Use this framework to define future strategies and prepare a business plan
In 1999 Rakesh Sondhi, an academic and business consultant, published a book entitled Total Strategy. It proposed a hierarchical strategy that begins with a Vision of where the company wants to be and works through a Mission, Objectives, Strategy, and Tactics. The initials give us the name of the framework - VMOST. It is a joined up tool that links each part of the chain.
The starting point of the VMOST framework is to decide what is to be covered – will it be the whole company or just one part of it? Rakesh Sondhi is a big believer in analysis and recommends using a range of tools that could help understand all aspects of the background. In this respect it could be useful to use PEST, Porter’s Diamond, Porter’s Five Forces and a SWOT.
In each of the five steps in the framework, Sondhi recommends identifying what is meant by the step and analysing all aspects of it. For example:
In identifying the vision for the company it is necessary to state very clearly where it is going. Having done this it is now necessary to analyse the vision by asking questions such as "Will people throughout the company understand it?", "Is it engaging and achievable?".
Consultants and academics might also call the mission the purpose of the company – why does it exist? As with the vision, the mission must be very clear in stating what the company does and its overall intention.
The framework now moves on to specific goals that must be achieved in order to fulfil the mission. The goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART).
Goals do not just happen, they have to be made to happen and this requires strategies. The strategy is the plan of action designed to achieve the long term aim of the company. It is the overall plan of how the company will play its business game.
Tactics are the detailed activities that will ensure that the strategy is achieved. They are the moves in the game that can be adjusted according to a changing business environment.
The power of the framework is ensuring that all the components are aligned. Do the tactics ensure the strategies will be successful? Do the strategies meet with the objectives? Do the objectives fit in with the mission? And does the mission align with the vision? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it would be necessary to adjust.
The sequential nature of the framework makes it useful for structuring a business plan. It also ensures joined up thinking.