Strategy vs. Operations: An Introduction
When running a successful organisation, differentiating between strategy and operations is essential. Strategy is the longer-term view that creates an overall vision for the organisation’s success; operations are the day-to-day activities that help make that vision a reality.
Understanding the distinction between strategy and operations can help ensure your organisation runs smoothly. We will discuss why planning is vital for businesses and how you can ensure that your company focuses on the right things. Let’s first cover the basics.
What is Strategy? Strategy is about deciding where your organisation will go in the long term. It involves setting goals and objectives, looking at market trends, and deciding how best to allocate resources to achieve those goals. It requires understanding internal and external factors and how they will influence decision-making over time. Critical elements of a successful strategy include innovation, agility, collaboration, and communication.
What is Operations? Operations are the steps necessary to put strategic plans into action. This includes everything from managing budgets to overseeing personnel and customer service issues. Effective operations require a clear understanding of the organisation’s processes and procedures and the ability to respond quickly when needed. Good operational management helps ensure that all organisational activities are running smoothly and efficiently so that strategic goals can be met on time.
We spoke with two former COOs during our cONference 2022. They are now CEOs of their companies, transitioning from Operational leaders to Strategic leaders. Should the Strategic head wag the Operations tail, or should the Operations tail wag the Strategic head? Jeff Szczepanski, CEO of Reframe, Former COO of Sphere and Stack Overflow and Kristen Shannon, CEO of Highliner Technology, Former COO of General System and Interim COO of Oxford Ionic debate the topic.
You can find the full conversation below.
Frameworks to help you get started Coaches have used the Grow methodology across many industries as a way of helping their teams reach their full potential through goal setting, accountability, and feedback loops. The GROW acronym stands for Goals (what you want to achieve), Reality (what you currently have or know), Options (possible solutions or actions), Will (commitment & determination). Utilising this framework can help teams identify what needs improvement to reach their desired outcomes with clarity and focus on progress towards those outcomes in measurable ways.
Understanding the difference between strategy and operations can be a powerful tool for any executive team looking to maximise efficiency within their organisation while achieving overall success in meeting strategic objectives. By using frameworks such as GROW methodology, teams can create measurable goals with realistic timelines towards reaching those objectives while focusing on progress toward meeting those goals through clearly defined metrics. With effective strategy coupled with well-thought-out operations plans, organisations can position themselves for greater success both now and in the future. Coming Soon: Strategy vs Operations Part 2 | Building operational sophistication to scale your business.