Activate Strategy: Review
We live in an imperfect world, as you may have observed. Whilst we think we can fully control our environment; control is ultimately an illusion. Things change, so we must adapt and be agile, and not lock ourselves into strategies without considering their progress.
All strategic milestones need to be reviewed on a regular basis. In our Stragile Method the 12 month milestones are reviewed every 90 days. I like 90 days. It's long enough to get something done and short enough to create a sense of urgency.
In Stragile we don't create 90-day targets for the whole 12 months. We just set the target for the first 90 days. That way we have an opportunity to review, consider, and learn from the actions we have taken. We also consider any changes in the environment, both internally and externally. The environment check and the learnings from actions, combine to inform our next 90-day targets.
In my view Les Brown was slightly excessive when he said, “Review your goals twice every day in order to be focused on achieving them.” but his thinking was in the right place. Stop, think, review, act and repeat.
One of the frustrations of traditional strategic planning is that the plans that are created don't change, whilst the environment they operate in does. This leads to either actions that are ineffective or paralysis. Whilst we don’t like to admit it, our budgets and strategies are often outdated guesses. Please don’t mention this to your CFO unless they’re sitting down, which they usually are.
What you want is a review cycle that is practical and applicable. It should consider real world changes and be reviewed in an organisational culture with a willingness to adapt, be agile, and question. If you have this, you can shift and bend to a dynamic environment to your best advantage. If you don't review you can be wedded to yesterday's solution and become obsolete surprisingly quickly.
The principle here is, keep learning, keep adapting, stay agile and review regularly.
The Animal Kingdom is full of great examples of adaptations that have allowed species to survive in difficult environments. Okapi are strange animals that look like a combination of a giraffe and a zebra. They live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it's very hot and predators, such as leopards, are always lurking. To stay alive, they have infrasonic calls, which allows them to communicate with their calves without predators hearing their call.
Whilst we are unlikely to be eaten by a leopard, our environment maybe no less dangerous to our organisational success. So, our ability to adapt and create characteristics that we need for success is our strategic obligation.
To activate our Strategic Map we need to firstly create milestones, secondly ensure clear ownership, and thirdly review regularly.