Transform Phase Delivers Success

The Transform phase of StrategyOS delivers your Vision. Many businesses struggle to implement after putting together a bold strategic plan because they lack the practices to turn planning into reality.

As Prussian field marshal von Moltke once said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” In this case, the enemy presents as risks, uncertainty, and changes in the business context. The world is constantly changing, and no one can predict the future with certainty. So, it is important to have the plan from Envision, and it is even more important to be prepared to adapt that plan as needed.

StrategyOS solves this by taking an agile approach to strategy implemtation. The Transform phase of #StrategyOS ensures steady delivery by using:

  • A recurring strategy refresh to stay relevant
  • An execution rhythm to make regular progress
  • Monitoring to say in touch and adapt

These work together to ensure the entire stack of your business model gets the ongoing attention needed to make steady progress to success. Let’s look at each step.

Recurring Refresh

Hold recurring strategy refreshes at least each quarter to renew Rocks and Goals. At these workshops, teams review success and challenges since the last refresh and commit to Rocks they will deliver before the next refresh. We call the actions that best move the strategy forward Rocks.

Rocks can be milestones for longer-term Initiatives or stand alone deliverables. Each Rock should have an owner. Each team member should own 1 to 4 Rocks (fewer, highest impact is typically better). Teams also set Goals for important measures to quantify the impact Rocks and their other actions should make within the refresh cycle.

Ninety days is about as long as teams can stay focused without the need to evaluate and resync. Fast-moving teams might find that a more frequent cadence is better. A faster refresh cycle can be beneficial for early stage companies and rapidly evolving industries.

Annually, this workshop expands the agenda to pull in the Annual Planning step that includes evaluating and resyncing longer running Initiatives and Themes and establishing annual Targets for key measures. Most businesses also create an annual Budget to plan financial and resource needs for their fiscal year.

Execution Rhythm

This step creates regular opportunities to ensure accountability and steady progress in delivering the elements of the business model. This happens primarily at two levels:

Create rhythm by scheduling standing meetings that have:

  • 5-10 essential members
  • Set day, time, and place
  • Set agenda
  • Pre-work done each week
  • On-time start and end
  • Minutes
  • Work between meetings to deliver action items
  • An evaluation to improve execution

For all meetings, incorporate the ideas of ACT to help make them productive for all attendees and use them as a building block for great culture.


Monitoring allows for quantitative tracking to inform on progress and impact. This informs what adaptation is needed to ensure progress and for the strategy to stay relevant. Two tools are key to this step:

Both these tools are discussed in detail in the linked articles above. It is important to know how to both tactically use these tools during Execution Rhythm, and to create opportunities to step back and see what monitoring reveals from a longer term perspective. This big picture monitoring informs the Recurring Refresh and can lead to Adapt and Grow larger changes in the Business Model.

Putting it All Together

The iterative nature of this phase makes it difficult to capture well in a single picture. I have tried a few different approaches. In addition to the steps depicted on the StrategyOS picture, below are some attempts to detail Transform activities:

This picture shows the actions that happen over the course of a year with each brown dot representing about a quarter:

This picture shows the meetings and workshops that deliver success. It adds the options for standup meetings that creates more coordination for fast moving teams and acknowledges that ACT meetings are both incorporated into all meetings and should happen regularly between managers and their reports:

Finally, this picture borrows from the agile scrum practice to show how this approach follows those practices (though usually over a longer running iteration cycle). You can read Mike Cohn’s scrum overview article to see how it is adopted here:

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