Building a Successful Organisational Strategy
GroundProbe’s VP Australia and Africa, Clifford Walsh
“Most organisational and strategic methodologies were developed after the second world war and followed the military hierarchical premise. The world and the way people think and operate have changed beyond recognition since then! However, most organisations and academic institutions are still ardent followers of this way of thinking.”
So, to succeed in this fast-moving and ever-changing world, an organisation such as GroundProbe must be willing to build a strategic and operational direction that is both intelligent and dynamic. Implementing such a strategy will positively evoke a unique and practical plan for a successful future, closing the gap between where it is within the current marketplace and where it wants to be.
Below is my interpretation of a successful organisational strategy, set out in five phases. In summary, the process flows through five developmental phases. The first aims to identify and define what and who the organisation is, the second aims to understand the reality of what problems it faces, the third focusses on intent and strategic direction, the fourth defines the implementation process, and finally monitoring your results and the importance of leading by example.
Phase 1: Define your Purpose and Intent
Fundamental to creating a successful strategy is the importance of understanding the organisations’ receptive purpose, i.e., what it wants to do and how it wants to act (through agreed business values). This is followed by its projected intended ambitions and how it plans to sustain itself, part of the business model. Defining these parameters helps to create the organisation’s ‘X-factors’ and will result in a strong foundation for a high-powered strategy.
Phase 2: Conduct a DOEP Analysis
When you understand the organisation’s Dynamics, Opportunities, risk Exposure, and Process Efficiency (DOEP) you can comprehend where it sits within the marketplace, its ‘operational reality’ i.e., the analysis of how people interact with it, what opportunities it has, how exposed it is, and how efficiently it is run. DOEP helps to define the organisation’s strategic objectives and can be as simple as a board room discussion or as complex as an ongoing research project. DOEP replaces the old SWOT analysis, splitting an organisation into ‘internal’ and ‘external’ parts – a business model that is increasingly hard to integrate.
Phase 3: Develop a Strategic Direction
Combining the results from phases 2 and 3 should result in understanding what must be changed to stay relevant and the gap between where we are and where we want to be. But to close the gap requires a robust strategic direction with targeted objectives. Creating clear and concise strategic objectives are an extremely important part of the development process because if we get them wrong, we can endanger the strategic direction of organisational strategy. Therefore, we must choose our strategic objectives carefully. I recommend three strategic objectives as a good benchmark.
Phase 4: Implement the [Project Management Methodology] Strategy
The next phase incorporates the project management methodology – implementing and executing the strategy, beginning with a high-level work breakdown structure that translates objectives into strategic programs. Each program holds several projects, with each project defining clear boundaries in terms of tasks, cost, risks and performance. We can then execute any project, building a strong, precise, strategic direction.
The project management method is a tried and tested process with clearly defines rules, timelines, milestones, etc. so there should be no excuse for ignoring this part of the strategy. If a project is not implemented, it is usually because the project manager did not complete his/her job.
In larger organisations, a project manager will manage cost, completion deadlines and quality during the project management process. This is good practice since it allows for the project manager’s feedback to focus more on substance than on process. It also prevents a situation where the referee is also a player.
Phase 5: Monitor and Lead
At this point, it is important to monitor the progress of the strategy – analysing the success (and potential failure) of targeted achievements and well as reviewing costs. Here it is also important to remember that building a strategy is an expensive exercise, thus the change that it brings must be worth the risk. Positive change in operational strategic targets should show the return on investment (ROI). A mistake many organisations make is they judge the success of the strategy after completion of the project, rather on individual targets because not all projects will be successful, but that doesn’t mean the strategy as a whole was a failure
Lastly, and importantly, people must be motivated to engage with the changes. This is where leadership must lead from the front with clear and concise direction and communication to ensure everyone is on board and understands the importance of the strategy.
I believe that we can change the world for the better if we think more practically and rationally. Most organisations make the mistake of spending vast amounts of time, money and effort focussing on misguided operational strategy, generally resulting in epic financial failure. Through a structured and practical organisational strategic approach, I believe an organisation can build a successful corporate strategy that will stand the test of time.
GroundProbe, an innovation and technology-driven company, will continue to actively engage in new and advanced operational strategies, always focussing on staying relevant, ensuring it continues to be the market leader in monitoring solutions.