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Are you Building your Strategy Management Community?

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To successfully achieve the mission and vision defined in its strategic plan, an organization is wise to implement a comprehensive strategy management tool known as the Integrated System for Breakthrough Performance. This suite of essential strategy management tools includes:

– A strategy map where a focused set of strategic objectives (usually 12 – 16 maximum) are placed over the traditional four balanced scorecard perspectives in order to clarify the business strategy and show the cause and effect relationships that exist among them,
– A set of indicators/balanced scorecard (usually 16 – 32 indicators maximum) that directly reflect or represent the strategy/strategic objectives. Their prime purpose is to measure that the desired change required by the strategic objectives, actually takes place. In short, strategic indicators allow you to measure and manage strategy execution and assess progress with strategy achievement,
– The aligned strategic processes and projects/initiatives that will drive or support the actual change required by the strategic objectives,
– The accountability and governance frameworks (including the roles/owners, duties, responsibilities, and processes) required to support the implementation and management of the strategic plan and facilitate the achievement of desired business performance results, and
– A connected strategy management community.

I have written fairly extensively about the first four strategy management tools so I thought that I would focus today on the last element of the suite – the strategy management community. I have just recently formally added this element to the integrated system for breakthrough performance suite though it has always been hovering in the background when I have discussed the system before now.

Let’s look at what the strategy management community is and why it is so important to strategic and organizational success.

An organization’s strategy management community participates, in real time, in an organic, dynamic, two-way, and collaborative strategy management process. It does this by providing information, enabling input and comments, and facilitating the creative and innovative insights that mold and shape business strategy.

A strategy management community can include employees, internal and external stakeholders, customers, business partners, suppliers – essentially anyone who has an interest in, and can contribute to, the success of an organization’s strategy and the achievement of its mission and vision. In addition, the strategy management community includes all of the business and communication processes and the technology infrastructure, such as social networking software, required to support the functioning of the community.

Until now, many organizations have neglected to focus on building their strategy management community. The result, despite investing time and dollars in an expertly facilitated strategic planning process and a state of the art balanced scorecard business performance measurement application, is often underperformance or a complete breakdown in their strategy management efforts.

So, why and how does this happen? Well, it usually happens because successful strategy management is really a huge change project with the biggest change required for strategic business success being culture change.

By culture change I mean that you need to get every one in your organization thinking, acting, and working differently every day. That is, you want every one (no matter where they are in the organization) to be: thinking about strategy and mission and vision achievement (the thinking differently part); understanding how what they do ever day contributes to strategy execution and then making local decisions accordingly (the working differently part); and sharing strategic insights, contributing to strategy-focused improvements, and participating in dynamic strategy revision when required (the acting differently part).

The best way to facilitate such a culture change is to put your organization’s strategy front and center in every one’s every day work life, and to get every stakeholder inside and outside your organization connected around, and focused on, your strategy and the achievement of your mission and vision.

Until recently, building a robust strategy management community has been a bit of a challenge (however, many organizations have still successfully done it). This is because there haven’t been formalized (and widely discussed) business process models for the development, implementation, and management of a strategy management community. Also, the communication and networking technology required for the care and feeding of an integrated strategy management community just haven’t been out there.

That is, until now.

Think social networking and collaboration sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and, most recently, Twitter. Also think Wikopedia and YouTube where people can either work together to create new information or make original material (that wouldn’t have “seen daylight” in the old way of doing things) wildly popular. Basically, all of this technology allows people to connect, build groups, have focused discussions on various topics, and create new material in a collaborative way. And it happens quite organically within certain boundaries – often from the bottom up.

Basically, social networking technology just makes connecting people and building a more dynamic, and high functioning, strategy management community easier for organizations. To learn more about using this type of technology to build communities and social networks for business, visit <b>Igloo Software</b> – one of the leading-edge providers and thinkers on this topic (http://www.igloosoftware.com”>www.igloosoftware.com).

The bottom line is building your strategy management community is critical to making your strategy the way your organization works – the ultimate key to successful mission and vision achievement.

With this in mind, what are you doing today to build or nurture the strategy management community in your organization?