For every organisation this has to be one of the fundamental questions they ask themselves. So try it for yourself. Thinking about the organisation(s) you work for, are they doing everything they can to achieve their strategic objectives? If you answered yes, ask yourself how you know this?
The reality is that the vast majority of organisations are not doing everything they can, but demonstrating that can be hard. So how do you do it then? Whilst there are many ways of working through this, I’d like to take this blog to explore one of them that I’ve found to be simple yet powerful. It’s called StrategyWorks and here is why I like it...
Question 1: Have you got change initiatives in place to achieve each objective?
A simple reality check here, if you don’t have change initiatives in place then you’re relying on the SOF (Strategic Objective Fairy) to wave their magic wand to get you there. That’s not a great long term plan. StrategyWorks starts at the strategic objective layer and let’s you see and drill down through portfolio, programme and project levels to see what you have in place to achieve each. Never again will you need to rely on Fairy Magic.
Question 2: Are you undertaking any change initiatives which are NOT aligned to strategic objectives?
There are genuine reasons for undertaking such changes, for example because it’s a super-secret piece of work you don’t want anyone knowing about (yet). However if there’s no legitimate reason then the initiative is either a legacy hangover from old objectives or, worse, a vanity pet project. For the former it’s fine to have a strategic objective of ‘future proofing’, but for the latter they need to be identified, analysed and (likely) closed down to protect against cost leakage. CFOs love this one and the next one.
Question 3: Are you duplicating any change initiatives?
No-one likes spending more than they need to, but larger organisations (and some smaller ones) can find that they have two or more teams running the same sort of project to deliver the same output for the same objective yet totally unaware of each other. At best that’s just doubled or trebled the cost of the project and at worst the projects will make the situation worse when they both deliver. Far better to be able to identify these early, rationalise them and reduce unnecessary costs.
<now take a breath>
At this point you can have confidence that your organisation is taking action in support of achieving strategic objectives, it’s not spending precious funds on things that aren’t achieving objectives and it’s not double spending. Great, yes? Not quite. These are the fundamental / entry level questions. Using StrategyWorks we can dive deeper into the question posed at the start of the blog.
Question 4: Do you have accountability at the right levels?
This is where we move away from the basics of yes/no and into the world of insights. Success or failure, and indeed the overall performance, of change initiatives is dependent upon the strength of engagement from the person or people who are accountable for the change. It is they who set the tone, they who provide steer and, ultimately, they who need to ensure the team delivering the change are doing the right thing.
Do you have one person accountable for dozens of change initiatives? How are they able to divide their time across all of these? Are they giving each their best attention? Or are they paying lip service to some?
Or do you have a junior manager listed as accountable for projects? Do they have the right level of experience to know what good looks like? Can they shape and influence the deliver? Do they understand how and where the project fits into the overall organisation strategy?
Getting the accountability set at the right level, and ensuring those accountable are not overwhelmed, is vital for setting the tone from the top. Getting it wrong often spells disaster down the line.
Question 5: How are the Change Initiatives doing?
Progress reports are a vital tool in monitoring change initiatives, but can be time consuming to assemble and especially when trying to pull together updates from multiple sources and collate them into a single, homogeneous format. Even more difficult when different projects have different reporting cycles.
StrategyWorks have developed a series of very clever automation tools which sit across the corporate ecosystem and feed from the sources of project monitoring. So, as the project monitoring is updated, such as Microsoft Project, JIRA and Azure Boards, updates made there update the overall reporting. No more days spent chasing for updates, crafting different formats into a single view for board reports. Board reports are now real-time, 24/7 and homogenised so much more easily understood.
Are you doing everything you can to achieve strategic objectives?
Reflecting on the above, ask yourself again. Are you and your organisation really doing everything that you can?
There is even more power which StrategyWorks offer when combined with the GC Index, but that’s a blog for another day.
If you’d like to discuss any of the points above in more detail, please use the link below to book in an informal chat. Availability is strictly limited so if you can’t find a slot that works then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org