths, and correction of weaknesses could result in significant, discontinuous improvement in performance?
What are the critical strategic issues that must be addressed to assure a successful future?
The critical issues can be thought of as a series of "how will we...?" questions that must be answered by the strategic planning process. The strategic issue questions should be tailored to the company and not stated generically.
Try to keep to under 5 issues to assure focus on the truly critical issues.