Send an email to jeremy.tozer @ tozerconsulting.com to request a copy of our Strategy Development and Execution brochure.

 

How clear is your strategic plan, how adaptable is it, and how emotionally engaged are people in it?

Research into 12,500 top teams and 5,000 boards (Kakabadse, 2015) shows that:

  • 34% of top team members are divided on mission/purpose, value and strategy
  • The long-term sustainable future lies with the purpose/mission based enterprise
  • 66% of top teams are inhibited and find it difficult to address uncomfortable issues
  • 85% of Boards are out of touch with no common view on what constitutes competitive advantage
  • 82% of organizations do not engage business unit general managers in strategy development, resulting in half-hearted execution of plans they do not believe in.
  • Where engagement is highest, organizations enjoy predictable gains

A rapidly changing, uncertain, complex and unforgiving climate focuses leaders’ attention on robust, rigorous yet adaptable business decision-making and planning in order to:

  • Set context and direction for the organization.
  • Exploit strategic innovation, organizational agility, and deep customer insights to develop competitive advantage and increase revenue and margins.
  • Reduce costs, wasted effort and resources by clarifying priorities and effectively aligning people’s work.
  • Harness the discretionary effort, expertise and knowledge of your people to do this.
  • Minimise the distorting effects of personality, perception and group-think on decision-making
  • Increase the use of evidence, dialogue and diligent inquiry to distinguish assertion and assumption from valid deduction, and to harness the combined power of convergent and divergent thinking

Strategy articulates a decision to complete an organizational-level task, or achieve a defined end-state and objectives, together with the reason for doing that (purpose, which gives meaning to people). 

Strategy provides coherence between actual capability, external context and strategic objectives, and addresses, in outline, how those strategic objectives will be achieved —how you will compete.  It provides a rationale and framework for operational and tactical actions.  A strategic plan may outline the preferred course of action at the outset of implementing the strategy —provide direction— but this should be designed and enabled to evolve in the light of actual progress and changing context.

Your strategy needs to have a clear intent or aim, be meaningful to people with a clear and ‘worthwhile’ purpose —this unites people, and actionable —which means grounded in reality and evidence-based, clear, simple, designed with execution in mind, and with a direct link to daily priority of work on the front line.

Our approach is not to tell, but to guide you through a rigorous yet time-efficient, dynamic, engaging, collaborative dialogue which is non-linear, mission-focused, and evidence-based (both hard and soft evidence).  We call this decision making process ‘The Appreciation’.  This wins both the hearts and minds of those involved: it asks searching questions to clarify your own thinking and the 'social process' secures engagement and ownership.  The quality of the dialogue invariably lifts participants' level of thinking and deepens their understanding of the business and the issues faced by colleagues and their teams.

The resulting clarity, emotional engagement and sense of confidence and inspiration that develops makes for true empowerment.

The Appreciation process is probably the most valuable business lesson I have learnt in the last 5 years, it has significantly improved the performance of myself and my team by doing the thinking up front and implementing a Course of Action that needs little or no re-engineering. I highly recommend that every manager takes the opportunity to learn the process, use it every day for problems big and small, and experience the motivating effect of making the right decision every time"  Mawgan Wilkins, Director Global Product Services Cisco EMEA

 

Clarity = Alignment to & Effective Understanding of Higher Intent + Authority/Accountability Alignment

Emotional Engagement = Pride + Willing Accountability + Discretionary Effort + Initiative

The Appreciation's penetrating question agenda focuses thought and dialogue in this (non-linear) sequence:

  1. Mission Analysis: analysis of ‘the higher intent’, desired end-state and its purpose, desired effects, freedom of action and limitations and so on. This defines a clear unequivocal statement of overall intent or the aim and its purpose —the mission.  
  2. Factor Analysis: identification and deductive analysis of the key factors affecting achievement of the mission —what that means and importantly what tasks need to be completed as a consequence and their priority.
  3. Courses of Action Open —identification of the distinct Courses of Action (CoA) or overall options open (including Task Organization or structural options), and comparison of their pros and cons.
  4. The Decision.  The selection of the preferred CoA.

The paradox is that the discipline of thinking in this manner —with whatever time and information is available— creates freedom of choice (more options will be identified) and a better quality decision. 

Our expert facilitation —incisive questioning and deductive evidence-based discussion— results in leadership team unity, clarity and emotional commitment to a simple, clear and achievable plan.

When repeated at lower levels, the same iterating, recurring flexible mission-focused decision-making 'discipline' (a thought process and a social process), integrates the leadership structure, and makes strategy ‘meaningful’.  The questions in ‘mission analysis’ lifts leaders’ ‘level of thinking’ by two quantum steps; it also provides them with direction in the absence of ‘explicit given direction’ and so ensures alignment of thought and activity.  The social process (facilitated discussion) secures emotional engagement and ownership.  This enables individuals to display their initiative and organizations to develop collective agility.

Outcomes of a facilitated Appreciation include:

  • A clear, simple one page schematic plan with all your tasks and activities prioritised and sequenced on lines of activity to achieve the mission ― ‘directional intensity’.
  • A means of assessing all ‘new’ and ‘current’ activity in terms of start/stop/continue.
  • A balanced scorecard derived from the plan containing both leading indicators and final measures of success.
  • Adoption of a common leadership practice to make effective, aligned and mission-focused strategic, operational and tactical decisions in dynamic environments.
  • Ownership and understanding of your clarified vision and purpose.
  • Full stakeholder engagement.
  • Faster and more effective communication of decisions, plans and information in meaningful terms.
  • A tool that may be fully integrated with, and which will enhance, your performance management, business planning and project management systems and processes.
  • Increased levels of trust, confidence and accountability.

 

Balanced Scorecard & Performance Metrics

We’ve encountered lots of people in organisations who spend their time gathering data to produce measures and reports nobody wants, needs or reads. They continue because of cultural legacies, personal habit, justification for their role’s existence, and/or lack of ‘clarity’ about what actually is needed.

We will work with you to ensure that you measure that which needs to be measured – a balanced range of leading indicators and the ‘final’ measures of success.  We say balanced so that a measure does not induce behaviour that raises performance in one area while reducing effort (and resultant measures) in another critical area. We will also help you to interpret the results to derive meaning and thus inform decisions.

The simplest way to derive balanced measures is directly from the ‘campaign plan’ of sequenced tasks on distinct lines of activity that typically results from making a strategic appreciation as described above.

Contact Us

To discuss your organization’s leadership of strategy execution, please contact Jeremy Tozer:

Telephone: +44 (0)208 1446 929
Email: jeremy.tozer @ tozerconsulting.com
© Tozer Consulting Limited 2012
Strategy - Mission - Leadership - Execution - Change