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Strategy Development: Here's The Only Model You'll Ever Need!

Strategy development is one of the most important tasks of management. How does such a strategy process work, what do you have to consider and how do you proceed step by step? Here are the most detailed instructions and descriptions of a strategy process on the German-speaking Internet.

What is special about this strategy model?

Most strategy models and processes deal with either Customers or the Competitors, others with the market, others with the Strengths and weaknesses of your own company.

Comprehensive Strategy models that connect all these perspectives, there is hardly any.

At initio, we use a model that does just that: Es combined all relevant strategic perspectives in one holistic process.

Our strategy model also has another one strategic advantage: It binds the best minds and the existing experience in your own company in the process.

  • The increases the speed of implementation,
  • and motivated middle management far beyond the strategy process.

How we proceed and what about the strategy work to be observed in detail is, you can find out in this article. It is the most detailed presentation of a strategy process in the German-speaking Internet - so that you know exactly how we proceed in detailed strategy processes.

We wish you good knowledge and enjoy reading it.

Table of Contents

What actually is a strategy?

Before we get into the details of running a strategy process, let's briefly look at the Terminology clarify.

Currently there are neither in teaching nor in practice is there a uniform definition of the concept of strategy - and unfortunately no uniform understanding. There is one in the relevant literature large number of different strategy approacheswhich usually differ in their focus on certain aspects.

That makes sense too.

Because there are so many different business models, influencing factors and corporate cultures that the answer to the question "How do we best position ourselves for the future?" no "one size fits all“Solution can be. In order to approximate the concept of strategy in a meaningful way, here a couple of common definitions on the "strategy term" from the literature:

Definition 1: Strategy as a set of operational measures

Under strategy is usually

  1. the Setting the organizational goals (strategic goals)
  2. and the entirety the necessary to achieve these goals Sub-goals / operational goals / measures

Roger that.

A good strategy gives orientation throughout the organization and focused. It's not a static plan, it's a dynamic process.

Definition 2: Strategy as a framework for goal-oriented action

Strategy is that

  • Basis for joint, goal-oriented action in an organization.
  • The strategy manifests itself in one full scope of actionthat allows you to make the right decision in all conceivable situations.
  • The measure for the correctness of the decision are again the strategic goals.

These must be broken down in such a way that all those involved in the organization see the goals as action-guiding understand and observe.

Must accordingly

geared towards achieving the goals be.

Carry out a strategy process - that's how it works, guaranteed.

How can these aspects become a manageable and result-focused strategy approach unite?

This is exactly what the next chapters are all about. The procedure that we give you here Step by step explain, pursued both objectives:

  1. It creates one Basis for a framework for action, from which a coherent procedure for all conceivable situations can be derived.
  2. In the course of our strategy approach, in a multi-step process
    • Top and bottom lines clearly defined and related to each other
    • and thus the actions of the entire organization focused on target achievement and strategy implementation.

Elements of the strategy

Conclusive strategies also need to be in VUCA-Times (volatil, uunsure, komplex, ambig…) to be able to provide answers to unforeseen questions. You therefore take them into account in the development process

  • and relate many Points of view, experience and resources in the development process.

This participatory approach is crucially importantto get the solution sustainable to make and "toughen" against changes in the "environment" and other "surprises" that will occur in the process of strategy implementation as surely as the famous "Amen in the Church".

This is why our (as well as most of the practice-relevant strategy models) feed off different sources and perspectives and consist of many elements that, in their entirety, the existing, real complexity depict entrepreneurial activity:

initio strategy model


To this graphic are probably some classifications and Clarification of the terminology helpful:

  • Framework
    The surrounding conditions, politics, market, etc.
  • conditions
    The outside perspective of important stakeholders
  • vision
    The (emotional) attractor
  • Strategic goals
    The operationalized basis of all actions
  • Leadership model
    Guard rail in the interior
  • Target pyramid
    Portions the strategic goals
  • Functional sub-strategies
    For special company areas in which partial strategies are useful

Overall strategy

A Overall strategy includes at least the

  1. vision
  2. and strategic goals.
    The latter are supported by the Target pyramid (Target tree) concretized and operationalized. If necessary, it will go through mission, values and Mission statements added.

Now let's do something a little more specific Look at the individual elements of the strategy model. Then we'll tell you one proven sequence of steps to Strategy development.


The framework conditions describe the for all Actors applicable Conditions, facts, rules and developments etc.
As a rule, these cannot be changed at short notice by individual actors. However, the framework conditions are not static, but are subject to one permanent, not always continuous development. The framework conditions that apply to an organization must be specifically and precisely identified.

Typical Framework are:

  • The market (the current wishes and objectives, the current constitution, requirements for market participants),
  • the technology/ Methods and methodology (state of the art, research and developments, trends, etc.),
  • Law (Standards, laws, regulations, etc.),
  • politics (Federal, state, local),
  • Social developments (public opinion, trends, values ​​and perspectives, etc.)
  • economy (Globalization, speed of development, sustainability)
  • Megatrends (Demography, environment, mobility, etc.)


Requests are made by Stakeholders or stakeholder groups put to the organization.

Typical examples of requirements for organizations are e.g.

  • Quality of service delivery
  • the Type of collaboration
  • Working conditions, working atmosphere, tasks, Etc.

To the here to be observed Stakeholders / stakeholder groups usually include:

  • Customers
  • Delivery/ Partner / etc.,
  • Shareholder, Parent companies, top management
  • Employee*Inside
  • Interest Groups (Trade unions, environmental lobbyists, citizens' groups, etc.),
  • the Publicity
  • as well as possible other stakeholders (groups)
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The vision describes you desirable state for one well beyond the time horizon of the strategic goals beyond the period. The description does not have to meet the strict requirements of the target description (SMART), it can be less specific, but ideally has a strong one emotional componentthat makes the vision an emotional attractor for everyone involved.


The famous quote from Saint-Exupéry says a lot about the essence of developing an attractive vision:

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up men to get wood, assign tasks and divide the work, but teach the men to long for the wide, endless sea.

This visual example of the Hamburg waterworks also brings the emotional component a successful vision of the desired quality of Hamburg's waters well "to the point":

Example of a successful vision

Mission statement

  • Inconsistent term
    The concept of the mission statement is not subject to any strict definition and is also used in literature and in companies and organizations used very differently.
  • Typical content
    In a mission statement, the basic norms, values ​​and desired behaviors an organization. The mission statement therefore rather describes the “how” of action and in this sense forms the guard rails of the work in the organization in pursuing and achieving the goals.
  • Also indicates a need for improvement
    The mission statement of organizations and companies shows in many cases where in the organization or the company Need for improvement in relation to norms and values ​​to be observed and where it is seen Deficits at the desirable behavior there.
  • As specific as possible
    If mission statements remain on a more abstract level, the transfer into the practice of organizations and companies often does not succeed and a mission statement developed with high participation and a lot of effort also fails to have an effect.

Always "think along" implementation
When implementing a mission statement in corporate practice, the executives have a special degree of responsibility, as they always also act as Role model in the positive as in the negative Act. It is not uncommon for models to fail because the ambitious goals and norms are not (or cannot) be adhered to by management. We therefore regularly recommend that you always keep an eye on feasibility when developing the mission statement.

The mission statement can be more outward-looking Corporate philosophy and a more inward one Leadership model be subdivided:

  • The corporate philosophy
    The description and summary of the Norms, values and Behaviorsthat are of particular interest to customers, interested parties, suppliers, partners and the general public. It is directed outwards and documents the company's or organization's voluntary commitments.
  • The leadership model
    The leadership concept includes norms, values ​​and behaviors that are relevant to the guide and collaboration are essential in the organization. This applies to leadership as well as to the cooperation between different areas, departments, teams, etc. The leadership model can also be described in the form of leadership principles or values ​​of good leadership. It is aimed at managers and employees alike.

Strategic goals

One goal is to describe a desirable state at a well-defined point in time in the future.

Goals are hierarchically divided into Overall goals, sub-goals and strategic goals. One speaks here of a "Target pyramid", With the strategic goals at the" top "of the pyramid.

Have strategic goals with it highest priority. The main and sub-goals are always geared towards achieving the strategic goals and are based on the strategic goals (a more detailed explanation of the goal pyramid can be found in the next chapter).

The strategic goals are in one common process developed and needed SMART be formulated:

  • sspecific
  • medible
  • accepted and ademanding
  • realistic
  • and tbe erminated.

Every goal needs a clear person in charge, so that the prerequisites for efficient implementation are in place.

The strategic goals must be framed in such a way that they guiding action for all parts of the organization are. You will usually be using one Time horizon of 2 to 5 years Are defined.

Three target categories

The strategic goals are divided into three goal categories for better orientation and clarity:

Performance & service goals

Performance and service goals
They relate directly to the services to be provided for the customer. This can be, for example

  • Providing services to a certain extent with a defined quality,
  • comprehensive service offerings
  • as well as the acquisition of market shares, acquisition of new customers, sales with individual customers and / or customer groups.

Innovation goals
The innovation goals relate to the (further) development of products and services as well as the technologies, technology and methodology used. You can refer to individual products and services or to the entire portfolio.

Process & resource goals

Process and resource goals
The focus of the goals of this target area are the internal processes, structures and resources (personnel, budget), their optimization and further development.

Target pyramid

As already briefly described above, the target pyramid (sometimes also called "target tree") all (sub) goals necessary to achieve the strategic goals divided by levels.

Each goal is described by several goals on the next level of the goal pyramid.

The goals or the levels of the goal pyramid can be temporal as well as toContent, Functions, Areas, etc. be subdivided.

Here is a visual illustration:

Goal pyramid - strategic goals and sub-goals

For operational goals (on the lowest level of the target pyramid) there is no further description on the next level, because they can be implemented directly one-to-one in a simple measure.

The number of goals, which continues to increase downwards, creates the pyramid shape or one (upside down) Tree structure.

Common mistakes:

  1. The Goal description is not SMART.
  2. It will already be Measures instead of goals described.
  3. The target pyramid is incomplete.

It is important that the target pyramid is common to everyone essential knowledge carriers is developed in the company. These are mostly the Executives. However, it may also be useful when working out the sub-goals Technical specialists without involving a formal management function. The “rule of thumb” is: Those who have to take part have to take part Knowledge, and the Experience bring, to provide answers to the questions implied.

This approach has several advantages:

  • The all available know-how of the organization flows into the strategy process.
  • The responsibility for the implementation or the achievement of goals lies right from the startin the right places
  • If the framework conditions should change during implementation, there is a high degree of adaptability available in the event of changing framework conditions and / or requirements.

Solid form

With the multitude of strategic goals, overall and sub-goals as well as operational goals, the overview can quickly get lost. In order to avoid this, our consulting practice has a certain Systematics of the target description proven.

The following information is helpful and facilitate the assignment of individual goals in the overall picture:

  • Target ID (Number)
  • Target name (Short name)
  • Target owners
  • Other contributors according to RACI
    (R.esponsible = responsible, A.ccountable = accountable, C.onsulted = consulted, I.nformed = informed)
  • SMART Goal description
  • list of associated goals the next lower level in the target pyramid
  • Interfaces with dependencies from other destinations

If necessary, additional fields can be added to the destination description.

All goals of the target pyramid are in one Overview summarized and presented. This ensures that at all times transparency in relation to the goals is given and the overall picture, i.e. the strategic goals, remain in focus.

The overview can be created as an EXCEL table. For more extensive target pyramids, a is recommended Structure diagram (analogous to Figure 2 - work breakdown structure or organizational chart) as an overview. This makes it easy to find the goals in the structure, even in more complex target pyramids, and thus the assignment of higher-level and lower-level goals.

  • Avoid mistakes and wrong turns
  • Save time and resources
... process reliability with more than 19 years of experience!
  • Avoid mistakes and wrong turns
  • Save time and resources
... process reliability with more than 19 years of experience!

Strategic success factors

In the practice of strategy implementation, certain strategic success factors have proven to be critical for a successful implementation exposed. These are part of our strategy model:

Strategic success factors in strategy implementation

Under strategic success factors so we understand

  • Processes
    The business processes require constant optimization
  • Structures
    The process-oriented organizational structure must be implemented and regularly adapted
  • Systems
    The management and control systems must take into account the organization-specific strategy and orientation
  • resources
    Provision of the necessary financial resources (budget) and personnel development in the broadest sense
  • Corporate culture
    Internal communication and unwritten rules determine many actions and thus the efficiency in the organization

Let's cover these strategic success factors a little closer consider:

1. Strategic success factor processes

If everything that happens in the organization is organized in processes (or projects), then essential parts of the goals or the goal pyramid must be above good (functional) processes and whose goals are achieved. The control as well as permanent Further development and optimization of processes is therefore inevitably one of the core tasks of working on the goals.

Every process has well-defined ones SMART process goals.

That means: The process goal describes as well as the goals of the goal pyramid concrete and measurable a desired state at some point in the future. Since processes make up an essential part of the activities of a company or an organization, the process objectives must unite relevant contribution to the target pyramid or agree with it.

2. Structures as a strategic success factor

A few years ago, a (absolutely correct) motto on the subject of strategy and structures was "structure follows strategy". The fact that this saying was necessary at all, and perhaps still is, was due to the (from today's perspective too strong) fixation on structures and their lack of flexibility. This has led to a more frequent search for a strategy that fits the existing structure, which then often did not have the desired success.

Well that Times have become due to market volatility and increased environmental complexity (VUCA!) changed.

Today applies:

The Organizational structures must support the achievement of goals at all times and secure. This applies to both

  • Macrostructures the organization (Areas, departments, etc.) as well as for
  • Microstructures (Distribution of work, office organization, etc.).

Orientation towards a optimal support of the processes (and projects) always has top priority due to the importance of processes and projects for achieving goals.

That means: If strategies or goals change at short notice, the structures, processes and support systems have to adapt adapt flexibly can. It is for this very reason that the interest in agile forms of organization so much increased.

3. Systems as a strategic success factor

Systems support processes. They must therefore be oriented in such a way that the goals can be achieved.

The systems addressed here include all management and control systems, i.a.

  1. Management information systems,
  2. Controlling,
  3. Process management system,
  4. Project management system,
  5. QMS (Quality management),
  6. Risk management, Etc.
4. Resources as a strategic success factor

There are usually two central resources in organizations: Financial resources (budget) and Staff (people). Often, individual strategic goals relate directly to these two resources. In general, it is important to provide the necessary and optimal resources for the achievement of goals or the necessary processes and projects at all times.

The decisive factors here are:

BudgetStaffLeadership & Cooperation

Budget rounds

“Budgeting” is an annually recurring process, especially in larger companies. In this given framework, the necessary resources must be planned and made available.

Personnel planning and development

Also the personnel management, especially the medium and long term Personnel planning and personnel development, is of particular importance. In the future, suitable, good personnel will become an even more scarce resource and personnel development can only be carried out sustainably over longer periods of time.

The medium to long-term personnel planning comprises a quantitative and qualitative planning of the personnel resources including the Personnel development. It provides information about current and planned future personnel requirements and their possible coverage. It ensures that the right human resources will be available to the required extent for the processes and projects at all times in the future, thus ensuring that goals are achieved.

Personnel planning and personnel development must take into account the legal framework of the position plan and position planning, as well as the corresponding co-determination rules.

Leadership and collaboration

Leadership and cooperation are not limited to the relationships and agreements already regulated in the context of the other strategic success factors. Not infrequently there is also a formal one Leadership model. But also the unwritten rules Collaboration contributes significantly to the success of an organization (or opposes it).

5. Strategic success factor corporate culture

The strategic success factor Corporate culture basically involves the way information, communication and participation (IKP), and thus the possibility of participation are organized, as well as all questions of leadership and cooperation that do not already fall under one of the other success factors and whose functioning is essential for achieving the goal.

If you would like to go into this topic in more depth, we have published detailed in-depth articles on corporate culture, improving team culture and cooperation as well as tangible tips on culture change and culture change in our specialist blog.

Agile strategy development

As part of the strategy development, all essential Elements of the strategy defined and determined. That is the basis for the procedure Strategy development concept. Strategy development is one Core task of the company management or the management of an independently operating line organization, but important steps include the Employee participation in a double top-down - bottom-up process (W process) to develop the Target pyramid.

In which cases do we speak of agile strategy development?

Strategies are never static because they have to adapt to changing circumstances. In this sense, strategy processes must regularly be performed. The iteration periods are usually about 2-3 years, but can be shorter depending on the industry.

In the tech and finance industry, change cycles are sometimes so short that it makes sense to initially only develop partial strategies, check their implementation for suitability and adapt them to the changed conditions or new findings as part of the strategy cycle. The shorter these iteration cycles are or the more space has to be given for adjustments in planning and implementation, the more likely we are to speak of "more agile Strategy development“.


We usually work here with the so-called "Countercurrent principle”(Also known as the“ W process ”). The W process is a double top-down - bottom-up process for the joint development of the strategic goals and the Target pyramid throughout the organization.

Strategy process based on the countercurrent principle ("W process")

Through this procedure, all essential knowledge and experience carriers are involved and theentire know-how the organization used for the strategy process.

This ensures, on the one hand,

  • that the whole Know-how is available to the organization for strategy development
  • and through the joint development of the target pyramid one high identification with the goals is given.

How to do it:

  1. In a first step, the management team Framework and overarching objectives (Mission of the company /Focus topics and fields of action) and conditionsidentified, analyzed and documented togetherThe results form the Base for the first draft of vision and strategic goals. If necessary, the first draft will be supplemented and revised.
  2. In a second step, the Goals of the target pyramid under Employee participation in a double top-down - bottom-up process (W process) Developed. We describe this procedure in detail in the chapter "Developing the target pyramid".

We describe this below Procedure in detail.

Step 1: Analysis of the framework conditions and requirements

Analysis of the framework conditions

Analysis of the framework conditions

Before the Framework can be analyzed by the management team, these must be shared identified become.

The relevant framework conditions for an organization depend on the organization and its field of activity. The following questions can be helpful in identifying the relevant framework conditions:

  1. For whom / which market are the essential products and services provided?
  2. What has essential Influence on my products and services?
  3. Of what Do I have to change my products and services if necessary to adjust?
  4. What developments In which areas can my products and services fundamentally be questioned?

Examples of frequently relevant framework conditions are:

  • market
    What developments, market conditions and competitive situation are there on the market? How will the market develop further?
  • Technique / methods and methodology
    What is "state of the art", current research and developments, trends etc.?
  • Megatrends
    Which megatrends are emerging?
  • economy
    Which economic developments determine the framework for action?
  • Law
    What are the current standards, laws, regulations, etc.? Which changes / amendments are emerging?
  • politics
    What is the framework set by the federal, state and local authorities? What changes are in store for the organization?
  • Social developments
    What determines public opinion, trends, values ​​and perspectives, etc.?

The results of the analysis are one important foundation for further strategy development. On the one hand, this applies to the Identification of the stakeholders and their requirements and the drafting of vision and strategic goals. On the other hand, the results are also the Basis for understanding the strategic goals and essential background knowledge and common understanding for the development of the target pyramid.

It is therefore imperative that the results of the analysis of the framework conditions are communicated in such a way that greatest possible transparencyand understanding are guaranteed in the further process.

How to do it:

  1. Identify of the relevant stakeholders and stakeholder groups
  2. analysis the interests (stakes) of the respective stakeholder groups
    Note: The interests of stakeholder groups can change over time. We recommend taking this into account in the analysis.
  • Avoid mistakes and wrong turns
  • Save time and resources
... process reliability with more than 19 years of experience!
  • Avoid mistakes and wrong turns
  • Save time and resources
... process reliability with more than 19 years of experience!

Analysis of the requirements

Analysis of the requirements by the stakeholders

The key question in this step is: "What are the requirements of the stakeholders to the company - now and in the foreseeable future? "

Typical stakeholder groups:

  • Extended public

Step 2: drafting the strategic goals

Step 2: drafting the strategic goals

The strategic goals describe the goals aimed at by the organization at the highest level. They represent the entirety of the organization and are usually associated with a Time horizon of 2 to 5 years Are defined.

To work out the strategic goals in a first draft, the following are four individual steps necessary:

  1. Definition of the target categories (Performance and service goals, innovation goals, process and resource goals)
  2. Development of proposed goals from the different areas of the organization.
  3. Merging the proposed goals from the individual areas and jointly setting the goals for each of the goal categories.
  4. Examination of the overall picture, possibly also in the context of mission and vision. Adjustment of goals or the vision, if necessary.

If necessary, the first draft will be supplemented and revised in an additional run in the areas before it is put together to form an overall picture consolidated become.

Here we now describe the procedure in detail:

Target categories

The strategic goals are divided into target categories for better orientation and clarity. The Target categories are set at the beginning of the discussion about the strategic goals, taking into account the framework conditions and requirements.

Target categories can be, for example:


Performance and service goals
They relate directly to the services or markets and customers to be provided for the service recipients.
 Innovation goals
The innovation goals relate to the (further) development of products and services as well as the technologies, technology and methodology used.
 Process and resource goals
The focus of the goals of this target area are the internal processes, structures and resources (personnel, budget).


But other target categories are also conceivable.

When assigning the goals to the categories, a distinction must be made as to the extent to which the Requirements for target achievement to create or to what extent the goals only with the often not directly influenced effect can be achieved.


Has the goal been achieved when all the agreed safety instructions have been carried out or only when fewer accidents at work actually occur, even if I have no authority to issue instructions to employees?

2. Development of target proposals

Development of proposed goals

After defining the target categories, the next step is the Development of proposed goals from the different areas of the organization. These can relate to the entire organization as well as to your own or several areas.

In this first step, the goals can be set per business area be developed and proposed. The goals will usually be one of these Target categories assign:

  1. Performance and service goals
  2. Innovation goals
  3. Process and resource goals


Towards the end of such a workshop, the target proposals are consolidated before all proposals are put together and consolidated into an overall picture.

The proposed targets are consolidated in two steps:

  1. Merging
    Consolidation of the target proposals from the individual areas and joint definition of the targets for each of the target categories.
    The number of strategic goals per target category should not exceed five in order to ensure orientation and focus.
  2. Testing and adjustment
    Examination of the overall picture, if necessary, also in the context of mission and vision. Adjustment of goals or the vision, if necessary.

The draft of the strategic goals developed in this way describes on the top level the goals pursued by the organization. They represent the entirety of the organization and are usually associated with a