Making Vision and Strategy Practical
Nevertheless, the operational ranks seldom identify with either of it.
In this post, I postulate a simple method to imbibe the Vision and the Strategy into daily life of an organization. Why is it important? It is important to the organizational culture to align to the overall vision through an awareness of strategy so every activity that the workforce and their systems perform drive towards a common goal - in the right way.
Vision always describes an Outcome.
Here are a few popular examples:
- Nike: “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
- McDonald: "...to be our customers' favorite place and way to eat and drink."
- Microsoft: "...to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more."
Strategy defines the Means to achieve the Vision.
Polarities apart yet good together: Differentiating the two is only a start.
The question is: how to make it practical enough to embed these into the daily life of an Enterprise? It happens in two phases.
Phase 1: Align Strategy to Vision
A well articulated strategy meets the outcome articulated in the vision. It usually does so in a time-sensitive, quantifiable, ... and all the other qualities highlighted above. The key is, it makes the vision relevant to the current realities of the firm.
- Founder managed firms find it relatively easier to define a strategy that meets the vision. The reason is obvious. Good examples of the successful startups that are owner managed.
- Professionally managed firms tend to take a consultative approach or in some cases redefine the purpose (vision) rather than reiterate. Good examples are established firms that have seen leadership changes.
Strategy can be further applied to the context to which it's applied such as a Business Strategy, a Technology Strategy, a Go-To-Market Strategy, or a Sourcing Strategy. No matter what the context is, the Vision remains the same.
Phase 2: Decompose Strategy
At this point, leaders of the various units or departments either define or adopt the respective strategy. Just as the way Strategy aligned to the Vision, the Strategy is decomposed into Goals and Resources, both wrapped up in a Plan of Action. It's akin to alchemy where you take materials and transform them into something totally different.
In order for the Strategy to manifest, managers are assigned roles and responsibilities and given measures of outcome within a time period.
Enterprise Architecture is a discipline that has successfully enabled enterprises in breaking down strategy into manageable chunks at various levels such as Business, Data, Applications and Technology from concept to architecting to transformation and ongoing operations.