Strategy OS – An Overview

Most business leaders assume that by working harder in the business, they will reach their vision.

Instead what they need is a StrategyOS that delivers success in a dependable way. What is a Strategy OS and how can you use it in your business?

Much like a computer operating system that runs programs to create outputs, a Strategy OS runs your Business Model. Its outputs are products and services, growth, profits, impact, and ultimately, your Mission and Vision.

So, start by defining your Business Model:

Your business model is made up of elements that define success and the people needed to deliver it.

It operates within a Context that can impact success and is influenced by customer and other trends in your work environment relative to internal resources and capabilities.

As we go down the list of elements, we are getting more near-term and more detailed.

  • Positioning terms are the elements that are ten plus years out set by Vision. They define why the business exists. They give purpose and inspire.
  • Strategy terms are two to five years out set by Themes that describe a picture of how to build the vision. They connect the action of near-term plans to the long-term vision.
  • Plans are made annually and at least quarterly to guide what to do next to best move your strategy forward. Rocks are set at least quarterly as the most important next thing to focus on delivering. They can be stand-alone deliverables, or milestones of longer-running Initiatives or Themes.

The business model also addresses people practices. It shows that the high-level elements are jointly owned. More specific and nearer-term items are owned by more focused teams and responsible individuals. You must also have the right people in the right seats with the right roles, and you must help to develop all your people to grow with the vision.

Finally, all this operates within a Context that is influenced by customer and other trends in your work environment relative to internal resources and capabilities.

Next, run this business model on the Strategy OS. Use these 8 steps:

1) Agree to a Strategy OS System for your business. Then:

– Publicly commit to it
– Share it across the business to create common process, language, and tools
– Make it part of your work every day

2) Define positioning that includes elements that should be rock solid:

– Vision: How you will be viewed long term; your BHAG
Values: Guiding principles for decisions and actions
– Mission: Why you are in business

These guide key choices and help to give direction when there is uncertainty. When you get them right, you can carve them in stone to endure beyond anyone’s tenure in the company.

3) Tune strategy by organizing around major Themes that advance your Positioning. Themes are broader than plans or programs in that they offer guidance about what is needed without limiting possible plans of action or timeframes.

Themes are destination statements describing with details what the business looks like within a timeframe that can be reasonably imagined from a variety of perspectives(in 3 years for most, 2 years for fast moving businesses, up to 5 years for slower moving companies in mature industries.)

Two must have themes are:

  • Go to Market: How you differentiate, target, market and sell
  • Financial: How you make profits and maintain cash flow

Give these extra focus in your business model.

Prioritize to have 5-7 Themes.

Ensure priority Themes are understood by defining success with:

– Descriptive Outcome
– Tracking Measures

4) Conduct annual planning to set Targets and Initiatives for the next 12 months.

Stay light weight. Planning can be as simple as creating Targets and Initiatives for each strategy Theme created in Step 3.

Then give these a Budget that includes people and dollar allocations.

5) Recurring Refresh with Goals that support the annual Targets, and Rocks that support annual Initiatives. Because people can keep focus for no longer than about 90 days, the refresh should happen at least quarterly. Faster moving teams may want to refresh more often, but none should be less frequently.

These define key results for the near-term that ensure actions on a daily and weekly basis are contributing to deliver longer-term Outcomes and ultimately the vision.

In addition to allowing renewed focus each quarter, use the Refresh Cycle as an extension of annual planning to allow focus on priority Themes and important issues at least every 90 days.

Two must have focus areas are:

  • People: How to structure, hire, incent, train, evaluate, and fire
  • An annual strategy tune: two day planning that revisits step 3

6) Execution Rhythm is created by holding standing meetings listed in brown on this diagram.

These standing meetings focus on delivering the key sections of your Business Model to their right:

  • Leadership Team meetings: to ensure progress, stay accountable and solve issues that accelerate success.
  • Strategy Refresh meetings: to track quarterly and annual progress and renew Rocks.
  • Council meetings: to communicate strategy and allow everyone to contribute to jointly owned parts of the strategy.
  • ACT meetings: to develop good culture and help teams and individuals continue to grow and deliver results using – Accountability: getting things done; – Coaching: providing help; – Transparency: 2-way feedback

Create rhythm by following the bullet points to the right. These meeting should have a standing: time/day, place, attendance, and agenda. Use perfect meeting practices to maximize impact.

7) Monitor results by checking the internal health of the organization and strategy using a company score card.

It creates fast cycles of feedback to help steer daily activities in a way to verify progress and achievement.

8) Adapt and Grow by monitoring the environment or Context in which your company competes to ensure Positioning and Strategy remain effective.

– Talk to customers, prospects & employees
– Audit customer facing processes
– Create time to think on business needs
– Use Council meetings

This creates the feedback and learning adaption that all complex systems need. Ideas can:

– Be solved as Issues with your Leadership Tm and implemented quickly (Step 6)
– Be worked on at the next Quarterly Mtg (Step 4)
– Create new Themes and priorities (Step 3)
– Create a pivot (Step 2)

Let’s Recap:

  • Define your Business Model
    1) Positioning – why we exist
    2) Strategy – how it looks
    3) Plans – what to do
    4) People – right people, right roles, right responsibilities, right support structures
    5) Context – external business environment that impacts success
  • Make StrategyOS part of your daily practice
    1) Commit to a System
    2) Define Positioning
    3) Tune Strategy
    4) Annual Planning
    5) Recurring Refresh
    6) Execution Rhythm
    7) Monitor
    8) Adapt and Grow

Implement a #StrategyOS and you’ll deliver business success.

If you found this helpful, please share, like and subscribe below.

Schedule time to see if I can provide more personalized help through the about page or on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Explore StrategyOS in more detail in Strategy OS Delivers Success – Part1 and Part2

Keep following your Passion and creating Joy and Freedom in your work to pursue all of life’s priorities.

2 Replies to “Strategy OS – An Overview”

  1. Pingback: Horizon Line Group

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