The days of grandiose “Five Year Strategies” are over but does that mean we don’t need “Strategy” any more? No – what we need now is a strategic framework that informs and embraces change and actually makes tactical execution much more effective.
Leadership is about change and a simple analogy is that leaders take their organisation on a journey from the present location to a different (and hopefully better) place. The Strategy is the place we want to be and although it (and the route we choose) can and will change at any time a well communicated strategy will help everyone know where they are heading at every point in time.
Creating and communicating an effective strategy allows leaders to trust and empower their teams and removes any need to micro-manage them. When making the micro-decisions we all make every day if we know the strategy (destination) picking the optimum path to get there most quickly becomes much more straightforward.
In his excellent book Winners And How They Succeed Alastair Campbell talks about OST which is an acronym for Objective Strategy and Tactics. If we add Mission to the front of the acronym to make it MOST I think we have a framework really helps maximise execution effectiveness.
The Mission is why we want/need to make the journey. At interim.team our Mission is to make the world a more successful place…person by person…company by company. (We really do think that the more people we help to be successful the more successful we will become…)
The Strategy is how we are going to achieve our Mission. At interim.team our Strategy is to increase the number of leads generated…
The Objective is what we want to achieve in the next 12 months. Our objective at interim.team is to double our income this financial year – aka “2X”. (We’re in Q3 of our financial year and we’re currently ahead of target…so far so good…)
The Tactics are the things we think we need to do now to deliver our Objective. At interim.team we set 5-10 quarterly tactics and review their effectiveness and START/STOP/DO MORE/DO LESS every 3 months. Setting more than 5-10 tactics becomes counter-productive as it effectively says we’re going to do everything we can think of. (Some of the tactics we are trying at interim.team this quarter include radio advertising, launching a sister brand called interim.associates at a different experience/price point and iterating our internal incentive framework).
We really do find that if you put your strategy in a MOST framework, and communicate it well, it very much becomes part of the solution not problem and helps ensure your execution is as agile, efficient and effective as possible.