7 Elements Support the 3 Core 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 represent key attributes or competencies required to support the Core Principles of Essential Strategy (Purpose, Growth & Survival). These 7 elements tie into the Mission Critical Path to create an environment of perpetual learning, establishing the critical, flexible “backbone” for the entire system.
WHY IT WORKS
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 that we have put it together in such a way that it clearly defines the activities required to support the Purpose, Growth & Survival foundation. 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 create a holistic approach to prioritizing energy and resources during strategy execution.
Essential Strategy Blueprint was specifically designed to help you understand how well your organization is maintaining equilibrium and balance with strategy, risk and resilience. It is a flexible, yet powerful business planning methodology you can use even without re-inventing your current planning structure.
Explore the model
The Blueprint is a set of 7 key elements that support the Essential Strategy foundation, driving the design and execution of a plan to support the Purpose, Growth & Survival of the organization. We have unwrapped the Essential Strategy graphic to illustrate where each of these elements fit into the model, where they tie together and how the Critical Path creates a system of Perpetual Learning throughout.
A compelling Vision is the heart of the organization and where strategy begins. It is what grounds and guides your people, and it is the center of entity identity that attracts clients and provides a measuring stick for stakeholders. We use Vision together with mission, values and history to tell a story that drives both culture and competitive focus.
Alignment requires us to focus on aligning people to Vision & Cause, as well as how we provide the tools, assets and systems required to execute on strategy. Alignment is an ongoing, active endeavor occurring at regular intervals as well as when adaptive change cycles are triggered.
Deep Understanding means that we must examine, both internally and externally, the environment in which we operate; our weaknesses, capabilities, emerging risk, market demands and industry shifts in order to draw the connections between the things we must do to support the things we want to achieve.
Clarity of Direction requires us to make decisions based on the business intelligence we’ve gathered, analyzed and then communicate the meaning and intent of our plan throughout the organization.. This is how we continue to support Alignment and move our plan into execution mode.
Active Navigation is what we do once we’ve launched our plan. Now we must monitor how well our strategy holds up within a continually evolving environment of market, technology and industry. This is not unlike a captaining a vessel – we truly are navigating the waters!
Beneficial Cause requires us to understand what kind of contribution we are making with the products or services we provide. Vision is the future state we imagine - Beneficial Cause is captured in our mission, which may change over time as the world around us and the clients and customers we serve evolve in their wants, needs and demands.
We adapt based on the changing environment, making quick turns and adjustments to react and manage our course. We Evolve over a longer period of time as we continually take in information, analyze and recenter on the Vision and mission established.
The Critical Path is the backbone of the Essential Strategy approach, Agile Framework, and the Agile Goal Array. It ensures that each element is connected in a meaningful way, and providing a mechanism for prioritization energy, resources, and assets. Like the others, this element is an active one, creating a Perpetual Learning environment necessary to support successful execution of strategy, risk and resilience.
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.