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013: Strategy: Four essential building blocks (Strategy Toolkit 2)

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it has never been more important to develop strategies that are agile enough to weather the crisis.

In this episode, the second in my 'Strategy Toolkit' series, I explore the four essential building blocks of strategy. These can either be used as a step-by-step process when you are creating a strategy for your school or team, or as a way of reviewing an existing strategy.

The first building block concerns your vision for where you are heading as a school: what is important and what are you trying to achieve?

The second encourages you to consider the accelerators and sticking points you face: your internal strengths and external opportunities on the one side and your internal weaknesses and external threats on the other.

The third building block involves identifying the general approach you plan to take to overcome the sticking points.

Finally, the fourth building block is when you define your action plan and develop coherent tactics to help you overcome your sticking points and achieve your vision.

I use this strategy planning tool extensively in my work with independent school heads, senior leadership teams and Development Offices. I’ve also used it for my own consultancy and with a number of other businesses and not-for-profits, so I know first-hand how powerful it can be.

Episode highlights

  • First building block: Vision (01:40)

  • Second building block: Accelerators and sticking points (03:30)

  • Third building block: General approach to overcome the sticking points (06:15)

  • Fourth building block: Action plan (08:10)

  • Summary (09:30)

References and resources

Strategic Response Discussion: There are details about this service on my homepage. Do email me if you’re interested in me facilitating a discussion for your organisation.

Fundraising Focus Programme: Expert fundraising advice to fit your school's budget

Find out more about Juliet Corbett’s work with independent schools and discover a host of free resources for schools at


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