“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” – General Omar Bradley
The creation of strategy – and importantly the collaboration in that process by the stakeholders – is crucial. It ensures understanding, ownership and alignment of all the moving parts. The all important aspects of the strategy. And it stops you becoming distracted by every seemingly great idea or fancy.
As soon as possible in every strategy it’s vital to spend time getting everyone aligned with the main idea. Vital to avoid risk and cost, gaps and misunderstandings. Exploring your world interpreting what we all see as the ambitions and intentions saves significant risk and cost later.
In our world this is step one – the future intention configured within one structured framework. It is also one that we use to revisit and constantly re-validate in order to be sure they are the right intentions as things change and as a result what it all means to our vision and strategy.
There are five modules to this framework explained simply as follows
1. The Intention & Purpose. We start with a simple understanding of the intention – ‘What is the intention driving the exam question that we have set?’
This may well be from multiple perspectives - the business, the leadership of a particular department/division or simply from the team embarking on this journey. All are valid and important to understand. If we start out with mixed understanding or translation then our chances of achieving an aligned vision and strategy are greatly reduced.
2. The Dynamics. The very next dimension we need to understand is ‘What are the primary influences on this business?
The key pressures, tensions and dynamics that most impact our intention given the exam question we have set?’ We refer to these as dynamics because we typically have no direct control over them. They are simply the truths and realities of our world and a reflection of the direction that the world, our category/geography and the industry is travelling.
3. The Capabilities. Given the Intention and the dynamics that will be impacting everything that we do we then need to think about our capabilities in the widest context. What have we got that will enable us to achieve the Intention within the dynamics.
By that we mean ‘what is it that we need to have in our wider organization and eco-system of partners that will equip and enable us to adapt, respond and sustain in line with the Intentions and Dynamics?’ These high level capabilities hold many clues that will inform the resulting strategy, action plan and future operating model.
4. The Skills and Traits. The people component of capability is such a significant one that we bring this out as a sub component.
Ultimately it’s the people that make up the DNA and culture of an organization and we need to think about what skills, competences, characteristics and behaviors we need and will best deliver our Intentions. We think of this in two dimensions – those of the Team and those of the Individual.