Vantage Blog


A New Approach To Developing Strategy...And Your Team

The 2014 business leaders’ survey identified a number of trends and challenges which highlight the need for a different approach to strategy development and organisational learning. 

The top three organisational training needs from the survey were:

  1. Strategic development ability
  2. Implementation of those strategic skills, and
  3. Coaching and developing people

This points to the opportunity for a blending of learning with real time strategic planning and implementation - thus enabling organisations to achieve their strategic objectives whilst providing a platform for learning of individuals and teams.

It is not surprising in our fast paced, constantly changing environment that the number 1 training need was identified as strategy development. How capable really are your staff at anticipating and responding to changes in their environment, and developing more than one possible response? 
It is one thing to develop strategy, it is quite another to implement it effectively. This was the second key training need identified – implementation of strategic skills. Many organizations struggle with the successful implementation of their strategy. This can manifest itself in a number of ways. Too slow to implement; not sure it was the right strategy in the first place; resistance from people within the organisation and a strategy that fails to deliver the expected benefits.

The third top training need identified was coaching and developing people. How do you provide staff with an appropriate level of professional development whilst at the same time managing costs and keeping a focus on your current direction and business challenges? How do we ensure that this learning truly makes your staff more effective at what they need to do and does not become one of those activities that offers little benefit and is often seen as a waste of time? 
The 70/20/10 model for learning and development (Developed by the Centre for Creative Leadership) is an effective way to think about these challenges.  

It indicates that a new approach is needed – one that blends learning with real time strategy development, implementation and problem solving.

A blended learning approach takes into account fundamental adult learning principles incorporating the need for adults to be self directed and the need to bring life experience to the learning experience. Much of what we learn we do on the job (in fact 70%). We also learn from other people when they provide feedback on the work we are involved in and coach us to improve our skills. There is still a place for formal training as such but this does not have to be all face-to-face. Formal training can be most effective when it incorporates a mixture of workshops and on line learning, as well as courses and reading.

This new approach of blended learning recognizes that your staff need may need a flexible program tailored to their needs and your organisation’s needs. It can be made up of a mix of such elements as:


We recently worked with Compost Victoria and Sustainability Victoria to develop a five-year market development strategy. Their objective was not to have us write the plan but for their members (all competitors) to develop the market development plan collaboratively whilst up skilling their own strategic development capability. 
We adopted a blended model delivering six workshops augmented with one on one coaching sessions for members. A range of easy to use on line resources, from Mindshop Online, were also available so that staff could access tools when it suited and, as needed.

The outcome was a strategy that the members owned and are focussed on implementing. They are now also better placed to further refine the strategy and to respond more effectively to changes in their environment.

View this short video to learn more and hear what the participants thought of the program: 

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing. 

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

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