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Issue 09: making strategy live

Jul 16th

Many leaders find they spend more time talking about their strategy with the Board than with the rest of the organisation. Issue 09 explores how to make your strategy more than a document, using Billy Elliot: The Musical to tell the story, and includes tips for creating momentum in your strategy planning.

“However beautiful the strategy,
you should occasionally look at the results.”
Winston Churchill

Monday morning – there must be a better way
I saw Billy Elliot: The Musical with my family on Saturday. We were on such a high afterwards, I can’t remember the last time I felt so uplifted by the energy of a performance. It must be great, I thought, to come up with an idea, a story, and then to turn it into an award-winning performance, to bring it to life. Then I realised that’s what I want to do here.

Later this afternoon my direct reports will sit around this table considering our five year strategy. The prospect drains me. We spend so much time and effort on strategic planning every year, but nothing much seems to change as a result. We say we are going to do so many things, but most of the time we don’t follow through. It’s as if developing the strategy stands in for the real work we need to do. Maybe it even helps us avoid doing the real work.

We’re good at expressing our intent. Our challenge is how to turn the intent into reality. “Strategy” means different things to different people. In the end, what I want for this organisation is world – beating performance. So we do need vision and direction – like the story and score of the musical. But even though each production uses the same materials, some nights are much better than others. So we know there’s more to it than getting the story right, but that’s still what we spend most of our time doing around here.

Read the full report here

This article is filed under: Change, making strategy work, strategic capability, strategy, strategy development, strategy implementation

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