Challenges of Strategy Articulation

Jonathan has a good post (here) deconstructing the “strategy management” mess (perpetuated by someone on the “other side” here).  His blog also has some great posts on strategy management itself (here) and on cascading (here).  I like his simple “formulation, articulation, execution” strategy management process breakdown.

What I’ve most struggled with is strategy articulation.  Jonathan notes in his strategy management post with “increased understanding comes increased motivation,” which is the ideal outcome of a good strategy cascade.  But per my comment:

The cascade sounds great in theory. However, the ability to communicate well enough to bridge the gap between painting the big picture and detailing where one element fits is rare. Formally linking goals, initiatives, and metrics only goes so far. The amount of informal coaching that goes into getting teams to get these linkages in the gut is conisderable and hard to automate.

What have you all done, seen, wished you had done, etc. that worked when cascading strategy down through your organizations?

I’ve iterated to reasonable solutions, but it is a grind. 

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2 Responses

  1. I have a formal method that helps with the informal stuff. Over simplified, it’s focusing on the communication of WHAT you want to accomplish before you both trying to measure. I often joke that KPIs are evil because they focus attention on what is / not working, rather than the actual outcome. More information on my cascading process can be found in this post http://alignment.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/cascading-satisfaction/

  2. Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for the comment.

    Your options make an excellent foundation for brainstorming about the “What.” Just outlining a “taxonomy” of objective options will put some context around our discussions (which has been an issue when bridging the gap). A lot of my team is very ops-focused; most appreciate any formal method that structures a big-picture discussion.

    I’ll introduce the approach when we do our next strategy iteration. My guess is that it will focus our brainstorm even a bit more.

    Thanks and best,
    Paul

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