Co-design your strategy development and implementation to accelerate strategy execution.

Last week someone asked me whether they should update their strategy and planning process. A great question!

Traditional strategy development approaches happen in the “dark room”, behind closed doors.  After being refined to perfection by the project team, sometimes consultants, and the executive, it is submitted to the board. Once approved, it is then announced to the organization.

I recommend you avoid the dark room approach because:

  1. It can miss important information, which is best understood by people closest to the customer, or by those experimenting with seemingly unrelated innovation elsewhere in your organization.
  2.  It takes too long, often 6-12+ weeks of intensive effort and another lag for approval. This delay is problematic in our fast moving business environment (eg AI has changed the landscape considerably this year).
  3. Dark room approaches triggers an adverse psychological and neurological reaction in the rest of the staff. It is likely to leave them feeling excluded, threatened, and powerless.  This is the very opposite of the influence and organisational development approaches described by researchers such as Robert Cialdini, Edgar Schein, David Rock and others.

A better approach is where you involve those impacted or responsible for delivery from the very beginning. This means that the implementation in a sense is already starting as you formulate strategy and plans. It is a combination of strategy development and strategy execution. People exposed to the new strategy ideas are already figuring out how they can do things differently when they walk out of the meeting room, They are changing their focus in subtle ways. I’ve previously written about this with Dr Norman Chorn. This delivers the best support and the most momentum, and is consistent with HCD and design thinking.

For more alternatives to dark room strategy, and case studies of successful transformation projects, watch or listen to Davina Stanley interviewing me on her podcast or YouTube👇 Davina is a talented Communications Specialist who I know through the McKinsey network.



PS Not sure what to do about getting your strategy unstuck, your projects powering ahead, your digital transformation turbocharged?

You have 3 choices:

🚀 Get your question answered free and discretely by emailing me (in 110 words or less) and I’ll answer as many as I can in my weekly emails.

🚀 🚀 Discuss your question with me in a Zoom group coaching session. Email me beforehand to stay unidentified, then join the group in asking “what if” questions. Join Turbocharge Your Transformation membership.

🚀 🚀 🚀 🚀 Access 1on1 mentoring with me, email me on lisa.carlin@futurebuildersgroup

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About Lisa Carlin

As a strategy execution specialist and scaleup mentor, Lisa works with ambitious digital leaders to turbocharge their transformation and business planning. Lisa’s clients have an independent sounding board and expert advice so they have absolute confidence they WILL ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS. Lisa is Co-Founder and Director of FutureBuilders Group of organisational development specialists, and volunteers as Chair of the University of Cape Town Australia Trust. Her early career was with Accenture (South Africa) and McKinsey (USA).

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