A Strategy OS Delivers Business Success (Part 1)

Much like a computer operating system that runs programs to create outputs, the Strategy OS runs your Business Model. It delivers outputs in the form of products and services, profits, impact, and ultimately, the business Mission and Vision.

In this post, I define the elements that make up a good Business Model in preparation for an overview of the Strategy OS in Part 2.

The Business Model:

On the right side of the diagram is the hierarchical list of elements that define your Business Model. As we go down the list, we are getting more near-term and more detailed.

The Positioning terms are the elements that are ten plus years out and should endure time, technology and people in the organization. They define why the business exists.

The Strategy terms are three to five years out and create a picture of what outcomes are priorities.

Plans are made annually and quarterly to guide how to achieve the Strategy through daily, weekly, and quarterly actions.

The left funnel is the people piece of the Business Model. It shows that the high-level elements are jointly owned. As we go down the list and get more specific and nearer-term, more focused teams and responsible individuals take primary ownership.

The term “Right People, Right Seats” (Gino Wickman, Traction) reminds us that first priority is to have the “right team to steer the bus” (Jim Collins, Good to Great) even before we know where we want to drive it. Then, each person on the team must fill a needed role that they understand, want to perform, and are capable of contributing the required results.

The acronym ACT is expanded to: Accountable, Coaching, Transparency (Matt Mochary, The Great CEO Within.) It highlights the need to hold teams and individuals accountable and to help them be successful and grow professionally.

All of this projects on a shadow of the Context that impacts strategy through internal resources and capabilities relative to external trends like customer needs, competitive positioning and social and regulatory limitations. Your strategy must define how you will compete to win within this Context through your product market fit, go to market activities, and other Themes.

Issues are called out under Plans, but can impact success at any level of the strategy. As such, it is important for teams to rigorously manage and solve Issues at all levels. It starts with uncovering and tracking a prioritized list of Issues. This includes any important decisions or problems that can impact success. Teams must then have a shared approach for solving Issues that identifies their root cause and first principles. This exposes the best solution to solve them and make them go away in a verifiable way.

Document with a Business Model Cheat Sheet

The best Business Models can be communicated in a few words, documented in a couple pages, and managed with a few meetings. Your Business Model should fit on one or two pages. Create a Cheat Sheet (n: a written or graphic aid that can be referred to for help in understanding or remembering something complex) for your Business Model. You can find my editable Business Model Cheat Sheet here.


In Part 2, I’ll describe in more detail how a Strategy OS delivers this business model. You can get more info on key steps in implementing you Strategy OS by starting with 7 Habits for Success.

If you would like help in creating and executing a Strategy OS, find out more about workshops I run or schedule time with me on the About page to discuss your specific needs.

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