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 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. They define why the business exists.
  • 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 and weekly actions.

The left funnel is the people piece. 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 have the right people in the right seats and you must help to develop and grow all your people.

Next, you need to run this business model on your Strategy OS. Use these 8 steps:

1) Agree to a Strategy OS 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:

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

These guide key choices and help to give direction when uncertainty rises. 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 in 3 years from a variety of perspectives.

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 a:

– Descriptive Objective
– Measurable Result

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) Refresh Quarterly with Goals that support the annual Targets, and Rocks that support annual Initiatives.

These define key results for the near-term that ensure progress on a daily, weekly, and quarterly basis is contributing to deliver longer-term Objectives.

In addition to allowing renewed focus each quarter, use this quarterly rhythm as an extension of annual planning to create focus Rocks for priority Themes.

Two musy 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 gold on this diagram.

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

Follow the rhythm bullet points in the diagram to get the best results.

ACT meetings cross levels to help teams and individuals continue to develop, grow and deliver results.

These meetings are one-on-ones between employees and their managers. They focus on:

– Accountability: getting things done
– Coaching: asking for and providing help
– Transparency: creating trust and 2-way feedback

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 sustain 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 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
    2) Strategy – what
    3) Plans – how
  • Make Strategy OS part of your daily practice
    1) Commit to a System
    2) Define Positioning
    3) Tune Strategy
    4) Annual Planning
    5) Quarterly Pulse
    6) Execution Rhythm
    7) Monitor
    8) Adapt and Sustain

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

If this was useful please consider:

1. Hitting the like button at the bottom of this post.
2. Explore StrategyOS in more detail in Strategy OS Delivers Success – Part1 and Part2
3. Following me on Twitter and LinkedIn
4. Scheduling time to see if I can provide more personalized help through the About page

One Reply to “Strategy OS – An Overview”

  1. Pingback: Horizon Line Group

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