Having been in business for a while, I thought it might be helpful to share a couple of tools that I use, both when leading a business and when advising clients.
The first is a work sheet – I call it a Transition Framework. The aim is to tease-out some of the questions confronting a business team, to start to create a collaborative framework to develop future strategies. I think the questions are fairly self explanatory, and apply to all fields of enterprise, even academically.
The second is an OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, Measures). I have used this since P&G days – in fact I used to be part of the in-house faculty on the subject.
The idea is to get real clarity in the difference between objectives and strategic choices, words and numbers. It is deceptively hard work.
For example, I once was reviewing a team’s output which including a strategy ‘To evaluate the biggest business opportunities in Asia Pacific’. Unfortunately I had to send it back to the drawing board. That was not a strategic choice – it was actually a cop-out that the team couldn’t decide what to do. A better answer would have been ‘to focus all business building funding and resources on China to create a sustainable and profitable business’. This is indeed what happened.
The point is that a strategy is a choice, and that includes deciding what you will not do.
Additionally, I have found a discussion of values a productive one. Often dismissed as a ‘soft subject’ (especially by the financially oriented) it is actually fundamental to have a collective understanding in the team as to how they will do business.
The beauty of an OGSM is that it allows the team to cascade the plan through the entire organisation. So, for example, the strategy to ‘focus on China’ becomes the objective for the China team – and they in turn must define specific strategic choices, action plans, responsibilities and so forth.