Strategy models & frameworks

Six Roles Required for Strategy Development

Goal Atlas - Roles Required For Strategy Development

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What is it?

The six roles required for strategy development can be used to explore the very different kinds of strategy jobs that will be needed and how best they might be filled by individuals and teams within your organisation.

The six roles required for strategy development feature in Mike’s book ‘The Strategy Manual: A step-by-step guide to the transformational change of anything‘ and are also covered in our Strategy Master Workshops.

How do I use them?

When scoping the work to be undertaken during strategy development, it is important to think through all the different types of work that need to be done, who will need to do them and how long they will take. In doing so, it is all too easy to assume everyone is simply going to do their usual day job but apply it to strategy. So, the Finance Director will do financial projections for strategy and the Sales Director will run customer numbers against these financial projections. Whilst this is essential, it won’t necessarily lead to any out-of-the-box thinking that might give rise to a breakthrough strategy. The six roles required for strategy development, described below, are a very different list of ‘jobs’. They can be used as a provocation to help you think through how each role will be filled in your organisation (by an individual or a team), whether there are any gaps and how best they might be filled.


The six roles required for strategy development can be viewed as follows:

1. The Magician is the creator who conjures solutions from loosely connected ideas and observations. Strategic ways of thinking are intuitive, creative and designed to produce synthesis; an integrated perspective on the organisation, a vision of the future you seek to bring about. Strategy is not primarily a matter of calculation and deduction but rather a matter of imagination and commitment. This is the magician’s work.

2. The Executive decides between the strategic options available and commits the organisation to a particular strategic destination and a set of core methods for getting there. The role of the Executive is usually assumed by the most senior manager or management team at either an organisational or departmental / functional level. To do this role well, the Executive needs two main types of support – the Advocate and the Analyst.

3. The Advocate distils the available strategic possibilities into a manageable number of strategic options for the Executive to decide between. A good Advocate is opinionated. Not in a personally entrenched, unmovable way, but in making the case as strongly as possible for each strategic option by showing it in its best light. Directors of Strategy typically fill the role of Advocate within larger organisations.

4. The Analyst is the dispassionate custodian of the strategic evidence-base. The Analyst plays both a proactive and a reactive role. The proactive role provides an evidence-based profile of the current situation and foreseeable prospects of the organisation. This evidence-base will be a key determinant of the strategic options proposed by the Advocate. The reactive role analyses the viability of different strategic options being considered to update and refine the strategy evidence-base.

5. The Author takes the strategic decisions made by the Executive and turns them into clear, persuasive, justifiable communication assets. At its simplest, this means writing the strategy document, however it can also mean communicating to stakeholders how and why strategy decisions have been made, how they will benefit the organisation and how progress will be monitored. The Author enables strategy to be presented for consultation, ratification and endorsement.

6. The Controller has the power to accept (or reject) the presented strategy and make it official. By making it official, the Executive is authorised to execute the changes specified in the strategy. This is the typical role of a Board of Directors.

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Author of 'The Strategy Manual' and 'Core Values', Goal Atlas founder and Director, Mike Baxter, is a renowned strategy expert, keynote speaker and thought leader. He publishes regular articles on all aspects of strategy and strategic planning and frequently shares his ideas and expertise via the Strategy Distilled newsletter, LinkedIn and other invited presentations.

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