Essential Strategy The Blueprint

7 Elements Support the 3 Foundational Principles of Essential Strategy


In order to create a more dynamic framework for organizations that wanted to take Essential Strategy to the next level, we designed the Essential Strategy Blueprint. 


The Essential Strategy Blueprint is an integrated model for strategy, risk, and resilience that defines the balance required for creating a self-perpetuating organization based on the principles of Essential Strategy. 


With the Essential Strategy Blueprint, we have defined 7 Elements that must exist within the 3 Principles of Essential Strategy (Mission, Growth & Survival) that sit on top of the Mission Critical Path which serves as the “backbone” for the entire system.


  1.  Define supports Vision & Mission

  2.  Growth is supported by 3 Elements: Align, Explore & Act

  3.  Survival is also supported by 3 Elements: Navigate, Adapt & Evolve.


None of these concepts are new, and there are many tools to support the underlying work. The unique value in the Essential Strategy Blueprint is the way we have put it together such that it clearly defines what activities are required to support the Purpose, Growth & Survival approach. Its design shows when and how each of those elements tie into the others, and how how each element needs to flow along the Critical Path to ensure optimal prioritization.


If we look at the model “in motion” we see that the Growth and Survival cycles are always tied to Mission but rotate opposite of each other – this maintains equilibrium and balance while keeping the all the elements intact creating a flexible, yet powerful business planning methodology.

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Mission Critical Path is the backbone of the Essential Strategy approach, Agile Framework, and the Agile Goal Array. It ensures that each element is connected to and drives the others – the Critical Path helps us maintain priority by focusing our energy, resources, and assets on the things that matter most.

Define what grounds the organization, its people, its clients, and its stakeholders. It is cumulative of the organization’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Story, and it drives both culture and competitive focus.

Align is all about people. We must ground to Mission/Purpose and then set out a clear direction for all to follow in order to create agility and efficiency (everyone rowing in the same direction!)

Assess means that we must examine, both internally and externally, the environment in which we operate; our weaknesses, capabilities, competencies, emerging risk, etc. (this is business intelligence through SWOT, PESTLE, etc.)

Deployment requires us to make decisions based on the business intelligence we’ve gathered, analyzed. This is how we move our plan forward and execute on strategic goals.

Navigate is what we do once we’ve launched our plan. Now we must monitor how well our strategy holds up with customers, competitors, regulation and a myriad of other external factors and emerging risk. This is not unlike a captain on a vessel – we truly are navigating the waters!

We adapt based on the changing environment, making quick turns and adjustments to react and manage our course. These changes are typically short-cycle and may require additional exploration to reassess.

We evolve over a longer horizon. It is a slower process but one that inevitably must happen for the organization to become self-perpetuating.


Essential Strategy Agile Goal Array

To complement the Essential Strategy Blueprint and create a mechanism for capturing, defining and measuring goals, we developed the Agile Goal Array. The Goal Array illustrates the connection of all goals to the achievement of Vision and ensures that the priorities identified to support the Purpose, Growth & Survival principles flow through from planning to execution.


Echoing the value-add elements of a 2x2 chart and the balanced scorecard methods, we created a multi-faceted tool that incorporates the Essential Strategy Foundation, and highlights the attribute we are looking to achieve with each goal.


For instance, aligning Cores (core competencies / internal proficiencies) for Growth & Purpose should result in greater agility; aligning Capabilities for Purpose and Survival should result in greater resilience.

The Array also illustrates that Resources & Cores goals are internally focused whereas Capabilities and Industry/Market goals will reflect an external focus. We have control over and drive our Resource, Cores and Capabilities to serve our customers, but must always recognize that Industry/Market exerts an opposite force, pushing back into our overall model, driving adaptation and change.

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Anchorage, AK 99503

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© 2020 by Black Fox Strategy, LLC

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