Take strategic action

You should now have a more detailed analysis of how the drivers in the external environment could have an impact on your organisation. You will have selected a few opportunities for further development.

The big question to ask next is "now what?"

If this is a possible opportunity, now what can we do about it, what options do we have?

You will usually find that you have a range of options. Our planning toolkit Tools for Tomorrow has a range of tools that were designed to be self-explanatory once this phase of strategic analysis is completed.

The response your organisation makes will be dependent upon many other things, such as the organisation’s capacity/ability to respond, what else is already on your agenda (and remains vital) and so on.

Strategy development is all about choices – making the best selection to maximise the change you can make for your beneficiaries.

It is important to mobilise your resources to consider how to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves and minimise the effect of the risks.

Strengths and weaknesses

You could start by thinking about the possible responses your organisation could make to each of the opportunities presented by external drivers.  Think through the strengths and weaknesses of each option.  Once you have looked at strengths and weaknesses you will be in a better position to make an informed choice.

Don't forget that there are some things that you just have to do, whatever the cost.

Range of tools

All the possible courses of action need to be weighed up; this is a key part of planning. Tools such as force field analysis, cost-benefit analysis and risk analysis will all help you to weigh up options and make a choice about future direction (see Tools for Tomorrow).

Sometimes you may need to do a feasibility study – an in-depth look at whether something will work in practice. Often a pilot or trial will help test out and enable you to develop learning if you are thinking about a new service or product.

Sometimes there's not a specific point at which strategic analysis stops and the rest of strategy development starts. For now, we assume this point has now been reached!

Ask questions and learn from the experiences of other organisations in the network forums.

Last updated at 10:04 Fri 11/Jun/10.