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organization development towards maturity

Usually, this consists of a brief description of the strategic issue or problem as perceived by the client(warning: this may only be a description of symptoms). This issue statement should have a client-oriented focus, whether to the CEO, Vice-President for Strategic Development, etc. Boards ofDirectors’ also influence (and sometimes direct) strategy, so they may also be clients (Westphal &Frederickson, 2001). But, sometimes the client of the analysis may be a non-management actor — amajor shareholder, potential investor or investment analyst. Therefore, we make a conceptualdistinction between the client and the firm that is the focus of the analysis (the “focal firm”), eventhough they frequently overlap.Keep in mind that a strategic analysis is usually performed in response to some “cue toaction” — a symptom or a constellation of symptoms. Sometimes the cue takes the form of a set ofproblems the client perceives the focal firm is currently facing or will face in the near future. Often,managers in the focal firm will go further and propose (or exhibit a preference for) a particular newstrategy, or even suggest several potential strategic alternatives. The analyst can give the project aninitial focus by describing the client’s perceived problems or the focal firm’s initial proposedstrategy at the time he or she was engaged. (It is unnecessary for analysts to restrict themselves toexactly one key issue, but they should not muddle the analysis by listing every issue that comes tomind.) Sometimes, with highly successful firms, the major focus of the analysis is exclusively onstrategic opportunities.