Strategy isn’t just for the private sector

When we think about strategy, we tend to focus on the commercial sector, where companies have pretty much free rein to invest, restructure and divest in their quest for increased shareholder returns. But strategy is just as important for the public and not-for-profit sectors. If not more so.

Strategy is simply the way in which organisations go about achieving their objectives. If objectives are the what, strategy is the how.

The what for many commercial organisations is to generate profit. And there are various ways to do that, and so probably just as many viable strategies. But public sector and not-for-profit organisations have more challenging objectives. And these are not always decided by the organisation, but rather set out in law or in its founding charter.

Public sector organisations, especially, tend to have a broad range of objectives across different policy areas, which need to be balanced and resourced. And the issues that they deal with can be intractable in the extreme. They need to know that they are doing the right things to address these issues and to achieve their goals.

Public sector and not-for-profit organisations also face greater restrictions on the funding available to them and on the ways in which this funding can be spent. And they need to display a greater level of accountability for the funds that they do have.

All of this means that a clear, well-designed and suitably-resourced strategy – or a series of coordinated and interlocking strategies – is imperative if public sector and not-for-profit organisations are to achieve their objectives and to use their resources to maximum effect. Sure, developing such a strategy isn’t easy. But this doesn’t make it any less vital.

If you’d like to talk more about strategy in the public and not-for-profit sectors, get in touch.

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