The organizations that struggle seem to follow a similar scenario which looks something like this:
- Before a new fiscal year starts, there is a concerted drive to develop/refine the next year’s strategic plan, and by the year's end, each
department puts together their execution objectives, initiatives and key tactics to make the strategy happen. These plans are
shared/presented, often with much fanfare, throughout the organization. Core projects might or might not be included.
- With the start of the next year, more often than not, these plans lay dormant in Power Point presentations on shared drives, for the next
quarter, or sometimes, until the next year…when the process starts again.
Organizations with this scenario do not use the information they put in their plans to proactively lead/refine their actions, nor do they have any idea whether or not their actions enabled effective implementation of the strategies port forth in the strategic plan. In other words, good strategies are rewarded…not good execution. What has stumped most strategy professionals and quite a few CEO’s, however, is what to do to remedy this situation. Solutions range from improving company leadership, communication, and culture. We would like to offer an alternate way of looking at the problem…that has proven successful for many companies. This new discipline leverages many of the strengths of new evolving ‘agile’ methodologies yet supports use of a wide variety of tools and processes, including Lean, 6 Sigma, balanced scorecard, Hoshin, OKR’s and now Agile.
What we have seen is that these tools can all be made to work successfully…provided there are principles and a framework for them to succeed. We would like to offer this context for a field we are calling Agile Strategy Execution.
The following are the 3 principles of Agile Strategy Execution:
1. Alignment: Strategies, goals and tactics that are cascaded, linked and coordinated
2. Accountable: Data and outcome driven team buy-in & ownership
3. Responsiveness: Ongoing adaptation to support changing landscapes
In the next several blogs, we will be discussing these 3 principles and the Agile Strategy Execution Framework. It will follow the current best practices of our industry, inclusive of tools and techniques currently in use.
--We believe Strategy Execution is too important a discipline to leave as a presentation on an organization's shared drive-- ... what do you think?
In my previous blog, I proposed that a way to drive more effective strategy execution (and solve the strategy execution problem) lies with leveraging the strengths of evolving agile methodologies and existing strategy execution best practices. This new discipline that I am calling ‘Agile Strategy Execution’ involves translating strategy into a reality that is ALIGNED, ACCOUNTABLE and RESPONSIVE.
Specifically, this Framework is composed of the following six Dimensions and two Influencing Factors:
Dimension #1: Detailed Plans and Metrics: This involves incorporating a systematic and disciplined approach that focuses on translating breakthrough organizational goals, objectives and strategies into specific functional area plans and their associated metrics.
Dimension #2: Align and Link: This dimension means ensuring that strategic goals are aligned and linked both vertically and cross-functionally driving progress/actions at all organization levels.
Dimension #3: Real-Time Updates: The Real-Time Updates dimension involve institutionalizing a transparent ‘single source of truth’ online for all plan reporting and then driving real-time plan updates based on day to day ‘triggers’, ensuring properly prioritized schedule of work.
Dimension #4: Cadence Decisions: This dimension means ensuring proactive real-time resourcing & course correcting solutions to manage prioritization & backlog decision-making processes.
Dimension #5: Innovation Bets: Innovation Bets involves identifying and executing small opportunities to study, pilot or test new innovations that reflect current market conditions, new technology or other advances.
Dimension #6: Refresh or Transform: This last dimension involves formally reassessing and revising core business assumptions and any required renewing, updating or revising of strategic or tactical operating plans, priorities, linkages and alignment.
There are also two key enabling or disabling Influencing Factors that must be considered:
Influencing Factor #1 Culture Impacts: The culture influence factor involves executing mechanisms to assess and exploit formal vs. informal, and preached vs. practiced culture and initiating a process to drive any needed culture changes so that employees are actively engaged.
Influencing Factor #2 Connected Governance™: Connected Governance™ involves the strengthening of accountability by linking Leadership, Employee Engagement and Collaboration through a Digital Experience.
The benefits of such an approach are that:
This strategy Execution Framework is the subject of a book entitled Agile Strategy Execution Framework- Revolutionizing the How, soon to be released by Gaye Clemson and Alan Leeds through Amazon.com, and for the ASP Global Webinar Series in February 2017. If you are interested in more information about the Agile Strategy Execution Framework, please go to www.aseframework.com to watch a short animated video, read more about the Strategy Execution Framework and Maturity Model or join our pre-release distribution list.