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The KPI.org Blog

Tim Johnson Tim Johnson

Tim is a contributing author and Director at Jabian Consulting with over 32 years of experience in management and professional services management consulting. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, portfolio management, performance measurement/management, project management and business process improvement.

Why Strategic Planning Fails - Part 6

By: Tim Johnson

Jul 9, 2018 2610 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Executing the strategic initiatives effectively

Project ManagementThis is the sixth installment in a blog series that discusses potential pitfalls that could hold you back from being fully successful in your strategic planning efforts.  The first was ensuring that you have full leadership support before you begin the strategic planning initiative, the second was generating needed buy-in across the organization, the third was making sure you build that strategy in a way that it can be executed effectively, the fourth was prioritizing to narrow your focus and the fifth was integrating the strategy into how you do business.  As I started the first blog of the series, most things that I have been successful at in my life have been because I did it the right way and using the right tools.  At the Balanced Scorecard Institute, we have the “Nine-Step Process” to building a strategic management system.  We believe in this approach and we have helped hundreds of clients develop comprehensive strategic plans with a management system that enables them to effectively execute strategy.  I myself have worked with over 80 organizations and have seen very successful strategic planning efforts and also those that were less so!  I wanted to share some observations as to where those that were not as successful went wrong along the way. 

The sixth pitfall is in not executing the strategic initiatives effectively.  When you boil strategy down, it really ends up being a tool to help you understand what things you need to start doing today to build the organization of the future so it can be successful, given how you assume the world will be different.  That said, it is only the accomplishment of these “things” or key initiatives that really makes an organization successful.  As such, the successful execution of these initiatives becomes fundamentally important for achieving the vision of the organization.  By having a sound project management office (PMO) system with skilled project managers driving the initiatives to execution, you will be setting the course for successful strategy execution.  Given that leadership attention to objective measures and their link to key initiatives provides focus and attention needed to implement the plan, the management system must ensure an effective process for measuring and monitoring results and tracking the progress of initiative execution is in place.  With an effective system for managing and driving initiatives, the leadership team will have the information it needs to effectively direct the organization’s strategy.

If this pitfall sounds familiar, contact us. We specialize in helping organizations prioritize projects & initiatives. Or check out our Strategic Initiative Management Course. This program focuses on the project management skills needed to effectively manage strategic initiatives end-to-end.

There is one more blog that will complete this series of potential pitfalls that could hold organizations back from realizing the many benefits to developing a strategy and a supporting strategic management system.

Missed Part 5 of the blog series? You can read it here.  You can read Part 7 here.

Tim Johnson Tim Johnson

Tim is a contributing author and Director at Jabian Consulting with over 32 years of experience in management and professional services management consulting. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, portfolio management, performance measurement/management, project management and business process improvement.

Why Strategic Planning Fails - Part 4

By: Tim Johnson

Jun 20, 2018 2978 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

Prioritizing - Biting off what you can chew!

This is the fourth installment in a blog series that discusses potential pitfalls that could hold you back from being fully successful in your strategic planning efforts.  The first was ensuring that you have full leadership support before you begin the strategic planning initiative, the second was generating needed buy-in across the organization and the third was making sure you build that strategy in a way that it can be executed effectively.  As I started the first blog of the series, most things that I have been successful at in my life have been because I did it the right way and using the right tools.  At the Balanced Scorecard Institute, we have the “Nine-Step Process” to building a strategic management system.  We believe in this approach and we have helped hundreds of clients develop comprehensive strategic plans with a management system that enables them to effectively execute strategy.  I myself have worked with over 80 organizations and have seen very successful strategic planning efforts and also those that were less so!  I wanted to share some observations as to where those that were not as successful went wrong along the way. 

The fourth pitfall is not prioritizing—biting off more than you can chew!  The Japanese have something called "Hoshin Planning."  The idea is that they go through a very rigorous strategic planning effort to find a handful things that they need to accomplish to be successful.  And then everyone gets on board and they execute those critical few strategies across the organization.  It provides focus. Not that I am advocating that you find just a couple strategic priorities to focus on strategically, but the point is that there is a limit to the amount of resources available to focus on strategic transformation.  People have day jobs that are mostly about driving the organization operationally.  They each do not have 16 hours of work day to get everything done that you would like!  So instead of identifying 50 initiatives to accomplish, identify first what resources you have year-over-year and then build a roadmap on when initiatives will be executed that is going to guide your efforts.  Like climbing a mountain, we first have to understand what we need to do to get to “base camp 1” and then from there to the next succession of base camps until we are at the top of the mountain!  By spreading the organization to thin you run the risk of doing a lot of things, but not getting anything done!

If this pitfall sounds familiar, then you might be interested in our Balanced Scorecard Professional Certification workshop which gives practitioners the tools and skills they need to help prioritize in tough economic times. 

Over the next few blogs we will explore three additional potential pitfalls I have seen that hold organizations back from realizing the many benefits to developing a strategy and a supporting strategic management system.

You can read Part 5 here.  Missed Part 3 of the blog series? You can read it here
Gail Stout Perry Gail Stout Perry

Gail is co-author of The Institute Way. With a career spanning over 30 years of strategic planning and performance management consulting with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, she enjoys speaking, training, and writing, sharing her experience with others. She currently is the Chief Strategy Officer and VP Americas for Corporater.

Blue Apples & Other Special Projects

By: Gail Stout Perry

Nov 14, 2013 9400 Views 0 Comments FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

How do you deal with an initiative (project) that is a forceful executive’s favorite idea, or, even worse, is something that your organization has spent years to develop BUT is not aligned to your strategy?  Yikes!

I was teaching a class in Atlanta last week and one of the student teams approached me with a question.  They were looking for actions which they could implement to move the needle on a “product variety” objective on a grocer case study.  One of the ideas was an R&D product to produce “blue apples” which led to a discussion of “Special Projects” at their own organizations.

This reminded me of a REAL client who had invested heavily in a special R&D project.

The client, a Fortune 500, had spent several years investing in this super-secret project which they would not reveal even to us, their trusted consultants.  They simply referred to it as “Project X.”

We had been working with this client to develop their Tier 1 scorecard and were onsite for the final executive team session to prioritize strategic initiatives.  Of course, “Project X” was on the list.  We used a 2x2 matrix as our prioritization schema (in which initiatives are placed into one of four quadrants depending on how strategic and how resource consuming they are).  When we finished the calculations, “Project X” was dangling by its fingernails off of the chart - from the furthest corner of the least desirable quadrant.

It was clear that  “Project X” was an expensive and resource-intensive effort yet it was going to provide little to no strategic impact.

As I nervously shared the bad news about “Project X”, the VP in charge of this initiative nodded her head and said, “I saw this coming as we were developing this strategic balanced scorecard.  We have actually already started on a sunset plan.”  I had feared uproar and this quiet affirmation blew me away.

This speaks to the power of inclusion in developing a strategic balanced scorecard.  This team, which had invested millions in “Project X”, had already realized via their participation in strategy formulation that the investment needed to be redirected.  There were no tears, cursing, or arguing.

Which brings me back to Atlanta.  I tried an experiment and tried to bully my student teams into choosing the “blue apple” initiative the next day.  I was shot down...unanimously...by all the teams.  In this case, the logic of a disciplined framework (to align and prioritize initiatives) trumped my argument by vigorous assertion.  Hands down.  The Institute Way works....for many reasons.  To learn more, visit www.balancedscorecard.org/tiw



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