Saturday, August 24, 2013

CIO as Strategist: Is One Page Strategy Practical

 A strategic planning is like GPS –a simple interface with cascaded context.

For many organizations, the business strategy documents are “shelf-ware”, not shareware. Albert Einstein’s simplicity principle: Keep things as simple as possible but not simpler; should also be applied to strategy making, but is one-page strategy practical or too empty? The concept of a one page Strategic Planning is good, as it means that there is clarity in thinking, having reviewed and distilled all the various scenarios and desired outcomes. It is also great for communication and getting the organization engaged. One pager is also handy for your quarterly reviews. Markets are very dynamic these days particularly for global companies, that regular review is critical. This will ensure you are on track but also reflecting on external changes.

Pre-Planning is critical: The key to most planning or addressing issues an organization faces is the reconnaissance beforehand and getting the participants to understand what they are trying to achieve and the contribution they can make. If strategic thinking is strongly encouraged in all ranks, the strategic planning exercise becomes more or less a formality as details are filled in and ideas are documented for further reference.
    • Value propositions – products/services, brands, business models, distribution 
    • Business Canvas Model 
    • Marketing drives Strategy - Customers, competitors company; segment, target, position; Products & Services Price, Place, Promotions, ...
    • Life-cycle thinking and acting 
    • Multi-dimensional, functional, level, organizational complexity 
    • Systemic approaches to a project  
A one-page document (accessible to all stakeholders) optimizes strategy mapping which adds value and direction in a most convenient manner. Could over-simplification make Strategic Planning look empty? A Strategic Planning is like GPS –Simple interface with cascaded context: A one-page document (accessible to all stakeholders) optimizes strategy mapping which adds value and direction in a most convenient manner. Strategy is like map to guide through organization's transformation journey, the advanced version of map is GPS, which helps users to navigate both current location and destination with significant details when needed, and strategy also needs to be continually visited and updated, though shorter is better for communication, the comprehensive and cascaded context can better guide through execution. The purpose of strategic planning is to get insights so as to envisage the future, and to achieve buy-in for that vision, and to get everybody to contribute to translating the vision into coherent actions. Can so much content be condensed into one page; even so, can it be interpreted coherently; statistically, of the three reasons for misaligned action, the primary cause (60%) is Different Dictionary - meaning that people have different interpretations of the same line of text. Technology can be a mitigating factor to this dynamic. The 'actionable' one-page plan should incorporate:
*Accountability grid
* Scorecard ('balanced' perspectives to provide a framework for both objectives/metrics and drivers.)
* Project management
* Collaboration tools - documentation and notifications

In order for strategic plans to be executed against, they must be easily digested: Make the strategic planning meeting only 1) as long as needed to create the plan 2) make sure the "right" people attend 3) make the plan document short enough so people can read it at a glance. The brief diagram style strategic plan that can be distributed, displayed and communicated is what need to take action; it is simple so everyone can understand it; it is easy to communicate and share; It is easy to evolve over time; it is something can be used to guide through. Realizing your strategic goals requires organizational change. This means the essential elements of successful organizational change need to be included in both the process of developing the plan and in its implementation. One of the essential elements of successful organizational change is involvement. People throughout the organization need to feel actively connected to the organizational strategy and committed to making the behavioral changes necessary to make it a reality.

The length of a strategic plan may depend on whether a page or more, keep it as simple as possible, and it is the process of developing the plan that is important, as say going: it’s planning, not plan that matters.


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