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Typically, strategy making involves sweeping “broad brush” or “blue-sky” thinking. But from a collaborative leadership point of view this poses a problem straight away.
Unfortunately the blue-sky thinking approach, means separating the decision-makers from the people who have to actually do the work. Typically this separation leads to the imposition of goals and targets.
Now although these targets are designed to respond to the threats and opportunities as perceived by senior management, they often do not take into account the reality as seen from lower down in the organisation.
And this leads on to a second problem. You are then imposing goals and targets on people who haven't necessarily bought in to your ideas. The result is often confusion, resistance to change, unforseen consequences and ultimately a failure to reach your full expectations. Do you want this?
TBD strategic planning is more compatible with the dynamic concept of self-regulation and is subtly different to the above top down method.
The principle of self-regulation recognises that an important factor to retain in a dynamically changing environment is the organisation's double-loop learning faculty. As such it is important that you avoid imposing structures of action upon organised settings, e.g. by imposing goals, objectives, and targets. Instead it is more productive to devise means where group intelligence and direction can emerge from ongoing organisational processes. Predetermined goals tend to provide a framework for single loop learning and discourage double loop learning.
You can develop more effective strategy through a sequential process starting with a “bottom-up” or participative approach to the SWOT appraisal process. A process of root cause analysis, impact analysis, cross-impact analysis, flexibility analysis and short term action planning follows the SWOT appraisal.
From this process emerges a meaningful direction from the elimination of less favourable courses of action or the avoidance of constraints.
The process provides a gradual refinement of the constraints down to what is the most favourable in the circumstances. As new limitations, threats or constraints emerge and old ones seem less of a threat or a problem, you can modify your actions in an evolving manner.
With a TBD programme, you as CEO develop strategy through a range of specific action-plans generated on an ongoing basis and that are tested against these constraints for viability.
Although the process may seem quite time consuming, it is highly effective at detecting and correcting errors ahead of implementation and this can save months of work and rework.
In addition, the collaborative process means that the new strategy emerges with the enthusiastic commitment and support of all those involved. The method is as much a process for exploring and reaffirming values as it is for setting a direction.
If you would like to learn more about how strategy is developed using the TBD process contact us or call 0845 0945 819
TBD can provide strategic planning services anywhere in Hampshire and the South West of England including Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch
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