Seven Booster to Activate your Strategy

von Robert Wreschniok

HOW AGILE THINKING TRANSFORMS STRATEGY EXECUTION

The way corporate strategies are developed and managed is fundamentally changing:
Over the course of many years, the analysis, planning and ultimate management of annual objectives has dominated strategy handbooks and business school lectures. This thinking is now being augmented by the ability to constantly adapt.
While developing corporate strategies and working with senior leaders over the past decade, we have made a number of striking observations. The most outstanding – amongst others – is that corporate strategies are typically awesome examples of analytical work: logical, fact-driven, and often backed up by expensive studies to validate their particular line of argumentation. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with this approach. Nevertheless, in most cases we have seen that these mainly PowerPoint-based strategies – coupled as they are with complex business cases – do not coincide with reality. Strategies regularly lack inspiration and are solely based on the dry world of facts and figures; they are written in specialized wellselected strategic language, and by definition deal with questions about a company’s future. This means they are very difficult to translate into the realms of middle management or the context of the wider workforce’s day-to-day routines, simply because all of these stakeholders find it hard to comprehend the strategic calculations, coherently interpret the strategic buzzwords, and successfully establish a link between these abstract reflections on their company’s future and the all-too present daily challenges and concrete tasks that need to be completed to keep the company running. The conclusion that should be drawn from this perceived gap is by no means that strategies per se should be abandoned, since the development of long-term objectives remains key to providing a company with the right strategic direction. Instead, it is more a question of activating the strategy in the right way so as to avoid a long and often
arduous transfer process which sometimes risks losing great leaders along the way, long before the anticipated results start to pay dividends. Moreover, some recent studies seem to demonstrate this:

• Nine out of ten strategic projects do NOT meet their expectations.
• On average, 60% of all managers are incapable of convincingly explaining their own corporate strategy.
• There is a massive gap between strategic planning and the real-life implementation process.


Shortcomings in strategy activation lead to frequent – and alarming – underperformance, as the experience of multinational companies proves (see McKinsey 2018).

How social dynamics lead to activation barriers of corporate strategies

So what’s new?

We base the seven strategy boosters on agile ways of thinking. For over a decade, agile methodologies have proved to be effective in the sphere of IT and software development. It is only in recent years that other functions have started to become aware of the benefits of agile methodologies. In particular, larger companies have begun to implement agile teams and/or establish agile processes, thereby enabling them to rapidly adapt, reduce costs in a smart way, receive more regular and meaningful input from customers (and much earlier in the process too), as well as enter new market segments within a shorter space of time. These benefits of agility can be achieved if one manages transformation processes in agile sprints, and the seven boosters below show that strategy implementation can likewise benefit from agile thinking. We show that agility as a concept helps boards and senior management to translate a well-defined strategy into focused action which involves every employee, ultimately building stronger cultures that are backed by this strategy as well as providing an organization’s leaders and employees with identity – across functions, hierarchies, and even global regions.

Booster 1 TAKE A TWOFOLD HOLISTIC VIEW

Booster 2 ELIMINATE NEGATIVITY

Booster 3 ESTABLISH AN AGILE COALITION OF GROWTH

Booster 4 DELIVER IN MVP MODE

Booster 5 STOP FEEDING SPINACH!

Booster 6 FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY ON “MOMENTS THAT MATTER”

Booster 7 COMBINE DIGITAL AND LIVE TO REACH THE TIPPING POINT

For details to the 7 booster please read the complete whitepaper.

 

Robert Wreschniok

Robert Wreschniok ist Experte für Strategieaktivierung. Er organisiert und vermittelt Unternehmensstrategien so, dass sie zum Mitdenken und Mitmachen motivieren. Insbesondere hat er sich in den letzten Jahren auf Fragen der Visualisierung von Strategie und des Strategy Designs spezialisert.

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