A long-term plan of action which reflects the goals and objectives of the owner group and typically covers the full range of the planning horizon.

The general roadmap on how to achieve the objectives. It sets the framework and context for the organization.

Types of Strategy

Strategy within the Hierarchical Context
The organization's strategy occupies one of the base layers of the aspirational-transactional hierarchy.

       A. Aspirational Elements
      B. Tactical ElementsWithout an adequate strategy the organization will encounter difficulties when developing some of the other layers of the hierarchy.

Strategy vs Plans vs. Processes
There is often confusion between these three concepts.

Risk has been defined as “the effect of uncertainty on the organization’s objectives”. Strategies, plans and processes each provide the organization with some tools to reduce “uncertainty” and thereby to help the organization manage risk.

It is essential that the organization understand the subtle differences between these three concepts and the appropriate sequence in which they should be developed.

  • Strategy (the Roadmap) – This is a high level map of the landscape to reveal where the organization is located now (“A”) relative to where it wants to get to (“B”).  A strategy does consider the different potential routes between “A” and “B” but is primarily focused on the destination rather than the journey.  It offers a roadmap to provide navigational context and some guidelines to consider the multiple alternative routes but no details on which specific route to use for getting to the destination -- that is where the plans and processes comes into the story. For example, Amiable Housing Society has captured its strategy in a short document that provides a “lay of the land” and the milestones that will be encountered and serve to confirm progress along the journey to the destination.
  • Plans (the Route) – This is a documented series of steps on how to move the organization from where its is now (“A”) to where it wants to be (“B”).  A plan tackles questions like how, when, where, who, and what. As such it supports the strategy by providing a way to reach (“B”) that provides an acceptable balance of risk, cost and performance. A plan will inevitably need to make some trade-offs – it will have to pick one route over another. Good plans recognize that no route is perfect and that there are always contingencies along way. A plan works out how to deal with roadblocks and traffic jams along the way from “A” to “B”.
  • Processes (the Vehicle & the Fuel)– These are the clearly defined ways of doing specific tasks. A process is much more rigid sequence than a plan. A process is typically applied to a very specific task that is well defined with little chance of contingencies or need for flexibility. Processes are the powerhouses that do all the heavy lifting. They are the fuel that moves the organization forward along the route to the destination.

One of the key difference between strategies, plans and processes is the level of uncertainty that is involved.

The responsibilities for developing strategy, plans and processes are therefore usually separated within the organization. This is summarized in the following table.

Activities to reduce uncertainty


Questions answered

Staff assigned to the role



Why? What if?

Top management –

(Board of Directors, Executive)

Yearly or longer


Who? When? Where?

Middle management -

Department manager

Monthly, quarterly yearly



Frontline staff

Every day

Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does my organization have a strategy that helps to shape its plans and processes?
  • Does my organization separate the functions of strategy, plans are processes? Or, are they all jumbled?
  • How does your organization bridge its strategy into projects?

Strategy Development Tools/Maps
Communication tools that are used to tell a storyof how value is created for the organization.

  • BCG Growth-Share Matrix
  • Power-Dependency Matrix

Strategy Execution Techniques
  • Advocacy - 
  • Education - 
  • Regulation - 
  • Investement/Upgrades - eg. fix roads
The hierarchy of organizational purpose with strategy represented as one of the layers
Fig. The Aspirational-Transactional Hierarchy with strategy represented as one of the aspirational layers.

The journey to asset management maturity may sometimes feel like a maze
Fig. The journey to asset management maturity (including the development of appropriate strategy) may sometimes feel like a maze.

Fig. The journey to asset management maturity (Including the development of appropriate strategy) may sometimes feel like a knot that needs to be untied.

Workshops help to elicit qualitative data within the organization
Fig. Workshops are a useful method to gather the organization's knowledge resources to help develop strategy.

I. Care is strategizing in order to allocate limited resources across a portfolio of buildings
Fig. I. Care is strategizing in order to efficiently and effectively allocate the limited resources across a portfolio of buildings.

I. Care is trying to select the most efficient course of action to achieve his objectives.
Fig. I. Care is trying to select the most efficient course of action to achieve his objectives.

See also:

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