Strategy models & frameworks

Strategy Design Model

Goal Atlas - Strategy Design Model

Strategy Design Checklist

Goal Atlas - Strategy Design Checklist

All Goal Atlas downloads are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Attribute to Goal Atlas 2021.

What is it?

The Strategy Design Model shows eight interlinked elements that good strategies should be designed to feature: destination, methods, alignment, innovation, priority, performance, adaptability and adoption.

The Strategy Design Model features in Mike’s book ‘The Strategy Manual: A step-by-step guide to the transformational change of anything‘ and is also covered in our Strategy Master Workshops.

How do I use it?

The Strategy Design Model provides the set of design features that makes strategy fit for purpose. By putting the Strategy Design Model at the heart of strategy development, you ensure that the strategy you are creating has all the design elements it needs. A checklist of these eight elements is given in the Strategy Design Checklist.


The eight elements of a strategy that is fit-for-purpose are as follows:

1. Destination – where you are striving to get to. What is your “winning aspiration?” What is the important end you are striving to reach?

2. Methods – what are the handful of core activities that are critical for you to reach your destination?

Destination and methods are the essence of strategy. They are what strategy is designed around. Your strategy also needs to be designed so that its goals are appropriately aligned, innovative and prioritised, and that strategy success is measurable:

3. Alignment – the logic connecting actions to outcomes. If everyone in your organisation is pulling in the same direction, you will achieve more and achieve it quicker than if they are pulling in different directions.

4. Innovation – the cultivation of new ways of thinking and working. How much innovation does the strategy demand? How will you build the organisational capability and culture to achieve it?

5. Priority – the identification of what really matters. Peter Drucker, known as the ‘founder of modern management’ says “The worst thing is to do a little bit of everything. It is better to pick the wrong priority than none at all.”

6. Performance – data indicative of meaningful progress. “What gets measured, gets managed!” Whilst this may be true, it is not always a good thing if the changes that matter most are the hardest to measure (e.g. aspects of culture change within an organisation). The measurement of progress serves two purposes: firstly, it justifies continued commitment to the strategy and secondly it informs course-correction and fine-tuning of strategy adoption.

Finally, your strategy needs to be designed to be adaptable and adoption-ready:

7. Adaptability – resilience and agility combined. A key element of strategy is defining how the organisation is going to respond to change, how it is going to move fast and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

8. Adoption – active engagement, willing commitment. The success of every strategy depends on the support it can recruit from the individuals needed to bring about change, which is why we call it adoption: less push, more pull. Putting people at the centre of strategy design ensures their involvement, commitment and active engagement. The governing body and senior leadership need to adopt the strategy and ensure their decisions both support the strategy and avoid eroding or undermining it. Front-line employees and key stakeholders (customers, suppliers, business partners etc.) need to think and work in ways conducive to making the changes sought by the strategy.

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Mike Baxter's Book: 'The Strategy Manual'

'The Strategy Manual: A step-by-step guide to the transformational change of anything' draws on Mike's many years of expertise to deliver a practical handbook for anyone interested in the creation, management or governance of strategy. Find out more...

"Best management book I've read all year." Clo Willaerts

Strategy Workshops

Exclusive hands-on workshops to enable you to develop and apply a confident mastery of strategy, embedded into your day-to-day working practices. The extensive curriculum of workshop topics can be delivered to individuals or groups, with facilitation by Goal Atlas Director and strategy expert, Mike Baxter.

Thought Leadership

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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