Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #75: How to Align Digital Vision with Strategy

Vision is not a mirage, but the future zoomed in, and strategy planning is not "shelf-ware" but the shareware.

In many organizations, vision is just a statement written on the wall and strategy is the set of documents put on the shelf. Usually, VISION is left as a corporate requirement, and strategy is not broadly understood. Metaphorically, vision is your destination, and strategy is like a GPS, to navigate you through. So first things first, how to align digital vision with strategy and keep the end in mind, to build your business as a Digital Master?

A digital value orientation must reside at the intersection of Strategy and Execution: The digital value is multi-dimensional such as customer value, economical value, functional value, societal value etc. More often, the business value-driven mindset is not embedded in the organization. The key resources, planning, and processes are not aligned to the value drivers. The vision is not shared, how many employees across the company are enrolled in achieving the vision is a big question in many companies. The strategy is not broadly understood... So it's important to outline the strategic intent and frame the strategy to be understandable and implementable. Otherwise, people's different interpretations yield many unintended consequences. Then, it is vital to actively socialize the strategy to confirm its intent and understandability by those who will guide the implementation. Hence, having a shared vision is the critical success factor, and formulating the strategy to make your vision a reality is the key.

The pivot point of Vision, Strategy & Execution Alignment: What a "correct" strategy? From a PMO point of view, it could have to do with best practices and accepted methodologies used. From the stakeholder's viewpoint, the strategy was correct if it brought benefits and success. Plan, but more Planning. Strategy simplistically is about choices, and the timing to implement the choices. It's imperative that organizations bridge from shaping the vision, and developing the strategy to implementing it, it’s the critical “pivot point” in Strategy Execution. This involves aligning the Metrics (and Targets), Initiatives, Resources and Operating Plans with the strategy’s goals and objectives. An action-oriented bias also provides the implementation path for the strategy.
a) Vision without execution is vaporware.
b) Success is a story being developed to explain a mostly random result. People love stories and causal explanations.
c) It's thousands of times easier to sell future success cases than to help to build conditions in order to be ready to seize opportunities as they show up.

Mix hard and soft factors in aligning vision and strategy execution: The common challenge of strategy execution includes trust lacking in the leadership team. Often, this is because leadership hasn't taken the time to involve the organization in the strategy execution process, and it's usually related to the lack of the organization inclusion in the strategy effort. Also, the effective organizational mobilization addresses strategy and culture, together as one. It combines the structure and direction of top-down strategy with the pragmatism and wisdom of bottom-up insight. This feedback loop reduces the resistance, and proactive participation allows the vision to be shared and strategy to be rapidly and efficiently implemented. To incorporate the strategy, you have to build a sense of belonging and proudness in all employees. One way to do this is to assure all employees are aware of their individual contribution to the whole organization. To prepare for a governance model, connect the strategy to the future and outline all variables that must be accomplished to reach the strategy.

Balanced Scorecard, especially Strategy Mapping. A picture provides more value than thousands of words. It's a great construct to outline the strategy pathways and provides the pivot point for the executive group to the cross-organization to promote the level of vision and strategy understanding required to frame the implementation effort. Change implementation is KEY: You can just do it and hope for the best, and deal with the scars, or executive leadership can lead to the change. The strategy is a key component of that leadership. 'Why to make the change' and 'where do we go from here', is what everyone needs to know ... Communicate (vision, values, change), gain feedback and buy-in, manage results (reporting, accountability, adjustment). Related to leadership knowing if they are successful, that's via the guiding measures, strategic initiatives, and their proactive monitoring and guidance governing the strategy implementation.

Vision is not a mirage, and strategy planning is not "shelf-ware" but the shareware. “Make Vision Reachable” and "Make Strategy Happen" has to be accessible, understandable and made relevant to all levels of the organization. Incorporate strategy in a cross functional environment. Ensure it's closely aligned with the strategy for the business, that the governance model has leadership buy-in and that customers are at the center of value creation (efficiency, effectiveness, and agility) by all functions.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:
Digital Master Kindle Version Book Order URL
Digital Master Book URL
Digital Master Author URL
Digital Master Video Clip on YouTube
Digital Master Fun Quiz


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