Saturday, May 21, 2016

Applying Strategy in the Real World

One of the biggest takeaways I had from the readings was the theme of actively encouraging people to think differently.  In all of the various pieces from this week, I saw examples of challenges I see in my own organization, and all of the proposed solutions involved taking a step back and looking through a new lens.
Because we are in the midst of strategic planning at my own company, I took particular interest in The Real Value of Strategic Planning - based on the research of Kaplan and Beinhocker, most companies - including mine - would do well to retool the process.  Within my own division, however, I saw indicators that my leader is actually adhering to the recommendations.  The authors note that "real strategy is made in real time" and in fact our senior team is often planning and adjusting, rather than waiting for a formal window of time. The group is just three people plus our leader, and we convene in our offices - not hers - to plan and solve challenges.
Similarly, our team thinks often about our core vision, and even though how that vision is delivered may change, the purpose of our existence in the organization is always tied back to that vision. In the Building Your Company's Vision article I thought the Disney example (make people happy) was interesting in that its very broad, but allows every department and employee to review a plan in the light of that strategy to make sure they sync. We always go back to the question "but what does this mean to our patients?" - whether you work in finance or housekeeping or technology, it's an excellent temperature check.
Lastly, the Balanced Scorecard model from Kaplan and Norton was an approach that, while detailed and prescriptive, clearly must be seen as part of the company's strategy rather than an initiative (a perception that the city of Charlotte faced in their adoption of BSC).  While I observe pieces of commitment to a BSC model in my own organization, there are still key pieces missing.  For example, it is only in recent years that we began exploring through formal research how our customers/stakeholders see us, and the current state is still lacking  formal action plan on how to change those views (in the areas where we see a disconnect) or make changes to our own strategy to adapt to what customers and stakeholders want to see or hear from us.

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