What is a strategic review?

Does it matter to a startup or small business?

A strategic review is a periodical management meeting where an evaluation of all external challenges impacting the enterprise’s strategy, product offerings, business processes, operational plans and finances take place with all key managers.

Such a review will also include management’s recommended solutions to overcome these threats and challenges.

In searching for solutions, management must inevitably look at opportunities and weigh these against its overall mission, resources, competencies, and its unique strength(s).

No matter the size of the enterprise or its mission (whether non-profit or profit-motivated), if it wants to remain relevant to people, it must adopt a mission, strategic plan, operational plan, HR plan, financial plan and service or product plan that will meet the needs and demand of a growing market.

A review of these plans is usually required by shareholders and are legally mandatory for private limited companies.

Why must it be held annually?

For any review to be useful, it needs to be regular

For the review to be useful, it has to be conducted regularly – at least once a year.

Since the enterprise’s functional activities are organised around its strategy, environmental impact that renders its strategy ineffectual will make these activities ineffective, redundant or expensive to maintain.

This can destabalise the entire organisation in terms of loss of morale, increased debt, talent attrition, etc.

To avoid such problems, the organisation must respond immediately with counter measures. Failure to do so will result in carrying the burden of unused resources; erosion of bottom-line; and growing unhappiness among employees (this can happen to huge conglomerates that are managed by million-dollars salaried CEOs as well as a small family businesses).

When you see an entreprise in this state, you know that its management is not doing a good job. Perhaps, management had never conducted an annual review meeting. Maybe internal politicking is to be blamed. Maybe the founder had passed on..

It does not matter what size your entreprise is and what you call your management meeting. The focus is on understanding how your entreprise is being affected by the economic, social, technological and other global developments; and how you are going to lessen its negative impact on your organisation.

And for the review to be useful, it has to be conducted regularly – at least once a year. This event is not optional. It is ESSENTIAL for survival.

What outcome is expected from a review meeting?

Typical decisions

The first step in a review meeting is to go through the status of all outstanding items from the decisions taken in the previous meeting. This is to ensure that all required actions have been carried out by the parties responsible before moving forward.

The typical outcomes of a strategic review or management review meeting are:

– Changes to marketing plans and budgets

– Amendments to business processes and quality objectives

– Setting aside or cutting back of resources

– Revision to business plan and hiring plans

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