The fourth and final vector of THE LEADERSHIP COMPASS is ‘Strategy.’ The previous blogs described the other three dimensions of this Total Business Success™ model. While many organizations seek to focus on this area first, it is crucial to recognize that the other three vectors are essentially the prerequisites for successful strategy execution. A recent survey of CEOs verified this when 90% of them indicated that their #1 priority concern is the ability to execute their organization’s strategy successfully.
That said, this fourth dimension is vital for sustained business success. In this blog, we will cover some of the critical dimensions and related insights that produce high performance in the area of strategy. The practical model we used with clients in the past at Life Associates and The Center For Managing By Values is what we call the “3-D” strategic development system.
The first “3-D” phase is Discovery.
It begins with linking the organization’s clearly defined, driving front-end Culture engine of its vision, mission, and values as the boundaries for its strategic focus. Other key components in this phase include determining the organization’s Strategic Development Readiness since our experience indicates that most organizations are not fully ready to do so effectively by themselves. Another essential activity at this phase is conducting sound Environmental Scanning of external opportunities and threats and key internal strengths and weaknesses.
The second “3-D” phase is Deciding.
The strategies that organizations consider and select should consist of both Offensive Strategies for growing it and Defensive Strategies intended to protect its stability and survival. Much has been written recently about the irrelevancy of widely used strategic analysis approaches due to today’s business world’s changing, unpredictable, and dynamic realities. As a result, these risks are being minimized by most enlightened organizations through Scenario Planning that considers a range of likely business conditions, related strategies, and action plans for each.
When selecting strategies, many organizations lack sound, disciplined Strategy Tests for rationally assessing the fit with their desired results and their capacity to achieve these. Different strategies typically are required and likely to vary in their degree of success based upon an organization’s size and performance level (lower, higher) — what we refer to as their Business Plateau. This phase of strategic development ends with identifying a doable, high-impact set of strategic priorities in ways that allow for flexibility if conditions change or it is later discovered that key conclusions are not accurate.
Once again, too many organizations have too many priorities that cannot successfully be executed. I have always found it worth noting that even mega-corporations I have worked with that are resource-rich typically limit themselves to three key strategic priorities at any point in time. Once one has been accomplished at the expected level, another new third priority may be added as the other two move up.
The final “3-D” phase is Doing.
Here, the focus is on Key Implementation Actions that must provide awareness, commitment, proactivity, coordination, urgency, and adaptability. This includes Common Execution Problems, such as lack of buy-in by those required to deliver these results successfully, failure to use sound business implementation tools, and assigning key initiatives and tasks to people who lack either the commitment or capability to execute successfully.
Sound Action Planning, ongoing monitoring and adjustments by management, and Contingency Actions Management (for both better, worse, or different than expected scenarios) are crucial elements that distinguish higher versus lower performing organizations in this final phase, realizing the 3-D approach is a cyclical one repeated at those intervals required depending on the nature of the organization, its industry, and marketplace (which may range from one year in dynamic, evolving industries to three years in more mature, sunset industries).
Contact us today if you want a complimentary copy of our Strategic Readiness Assessment to determine your organization’s likelihood of sustained success in this vector. I will gladly send you this tool as another valuable member benefit in the TrainingIndustry.com Leadership Community.
Dr. Michael O’Connor is a recognized practical visionary and problem-solving author, consultant, coach, and mentor focused on winning performance. He is the creator of the Optimal Business Performance Model and author and co-author of many resources, including the best-selling ‘Winning Culture’ book, MANAGING BY VALUES as well as THE LEADER WITHIN, GPS FOR SUCCESS, and PEOPLE SMART. He is the founder of Life Associates, The Center For Managing By Values, O’Connor Associates, and their current successor company, Potentia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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