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
  • 85% of Boards are out of touch with no common view on what constitutes competitive advantage
  • 82% of organizations do not engage BU 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

An unforgiving  VUCA environment focuses leaders’ attention on robust, rigorous yet agile and adaptable business strategic planning in order to set direction, exploit innovation, clarify priorities, harness discretionary effort and creativity, minimise group-think and pre-conceived ideas, and increase collaborative dialogue, diligent enquiry and the use of evidence.

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.  Indeed a 'full' coherent strategy may only emerge after 'development sprints' and planned experiments.

Your strategy needs to have a clear intent or aim, be meaningful to people with a clear and ‘worthwhile’ purpose —this unites people; and it needs to be actionable —which means grounded in reality, clear, simple, designed with execution in mind, and with a direct link to the 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 practice ‘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.

The paradox is that the discipline of thinking in this manner —with the time and information that is available— creates freedom of choice (more options will be identified) and a better quality decision will result.  Our expert facilitation, and the incisive questioning and deductive evidence-based discussion which we facilitate, 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 'practice', integrates the leadership structure, and makes strategy ‘meaningful’. 

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
  • 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
  • A common leadership practice to make effective decisions in dynamic environments
  • Full participant engagement.
  • Faster and more effective communication of decisions, plans and information in meaningful terms

© Tozer Consulting Limited 2012  Leadership - Strategy - Execution - Change