The pursuit of operational effectiveness is seductive because it is concrete and actionable. Caught up in the race for operational effectiveness, many managers simply do not understand the need to have a strategy. – Dr. Michael E. Porter – Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
When we hear about a method for improving business or technical processes, it is usually delivered in the form of an operational excellence message. We can improve your process of developing software by applying this method. Or we can can reduce the amount of staff turn over through this method.
These of course are all good initiatives, but in most cases they are not connected to any lasting sustainable outcome. They provide short term fixes. What is missing is the reason why. The why is founded in the strategy of the organization that is hosting the initiative.
The stratgey itself is based on three pillars
- Why we exist - what's our purpose for being here?
- What we do to deliver value to our stakeholders - how will they recognize that we have delivered the value they are expecting?
- What we strive to be for our stakeholders - how will they recognize that we have fulfilled their needs?
- What our stakeholders want us to be - can they articulate these needs in some form that we can share the description in units of measure meanigful to both parties?
- The implementation framework for turning strategy into execution - the processes, people, and tools needed to actually implement the strategy. That is Execute the Strategy.
This last pillar is almost always missimg. GQ(I)M is a method of identifying the Goal, Questions, the (Indicators), and Measures for the work activities that support the strategy. The measures in the M are the technical performance measures for each of the Key Performance Indicators that demonstrate that the Critical Success Factors for the Goals are being met.
When we hear how one method or another is the next new thing, ask if those proffering that method have themselves answered the GQ(I)M attributes for a process that can be applied in your domain, the context in that domain, and have tangible evidence that their method will produce results that map to the strategy you have for your domain - You do have a Strategy don't you?
And for anyone thinking that strategy and strategy making is not agile think again.
Leaders in an execution culture design strategies that are more road maps than rigid paths enshrined in fat planning books. That way they can respond quickly. - Larry Bossidy