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Strategy Clarification

Creating an organization’s direction based on their unique situatio

Simply said, strategy is the overall direction a tribal Nation or enterprise takes. It is a pattern that gives coherence to the decisions of an organization.  And it is stated in such a way as to define what an organization will do and will not do.  Working with tribal organizations and enterprises, we have learned several guidelines about strategy:

  • Strategy starts with a clear, energizing, shared vision
  • With a clear strategy, a tribal Nation or enterprise  can more effectively take control its own destiny
  • You want to focus your strengths and resources where they give you the greatest advantage
  • An effective strategy does not depend on any single natural resource,  gaming revenue, or financial possession
  • Strategy is about seeking a competitive edge over rivals while slowing the erosion of present advantages
  • Since there are an unlimited number of opportunities and limited resources, you cannot be world class at everything
  • If you don’t know what projects to say no to, you don’t have a strategy

Strategy works like a GPS. You set your destination and it guides every turn, letting you know you are heading in the right direction. Without a clear strategy, you may wander off course, lose your way, or you may never reach your desired goals.

We have heard of one newly formed tribal business that received seed funding from the gaming arm of the tribe. Tribal leadership directed the management of new organization to begin evaluating business ventures. Hundreds of proposals poured in and the staff began evaluating various options. Soon, the reviewing process became very confusing. Business management preferred a business venture with a high rate of return or profit and tribal leaders wanted a venture that created the highest number of jobs. Without a clear strategy for filtering the proposals, the staff was overwhelmed.  And those proposals that did make the top of the list created arguments among the staff who tried to fulfill conflicting goals.

In another tribe, a department head directed its staff to build a calendar of all grant notices and prepare proposals based on which ones would bring in the largest amount of indirect funds. It seemed to be a sensible and practical policy, but with leadership lacking an overall direction, some projects proved difficult to manage and did not meet the needs of the tribal members. The tribe burdened itself with a tarnished track record and found that it was more difficult to received grant funding in the following years. 

One Fire can help you identify your areas of opportunity and competitive advantage.  With our assistance, you can develop a clear strategy to realize your goals and vision.  Several methods we work with are:

  • Visioning sessions
  • Strategic planning off sites
  • Mission and values clarification meetings
  • Leadership development
  • Consensus building meetings
  • Team building sessions
  • Problem diagnosis and brainstorming sessions

From our experience, it has become clear that the vitality and success of an organization hinges on the strategic choices it makes.