Designing the Corporate Strategy Function

Corporate functions such as Finance, HR or Corporate Communications usually have a similar focus and scope across most large organisations. But no two Corporate Strategy Functions are alike. Indeed, quite a few large companies and many smaller ones do not have a corporate strategy function at all, relying on the CEO - with flexible support from other senior managers whose main responsibilities lie elsewhere -  to develop and renew the corporate strategy. In this project, we interviewed some 40 Heads of Strategy from large public companies in Europe, North America and Africa, along with a mix of CEOs, Business unit managers and others with a perspective on this issue, to understand the scope and focus of the corporate strategy function and what drives it.

This project aims to provide a practical guide for the CEO and Head of Strategy on how to tailor the Strategy function to meet specific corporate needs. The suggested process starts with consideration of the corporate strategy priorities. These include the regular planning and implementation of business unit strategies but also other big picture issues such as new business development, M&A, reorganisation and transformation.  With a clear view of the priorities, the next step is to understand the capabilities of the strategy function and of other parts of the corporate organisation to meet them. Then the CEO can exercise his preferences, and the particular organisational context, to decide what should be the scope and focus of the strategy function. 

The output of the project is summarised in the article Made to Measure: Designing the corporate strategy function.  A more detailed report documenting the results of the project is currently being drafted and will be available shortly. 

Read about our related research project, currently underway: Who's taking care of strategy?