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A director of strategy works with senior managers in a business to determine where the business is going and how it will get there. Strategy discussions encompass the purpose and values of the organization, and focus on setting medium- and long-term goals. This role is usually found in large, commercial businesses. The strategy director reports directly to senior management and may even be a member of the management team. The director may work with a small team of analysts and support staff.
The director of strategy is responsible for obtaining and evaluating information about industry and market trends, competitive threats and possible business opportunities. For example, a director of strategy for a technology company may chart a trend showing customers wanting access to services via smartphone apps. Her research may show that competitors are already developing such apps. She must also be aware of potential legislation that may affect any areas of the company's operations. In addition, she must understand the internal culture and capabilities of the company she works for.
In a large business, setting strategy is a collaborative process conducted by a team of leaders. A strategy might include decisions about entering new markets, developing products or stopping production of existing products. The director of strategy guides discussions and contributes insight derived from her knowledge and analysis of the industry and competitors. She makes recommendations and tests ideas that are put forward by other members of the team. She drafts strategy papers and presentations to be made to the board or other key stakeholders in the company.
Planning and Execution
A director helps a company form strategy, then focuses on plans to implement the strategy. He works with colleagues in senior management to identify what each department needs to do to make a strategy work. For example, the marketing department may need to make the company more visible in a new market or the IT department might need to introduce a new computer system. In addition, the company may need to recruit more people or people with different skills. It may be that the director of strategy will take responsibility herself for the delivery of a particular project that forms part of the strategy, such as the development of a new product or service or expansion into a new territory.
In many companies, the director of strategy acts as a consultant to the chief executive. She may be asked to supervise ad hoc research projects or feasibility studies that do not clearly fall within an existing business unit. In companies that own a number of businesses or are highly departmentalized, the director of strategy provides strategic advice to the heads of business units.