Monday, February 18, 2013

5W+1H Strategy Navigation

 The vision without strategy is empty; the strategy without vision is blind. 

There are three essential elements of good strategy: 1) A diagnosis of the situation, 2) The choice of an overall guiding policy; 3) The design of coherent action. Without properly identifying the real problem, a company cannot determine an effective strategic direction.  However, most companies don't get to the root cause and attempt to "solve" the symptoms, or don’t have clear destiny, but “run” ahead blindly,

One of big mistakes in strategy could be the wrong sequence of strategic planning, without digging through 'Why', just walk through 'What'; or without clear direction of 'What," just jump into 'How,’  the following 5W+1H strategy navigation will help.

1.    WHY are you Doing What you are Doing

Diagnosis of a challenge is always the first step of good strategy. Without a root causes identified, what are you fixing? And yet, it sounds like the analogy we always hear about whacking at the fruit instead of the root! WHY is reason behind strategy:

  • "Five Whys Theory": By the time you've reached the 5th "why", you've determined the root cause. The Five Whys is not gospel, but five iterations of asking why is generally sufficient to get to a root cause. The key is to encourage the trouble-shooter to avoid assumptions and logic traps. That the last answer points to a process. This is one of the most important aspects in the 5 Why approach - the real root cause should point toward a process that is not working well or does not exist. 
  • Example: The Customer satisfaction is low (the problem)
Why? – The purchasing experience is not delightful (first why)
Why – It takes too long for them to shop online (second why)
Why –Lack of integrated digital platform & analytics capabilities to enforce digital touch point (3rd why)
Why – there are siloed data, broken processes (fourth Why)
Why- legacy infrastructure, application haven’t been modernized (root cause) 

2. What business should you be in and what problems you need solve

  • WHAT is known & WHATs are things you want to do to implement strategy. The environment which the company is in changes over time, new competitors in the market or changed customer demand - as such the root causes can change. A strategy is based on what is known or can be predicted at a point in time. Part of the strategy could well contain research into finding root causes.
  • WHAT are potential opportunities: Another important input to develop a strategic direction also comes from converting an opportunity to business, which is very different that problem solving or root cause analysis. 

3. WHO are the Target Customers, Partners, Competitors

  • External WHOs: The fundamental of business is to create a customer. Well defining perspective customers helps strategy find a purpose. Besides customers, who are partner, competitors, how to orchestrate customer & partner ecosystem to co-create ideas for innovation
  • Internal WHOs: Is there the right talent (Who) at the right position to serve the targeted customers. Those who do can create better strategy via taking feedback and effective communication and show the right direction to the team which gets enlightened

4.  Where is Value Position, Where are Roadblocks 

  • Hunt for value position: What are the specific programs, what are the commitments, what are the resources, what are the processes in play that need to go implement the vision, to turn it into a working model, where is value position, and which capabilities are essential to adding value to achieve businesses strategy?
  • WHERE are Roadblocks: If the strategic planning is not identifying the potential roadblocks to achieving goals, and figuring out what is required to overcome them, then you are not doing strategic planning. But you need to identify the goals to understand what the problems are

    5. WHEN to Review Strategy & Implementation

  • When to Revisit strategy: Not only does the development of a good strategy depend upon identifying the core problem, problem(s) usually change over time. Most great strategies are designed to address an issue in the foreseeable future. Reexamination needs to take place fairly regularly.

  • When is also about the timeline, schedule in every phase of strategy implementation, key milestone in achieve strategic goal.

  6. HOW to Identify Core Problems & Make Analysis 

  • HOW is an analysis, to establish a selected implementation path. This goes into each and every business functional area that has a factor in delivering the strategy. It may be more obvious on running activities until the root cause has been identified and fixed, the problem will occur again and again. Even if this is clear, it needs quite a lot of management attention to make sure a proper analysis has been performed. Often, priority is given to restart without fully understand the root cause leading to recurring problems.      
  • HOW is fact-based: Until an organization understands the core problem it is facing, an appropriate strategic direction can't be arrived upon. That planning has to be fact based, not just picking goals out the air. As in front of a design issue, people tend to look only at symptoms or scratch only the surface without diving into the problem. 
A real strategy is neither a document nor a forecast but rather an overall approach based on a diagnosis of a challenge. 5W +1H will well navigate the strategy journey. 


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