Discovering and creating a Strategy Execution Map may proceed in four phases:

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  • Preparation:  Evidence-based discussion relies on facts, opinions, and perceptions gathered during a workshop from key stakeholders. See the questions below to guide your agenda and construct for your Strategy Execution Map.
  • Education:  This phase will describe the process end-to-end to establish a common vocabulary and tell the participants what to expect. This will also include a description of the common biases that inhibit communication and decision making when creating your Strategy Execution Map.
  • Creation:  In this phase key decision makers, Subject Matter Experts, stakeholders and influencers come together to create the Strategy Execution Map. This phase needs free flowing exchange of ideas and openness to diverse points of view.  Debates must be encouraged
  • Validation:  In this phase, offline Strategy Execution Map meetings consolidate, ‘clean up’ and publish Strategy Execution Map inputs.

Four Phases of Strategy Execution Map Described

Phase

Intensity level

Description
1.   Preparation

Medium Intensity

Preparation is best completed with a structured and well-prepared workshop, run by a professional facilitator, who does not allow scope creep and conversations to drift.  The questions below should be considered to guide your deliverable.
2.   Education

Low Intensity

Having launched the effort, off-line investments are made by the stakeholders to secure evidence including facts, trends, and examples to support their arguments.  The evidence they gather will be shared in the next pre-read or at the next workshop.
3.   Creation

High Intensity

Creating the Strategy Execution Map will require all participants to come together in a workshop format; this phase can last from one to five days.
4.   Validation

Medium Intensity

If the preparation phase was done well, the validation phase will usually happen quickly.  Validation can be done offline, involving shorter durations and lesser number of people at a time, but then it is spread over a longer period of time.  A brief workshop is preferred.

Here are some questions to ask during the preparation phase.

First some strategy questions:

  • What are our mission, values, and vision? Are there societal and environmental sustainability elements?
  • What is in our written business plan(s)?
    • How is it communicated to stakeholders?
    • How is it updated?
    • Who has the decision responsibility for the plan(s)?
    • Are the decisions made via collaboration or directive?
    • If by collaboration, who should participate?
  • Are there any major transformational shifts on the horizon?
    • Any mergers and acquisitions that may be announced?
    • How does the M&A fit with the strategy?
    • What are the value drivers for the M&A decision?
  • Do we have a standard framework and operational definitions for the strategic development and execution process?
  • What is our unique value proposition?
    • What unique value do we bring to the marketplace?
    • Stress, what do we do differently and better than everyone else?
    • What are the primary sources of our competitive advantage?
    • Why do/ should customers buy from us rather than from our competitors?
  • Who are our key competitors?
    • How do we expect to compete and win?
    • What factors enable us to consistently outperform our competitors?
    • How are we going to grow our company?
  • Where are the market opportunities or customers that we have rejected recently and why?
  • What are the barriers to entry in our market?
    • How difficult will it be for others to copy our strategy?
    • How are we going to stay ahead of the game, ahead of old, new, and future competitors?
    • What factors enable us to create a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage?
    • What are the key uncertainties?

Next are questions about our business model

In the specified business area/ product/ service line—how does this business work?

  • What is our revenue generation model?
    • How is this business going to generate positive cash flow and turn a profit?
    • What are the key drivers of financial success?
  • Is our business in a growth, decline, or status quo phase?
  • What are our key performance indicators that we track and take action on?
  • What is our traffic generation model?
    • How are we going to attract new customers?
    • How are we going to market and sell our products/ services?
  • What is our customer retention strategy? How are we going to keep our customers and increase share of wallet?
  • What are the working assumptions for our business model? Organizational?  Market?  Customers?  Employees?  Regulatory? Community?  Others?
  • Are we fully leveraging the potential of Information Technology?
    • Are our systems integrated or are they silo’ed (isolated)?
    • Which of our systems is a bottleneck?
    • Are there single or multiple sources of truth for critical data?
    • What data is typically missing, incorrect, or not available in a timely manner?

Followed by questions about capabilities and culture

Look at other areas needed to achieve the strategy.

  • How do we go about assessing the capability risk?
  • What key skills individual, team, and organizational capabilities do our vision, strategy, and competitive advantage require?
  • What kind of culture do we need to compete and win in our chosen markets?
  • How are we going to deploy our organizational levers to best create and reinforce our core capabilities and desired culture?
  • How strong is our leadership pipeline?

Finally, questions about resources to execute the strategy

  • Human resource needs:
    • How many people and what kinds of skills?
    • What is our plan for recruiting, developing, and retaining this talent?
    • What is our current retention rate?
    • Are we able to retain the right people?
    • Do we have the right people in the right jobs?
  • Financial resources:
    • How much capital do we need for setting-up and/ or operating the company?
    • What combination of debt and equity?
    • How will we manage our cash flow?
  • Is our organization structure promoting collaboration or conflict or silo’ed in its thinking?
  • What are the governance models at the enterprise, initiative, and project levels?
    • Do any of our policies conflict with each other?
    • Is there a gap between a policy and its implementation?
  • What intellectual capital do we need?
  • What are our key processes that add value to the outputs we deliver to our customers?

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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