Executing Your Strategy

Executing Your Strategy” published by Harvard Business School Press and written by two FAST alumni, provides instruction on how to transform strategy into projects. Writers Morgan and Malek (both previously professors at Stanford University), spoke with us about the importance of professional facilitation to both “plan your work” (strategy) and “work your plan” (project).

They argue for six INVEST imperatives (or, domains) that you may find compelling:
• Ideation—communicating purpose, identity, and intention
• Nature—aligning strategy with culture and structure
Vision—clarifying goals and metrics
• Engagement—portfolio management
• Synthesis—program and project execution
• Transition—benefiting mainstream operations

They recommend building a Center for Strategic Excellence that anchors itself upon effective, neutral facilitators. Hopefully you are doing your best around your organization to nurture supportive facilitative leadership around you.

For additional support, see your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST Professional Facilitative Leadership training  session offered around the world (see http://www.mgrush.com/ for a current schedule).

‘The Strategy’ Compared to ‘a Strategic Plan’

The term “strategy” is much like the therm “quality” and should used very carefully. The term “strategy” can be used unambiguously only if it is used with clear perspective. Be careful to distinguish between the working definitions of “the strategy” compared with “a strategy” and contrasted with “a strategic plan.”  To a sharp-listening facilitator, the earlier examples offer different terms that show discrete meanings.  Many people sloppily use the terms as replacements for each other, or synonyms. The organizational or divisional “strategy” is actually an initiative(s); typically called either a program or a portfolio—which could be further defined as a group of supporting projects. The program “strategy” is reflected by the the quantity and type of projects the portfolio contains. The project “strategy” captures the tactics that need to be completed to make the project successful.  The team “strategy” reflects the tasks or operations required to complete the project implementation and on-going operation and improvement. The meaning of the term strategy is largely dependent on the perspective it supports. To speak of strategy without emphasizing its perspective tells only part of the story.  Consider the organizational holarchy for more insight about the operational differences about “strategy”.

Let us know what you think by commenting below. For additional methodology and team-based meeting support for your change initiative, refer to “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.


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