What would you say if I said “Strategy is a social endeavour”? After all, human beings are social animals. Why would the process of strategizing deny that social context?
Moreover, today’s complexity means that distinctive strategies are unlikely to come from or be executable by one single person – however brilliant that individual is.
Additionally, collaborating to strategize releases creativity and secures wider ownership and high engagement – essential for the all-important implementation phase.
The questions then are: “How can we approach strategy in an efficient way and be inclusive BY making it a social endeavour?” “How do we make sure the process is fast and agile?” “Who do we include?” “Who do we leave out?” “How do we make sure, if it is our enterprise or if we lead it, that our own ambition for the organisation is captured and a guiding light to what we ultimately agree?” Persuasion and influence play a key role. So too does the process you chose to follow.
Consider the following metaphor. Developing strategy in a team context is like a dance. Many can take part. Yet the one who does the inviting (the owner or leader of the entity) sets the scene (choses the venue for the dance) and the process (the music to which all dance).
So let me introduce you to a process that enables you to develop a comprehensive and inclusive and creative strategic plan – in a fast and agile manner that allows the clear voices of all to come through. This process, worked through with full involvement of a leadership team, can be completed in as few as two and rarely requires more than five ideally non-consecutive days.
Over a series of six short articles I’ll unpack our Rathbone Results proprietary process, the Strategic Scroll. This process has enabled business-unit management teams in global industry-leading organisations, senior leadership teams in owner-managed businesses, senior teams in 3rd sector organisations and project managers develop widely-owned Strategy. (See our case study on AFCC as an example: http://rathboneresults.com/securing-the-future-by-creating-foresight-a-case-study/)
Like a scroll, the process unfurls from right to left.
- It starts with the end-point: your vision/mission, your purpose.
- It continues to specify the objectives that fulfil your vision/mission.
- It proceeds to identify the individuals and teams accountable for delivering those objectives.
- It guides you to scope what those individuals need to do differently, their sub-strategies, to deliver the objectives. [I say ‘sub-strategies’ to differentiate from overall Strategy which is the business plan.]
- It prods you to identify the supporters [individuals or networks, or departments or divisions or organisations] necessary for successful implementation of sub-strategies.
- It finishes with the resources – reconfirmed, new or re-purposed – needed for implementation of scoped strategies.
Follow me over the next six weeks as I briefly unpack each of the above six steps to a widely-owned and highly-engaging strategy development process that delivers your comprehensive strategic plan.
Cora Lynn Heimer Rathbone is a trusted business adviser, a strategy and leadership development expert, a certified executive coach and a Partner at Rathbone Results; Rathbone Results: 020 8798 0175; firstname.lastname@example.org.