We are here to share our excitement on the coming launch of our long awaited visual strategy methodology - ShapeScape. The ShapeScape methodology uses visual thinking approaches to map complexity and facilitate smart, fast decision making. All resulting in a focused action plan.
We are going to officially launch ShapeScape at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin on the 10th of January, in the presence of the great Sir Richard Branson! How cool is that?!
To start the celebration, and in honor of Christmas spirit, we will share three posts in the coming weeks with free goodies that can help you your 2018 strategies become a reality.
For today our first gift is: (drum rolls please….)
The 8 step process for turning your strategy into a reality
Working in complex organisations makes executing strategies extremely challenging. Not having the right stakeholders onboard, not having a prioritised action plan and broken communication flows are just some of the challenges our clients share with us.
Would you like a way for you and your team to know which stakeholders will impact the success of your project, their roles and motivations, and have a clear action plan showing what needs to be done first and by whom?… Wouldn’t it be great to start 2018 with that level of clarity?
The following steps can help you achieve that.
1. Start with deciding on the top strategic objectives and their associated KPIs.
In our ShapeScape workshop we recommend to have no more than 5 participants. If your objectives are not prioritised already, expect this stage to take at least an hour or two. Don’t rush it, these are the foundations for the next steps.
2. For each of the objectives and KPIs, list all the stakeholders that you need to have on board in order to achieve success.
Consider, should you name key people, functions or teams? A good way to decide is to group stakeholders that have a clear role or collective motivation.
3.Focusing on the stakeholders, list their role and why would they want to support your project. What are their motives?
This step can take time, but it uncovers a lot of great insights. Remember that stakeholders can hold more than one role, and will almost always have more than one motivation.
4. Still focusing on the stakeholders list, reflect on the quality that they bring to your strategy, are they enablers, neutral, or blockers?
If you’re doing this with your team, this is a good time to share your different experiences. We find that some stakeholders can be both enablers and neutral, depending on the context or the role they hold. If you don’t know then we recommend to categorise them as neutral.
5. Last step in the mapping process - list all the ways that you are currently engaging with them.
Are you engaging with them directly through face to face meetings, workshops, casual water cooler chats? Or indirectly, through emails, or social media?
6. Time to gather learnings by looking at all your data and asking the following questions:
a) Which stakeholders are key for the successful delivery of your KPIs?
b) What stakeholder relationships are low or high risk to your strategy execution?
c) Which of the stakeholder relationships give signs of quick wins?
7. Action time! Map your actions using the “Stop-Start-Continue” model.
Draw 3 columns table with stop, start, continue at the title for each column. Brainstorm all of the actions that you need to do in order to achieve your KPIs, and use the first three columns to categories them. Once you’re done, ask your team to each pick the top five actions they are going to commit to.
8. For each action you picked decide what measures will help you know if your actions were successful.
Consider both soft measures such as language used, emotions expressed, behaviors observed as well as hard data such as sales, retention rate or clicks.
Our clients find this process extremely useful when kickstarting a new projects, role change, start or end of term (e.g. end of quarter), a new manager hire or when their strategy is associated with high risk.
You’re probably thinking "this is going to take the whole day to complete!" and you are probably right. However, like David Allen, the Getting Things Done guru, says “It will take longer than you think, but not as long as you fear”.
Completing those 8 steps will probably take a day, but it would be a day well spent. And it will help you save much more in the long run. We are great believers in “slow down to speed up”. Getting busy doing without a good solid action plan not only wastes your time and budget, but it also has the potential to cause dysfunctions in your team, spreading confusion and frustration.
To get the most of this process, being Think Visual, we recommend using your largest whiteboard and getting yourself a big pack of post-its and colourful markers.
In our workshops we use our new ShapeScape tool which utilizes the power of coloured geometric shapes, and get the team to map together all the different areas that were covered before. The outcome is a visual map, that is not only insightful but also beautiful!
In the next post we will be sharing a visual infographic explaining the history of System Thinking on which ShapeScape is built on.
To make sure you don’t miss out on our next blog post and the chance of getting your very own ShapeScape ruler (sent to the first 10 subscribers from this post) sign up below and leave your comment, we’d love to know what you think of our process!