How does the CFO turn strategic ambiguity into strategic clarity

By leveraging the planning and performance management cycles as well as analytical capabilities, CFOs can minimise strategic ambiguity and establish strategic clarity for the organisation and its stakeholders. In this article we explore how CFOs can leverage data and the planning and performance management cycles to address multiple aspects of strategic risk and in the process create opportunities for themselves to serve as business strategists and catalysts.

Should you require a more detailed discussion around attaining strategic clarity, contact Professor Rodger George at Deloitte South Africa at rogeorge@deloitte.co.za

Turning strategic ambiguity into strategic clarity

The Strategy Execution Framework

One of the root causes of strategic ambiguity, not surprisingly, is the volatility in the business environment. Economic upheaval and change continue to drive many companies to revisit and revise their core strategies. At the same time, however, many CFOs tell us their own companies’ ability, or inability, to formulate and execute their business strategies only adds to the problem.

These factors challenge CFOs’ abilities for decisive direction-setting and decision-making and can stifle the broader organisation’s ability to effectively execute the strategy. Addressing the problem requires considering a four-step approach:

  • Define
  • Communicate
  • Implement
  • Adapt

Spearheading strategic clarity

At each step of the Strategy Execution Framework, there can be opportunities for CFOs to take the lead in cutting through the fog of ambiguity to help achieve strategic clarity. Moreover, guided by the following four questions, CFOs can move out of their steward and operator roles into the strategic and catalyst roles they desire.

  1. What is the core vision of the organisation?
  2. Do employees and investors understand and agree with the strategic direction?
  3. What is the preferred way to implement the strategic direction into concrete action?
  4. Does the strategy demand a different skill set across the organisation? Or is there a gap between the desired and available skills and capabilities?

Strategy’s silver lining

The CFO plays a critical role in bringing strategic clarity to multiple constituents as a result of his particular position as an unbiased participant in the strategy development, communication, and execution process. By leveraging the planning and performance management cycles as well as analytical capabilities, CFOs can minimise strategic ambiguity and establish strategic clarity for the organisation and its stakeholders. To finance chiefs, spearheading that process is not often “if practicable,” but increasingly necessary.

Download the full article . . . . Turning strategic ambiguity into strategic clarity

Should you require a more detailed discussion around attaining strategic clarity, contact Professor Rodger George at Deloitte South Africa at rogeorge@deloitte.co.za

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