Join Mike Figliuolo for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting a strategy, part of Building High-Performance Teams.
- Once you've defined your organization's vision and mission you have to be able to link it to the initiatives you're going to pursue. Otherwise, it ends up just being off in the ether, and nobody uses it, and you end up pursuing a strategy that is inconsistent with where you're trying to go. So, the way you do that is you first have to define your core competencies, because they will help you understand where you should compete, and the types of initiatives you should pursue. Second, you need to articulate a set of strategic filters, and those are they key seven or eight criteria you're going to use for evaluating initiatives to pursue, or not pursue.
They'll also help you articulate the rationale behind that initiative, and how that initiative is going to get you from where you are today, to where you're trying to go as you achieve your vision. Once those filters are developed, you need to run all your initiatives through them to understand the relative priority of what you're going to pursue, and that prioritization is then going to help you define the organizational structure, as well as the resources you're going to need to complete those initiatives.
Now, I mentioned core competencies. Core competencies are what your organization does better than anyone else, and it's only two that you're allowed to define. I know our teams are good a lot of things, but it's hard to be great at a lot of things, and by looking at the things that truly separate your organization from your competition, you're going to be able to identify those places where you should invest your resources for the highest return.
So, I like to use very simple framework for assessing how you should pursue your core competencies and how they map to the initiatives that you're going to tackle. So, as I look at core competencies, I like taking a framework that says, "Look at core competency one, "and our ability to use that competency in the market place, "or pursuing the initiatives "that are on our prioritization list," and looking at the ability to leverage it from a low level to a very high level in terms of how relevant that competency is to the pursuit of that initiative.
Then we look at our second core competency, which isn't the dominant one, but it's the next most important one, and we consider it the same way, from low to high. Once we've done that, we can create a map for where we should pursue initiatives or not. For places where neither competency is relevant to the pursuit of that initiative, you're in a zone of, "Do not play." You should not pursue initiatives where those core competencies are not relevant.
For initiatives where both competencies are highly irrelevant, you should be the natural owner of that initiative or that place in the market. Then, on the off angles, there are going to be situations where your first core competency is the most relevant, and you're going to pursue those types of initiatives. For places where your second core competency is relevant, you might consider those initiatives, but they're not going to be as high priority as the ones that are leveraging your first core competency of where you're the natural owner.
So, allow me to illustrate. Let's imagine you have an organization where your two core competencies are building great consumer brands and having a great supply chain. So, if I have an initiative where I'm going to create white-label products that don't have a brand on them, and it's not a very supply-chain focused type of initiative, because it's a service more than it's a product, that would be, "Do not play," because my brand isn't relevant and it doesn't go through my supply chain.
Now, if I were going to launch an initiative with a brand new consumer packaged good that's going to be branded, and carry our brand on it, and it would go through our existing supply chain, which is extremely efficient, I should be the natural owner of that category because my brand matters a lot, and my supply chain matters a great deal. So, as you're assessing initiatives and looking at how your core competencies come into play, that view of those competencies will help you decide which initiatives are high priority and which ones you should not be considering.
Now, I mentioned strategic filters. Once you have a good sense of which initiatives are very high priority, you need to do the next cut of prioritization. These strategic filters are going to be evaluation criteria for looking at your initiatives, and some will be qualitative, and some will be quantitative. So, for example, we may have strategic filters that say, "Does this initiative help us grow internationally?" or, "Does it help us grow with a certain consumer segment?" "Does this initiative advance our technology platform?" So, whatever criteria are most important to your organization and the achievement of that organization's goals.
You may also have some quantitative filters like the net present value of that initiative, or the return on investment of the dollars you put in and what you get back from conducting that initiative. So, you'll construct this set of filters to evaluate those initiatives, and later on you'll run all your initiatives through those filters to understand how they stack up relative to one another. Once you've done that, you've almost completed the strategic planning cycle. You've set your strategy by articulating your vision and your mission, you've understood where you play and where you don't play based on your core competencies, you'll have articulated your strategic filters for evaluating the initiatives you're going to pursue, and then prioritizing them.
That resultant prioritization list should drive your organizational structure, and it should drive your resource planning for how you're going to those initiatives done. Once you've defined that organizational structure, then you can start thinking about the members of your team and where they best map based on their individual capabilities within that organizational structure. Many times we do this process in reverse, and we start with, "Well, here are the people I have, "therefore, here's an organizational structure "that makes sense given those people and their capabilities, "and based on that structure and those people, "here are the initiatives that I can pursue "because I have the capabilities, "and therefore, if I pursue those initiatives, "here's my default strategy." We end up having a strategy that is driven by the resources that we have versus a strategy that is mindful of a vision that we're trying to achieve.
So, making sure that you put strategy, then evaluation of initiatives to drive organizational structure, then drive your human resource planning, will help you achieve the goals of that high performing team.
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- Creating a compelling vision and mission for your team
- Understanding the resources your team needs to succeed
- Recruiting the right people
- Balancing workload
- Setting goals
- Empowering people
- Resolving conflict
- Building bench strength and succession plans<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.