Posts Tagged ‘analysis’

10 Good Questions on Strategy

July 30, 2012

We all face external factors that change fast, frequently and unpredictably. Regardless of sector, work is intensely dynamic. Are your strategy development and related planning processes responsive enough?

Re-tool and Refine

Strategy marshals the resources and actions that enable an organization to secure intended results. Strategy is crucial to the decisions that guide any program or organization. More and more, experts suggest the effort on strategy should equal that spent on operations. Getting strategy “right” matters a lot.

Analysis, Inclusion, Speed

Old routines, inadequate sensing, biased inputs, erroneous assumptions, poor timing, delays and other complexities in strategy development can severely limit program and organizational potential. Creating a clear, disciplined process for strategy that considers diagnosis to commitment, execution and assessment is fundamental. Better strategy and strategic management values analysis, inclusion and speed.

Strategy Development

Here are ten good questions to use as you retool strategy to improve performance:

  • What outcomes define success for your organization?
  • Who holds responsibility for strategy?
  • What are your key issues, critical decisions, data and uncertainties?
  •  What framework exists for colleagues to inform, develop, implement and revise strategy?
  • How are strategic priorities named and resources allocated?
  • What internal communications are used to effectively express strategy and related plans?
  • How are cross-organizational projects handled?
  • Are savvy, fast decisions made through clear processes to support strategy?
  • How are directors/trustees and partners involved in the development and execution of strategy?
  • How is the implementation of strategy and related plans tracked?

Lisa Wyatt, Ed. D. is chief strategy officer and partner in Phillip Wyatt Knowlton, Inc. PWK is a performance management resource for systems change with clients worldwide. Lisa has cross-sector and international experience. She is an author and W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow. See : www.pwkinc.com

Great Plans Adjust

January 6, 2012

“The only thing we know about the future,” said Peter Drucker, a renowned management advisor, “is that it’s going to be different.”

This gives some important weight to thoughtful alteration and re-calibration. It’s very important to plan well from the start – but just as important to implement with care by adjusting along the way.

The world changes fast. It feels like the pace of change increases month-to-month. And scale grows exponentially, too. The “waves” are choppier. For example, the new normal in stock market swings isn’t a few dozen points in a day but 2-400 points. How can any plan be adequate, let alone savvy, when months pass from planning to action?

 David Kord Murray (a Silicon Valley innovation guru and former NASA staff) recommends a “fusion” of “strategic planning and tactical execution.” He advocates for adaptive management. We concur.

Delays Have Impact

Plans often fail because of poor implementation. The cues and conditions have changed by the time execution occurs. People often focus only on plan fidelity. Beware of inadequate attention to emerging information that affects analysis and should influence subsequent actions. Assumptions and even evidence that informed the initial plan may change – so tactics must, also.

Real-time, what’s vital is we recognize the implications of evolution in context and capabilities. Test your plans now for relevance and cogency…high scores there “win” over obsolescence and incoherence. Superstar athletes do…In hiking, climbing, skiing, and golf it’s vital to plan for the weather and “read” it as you proceed. It means you interpret during the competition and revise initial plans.

Fast Change

Adaptive management is a solution for the fast change we face in all the sectors – private, public and government. In a global knowledge economy, this requires some distinct competencies and experience. Sensing, analysis, interpretation, guiding are key. They can significantly influence resource allocation, integration, alignment and tactics.

Over time, with accountabilities and consequences, it’s possible to learn how to interpret emerging conditions and revise plans which enable success. The ability to demonstrate revision and improvisation are key markers of a strategist who manages well. So is thinking that “sees” top-down and bottom-up implications.

Flex & Twist

Prepare yourself and your team to flex, weave, bob, dance, turn, and twist. These are physical images that reflect adapting. These kinds of moves create Plan B. It’s important to anticipate changing plans as soon as you make them. Rigid may be tempting in conditions of uncertainty, but these days … it rarely gets results.

 –Lisa Wyatt, Ed. D. is a strategy architect and partner in Phillips Wyatt Knowlton, Inc. PWK is a performance management resource for systems change with clients worldwide. Lisa has cross-sector and international experience. She is an author and W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow. See : www.pwkinc.com


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