Staging strategic actions: The importance of timing in decision making

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What is staging of strategic actions?

The idea of staging strategic actions is to plan out the sequence of actions that you plan to take. Essentially the roadmap of your key actions – things you want to accomplish this year, next year, and several years down the road.

Considering staging is important, because while you may have an ultimate strategy for the firm, it may not be possible to instantaneously achieve that state. Some things have a greater priority to get done first, while others can be delayed to a later stage.

Reasons why it is important to consider staging strategic actions

Reason 1: Lack of resources to do everything at once

The first reason why it is important to stage strategic actions is that it may simply not be feasible to do everything at once. Companies have limited resources. This may include both the financial resources of the company, which prevent it pursuing multiple different directions simultaneously, and also limits on the amount of time that managers have. Staging is thus important to prioritize what to do first, second, and third. 

Reason 2: Certain actions need to be completed before others

A connected reason why it is important to stage decisions is that certain actions may make sense to do before others. Some decisions may make sense only when the company has completed a different activity. One stage of the company’s rollout may only make sense when it is able to build on some prior success.

Staging involves thinking through what are the important stages – what are the things that it is important to do first to enable you to complete other parts of the overall strategy.

Reason 3: Helps reduce risk - allows you to learn from initial missteps

Staging may also help you to reduce risk. Rather than trying to do everything at once, and failing big, staging allows you to gain some experience in a particular area, that you can draw from in subsequent stages. You may discover that your initial approach has some limitations to it, and needs adapting – it is much better to discover this once and learn from it, than to run into the same problem simultaneously across lots of different areas.

Final thoughts: Prioritization is not a bad thing

It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do everything now. Rarely is this possible – you never have unlimited resources – and rarely is it desirable. It is important to be able to recognize what is important to achieve firms, to prioritise that, and then to move on to other areas at a later time.