Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand
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Strategic Leadership

2.14 Case: Managers are doing poorly

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Case: Managers aren’t feeling well – Reacting Quickly — 2.14

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It’s time for another blog post! As I’m writing this, I’m sitting here in the Porvoo archipelago. Today I’ll tell you about a fantastic experience with managers I had earlier this week. I was facilitating a normal monthly meeting, which included presentations about a certain company’s situation and several other small presentations. Many polls and two five-minute group work activities were also included. It is a fantastic format! Everyone loves it.

One of the poll questions was, “How are you doing at this moment?”. The results were shocking. A third of all managers commented they were doing poorly, a third felt they were doing ok, and a third felt they were doing pretty well. This was a situation that had to be addressed immediately! One can’t possibly surpass this by saying, “Time heals all wounds” or that “You’ll get over it.” This is why the whole group began to search for an answer to this problem on a quick schedule. Let me show you how this was done!

Managers don’t feel well

Together with the managers, we took part in an online meeting about the company’s business situation. The meeting, however, revealed that there was a great deal of stress and frustration among the managers. Of course, stress can’t be avoided, but this situation was different because people have been mostly isolated from one another. It’s difficult for some, while others enjoy the experience.

Drawing of a digital dashboard surrounded by people sitting in front of different laptops, representing a gathering during an online meeting.

Conversing through a computer is a face-to-face meeting, then there are hand-to-hand meetings, which are physical. I’m totally fine with face-to-face meetings! I belong to a group that enjoys their privacy.

Quick poll for the managers

Something had to be done. Together with the CEO, we were wondering how to react. We realized once again that digital technology is our friend and that we need to create a quick poll about the background issues.

Drawing of a thought bubble with a lightbulb and a drawing of a list with speech bubbles, representing a poll sent to the manager.

We asked a few questions about the teams’ situations: “What is the situation, and what is the core reason for this? What can be done about it?”

No.1: It’s about the workload

The answers were surprising in a way because the pandemic wasn’t number one. After all, it came in third. The issue was more about the workload. It may be that the situation has escalated as the manager has had to manage while people are far away and not near the coffee machine anymore.

Drawing of a thought bubble with a lightbulb and a drawing of a list with speech bubbles, representing a poll sent to the staff.

At first, when people began working remotely, many people reacted with fear of insufficiency and possible layoff. Many people probably worked overtime and too much to ensure their position. Often – before it’s learned – people sit all day in back-to-back meetings and don’t get up from their desk to move around like before in a “physical” working environment. It was clear that something needed to be done about it! A new routine must be learned. Also, many managers have taken on too much work instead of delegating work to someone else.

What to do?

We asked a question: “If this is the situation, what needs to be done in your opinion?”

A drawing of three question marks and four exclamation marks. An arrow pointing from the question marks to the exclamation marks.

All answers were categorized, and it produced nearly 20 suggestions for operations. They were divided into two groups:

1) Cases the manager can execute immediately by themselves.

2) Cases the management needs to do. 

Drawing of a large cluster of light bulbs. The light bulbs are divided into two parts with a blue line.

Once this was done, we held a new 60-minute meeting, asking people to prioritize the ideas. During this digital meeting, prioritizing took place easily by asking people to vote thumbs up on the ideas most important to them.

TOP 5 actions

The result was that people identified the TOP 5 important actions! The whole meeting was over in 55 minutes. With digital communication, everyone can write simultaneously, which leads to fantastic efficiency, enough for a larger group to create a shared priority fast.

Drawing of a podium. Five lightbulbs are located on top of the podium. The light bulbs represent Top 5 actions.

Everyone was involved, and they all got to comment. During the meeting, people also took part in three group assignments, in which everyone got to speak for a minute. The results were documented and included in prioritizing. This was terrific!

One manager concluded that a policy has to be put in place. For others, it’s important to have clear and strict directives. We structured the material together with the same manager and crystallized a four-step program. One of the steps was about the big picture. If a person is suffering and frightened, the significance of the big picture is immense. It creates hope for the future. The other steps were also easily approachable, but I won’t reveal them to you. Every step could be implemented immediately!

The Policy

Drawing of a list with four points. Text: “Our Policy”. This drawing represents communication policy inside of an organization.

The question was about communication. There is a school of thought that all problems derive from leadership: How are the actions decided between people? How to prioritize? One simply can’t do it all. Prioritizing, however, is a difficult skill. It requires a lot of courage to say that this is the most important thing, and the others will just have to wait. It’s about the workload and prioritizing the actions it produces.

A leader said: “Thank you for your insight. This is what we will do during the next month. After that, we will look at the situation again and make new conclusions”.

Drawing of a list with four points and a speech bubble. Text: “Our Policy”. This drawing represents communication policy inside of an organization.

What a way to lead! This is agile leadership. This is the policy for one month, and then it will be looked at again to see if it’s as good in the future as well. Nothing is set in stone! The management team got this message, and this is how they will operate. After a month, we will have a new meeting to follow up on the process.

A four-day process

This whole project took four days. It was a fantastic process with a large number of participants! In four days, one is able to plan and to decide, and implementation begins immediately! WOW! The whole point is to do this together with digital technology and be brave enough to listen and make decisions.

Drawing of a group of cheering people, a hand showing thumbs up and text: “4 days”, emphasizing a workshop process that takes four days to complete.

I like the word policy. Many people need a policy before they have the guts to execute as if now they aren’t responsible. Many of us think that way, but some don’t need any policies. They just go forward and decide for themselves. We are all different, and that’s why it’s also good to create a policy.

This is how a company strategy is ignited! I’m so excited about the fact that even a large group can create something so fast! 

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Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.10 Management’s worries about strategy creation

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Management Worries About Strategy Creation — 1.10

Markus Westerlund

Markus Westerlund

Strategy is my passion! I love to simplify complex work and finally squeeze the strategy on one single page, the Strategy 1Pager.

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Today I will tell you about a great technique, which can help a customer understand that they need help to solve a specific problem. As an example, I use my own field, strategy creation. This blog is not about solutions to the management’s problems, I’m focusing on worries. 

The point is that I use the word worry. I speak about management’s worries about strategy creation. I’ll give examples about focusing on worries and explain how you too can use this technique.  

All leaders come face to face with worries at some point. 

How to create a good strategy?

Drawing of a person with sweat drops flying around the head. Two red questions marks hover nearby. The drawing relates how to create a good strategy.

A CEO understands that a direction needs to be decided. After that, they begin to wonder how it will be handled this time. They might end up with many questions! With the help of my colleagues, we have collected these worries for several years. Now I will show you tens of worries, emphasizing the word worry. 

Difference between worry and need. The customer might have a need, which is the solution to their worry. If my worry is thirst, I need a beer. Beer, in this case, is the solution to thirst. However, if I ask the customer what they need, I’m basically delegating the competence to answer to a person who is not a professional in our field. So, one shouldn’t ask the customer for their needs. Instead, one should listen to their worries and take responsibility for expressing the solution to them. 

The world’s best method in sales is to make the customer’s worries visible to them. Because we have met many customers in the same situation, we can actually articulate the customer’s worries better than themselves. In this situation, the customer understands much better that they indeed should buy from this person, because they won’t be able to find solutions to all their worries alone. 

Strategy creation worries. Text: “Focus, our purpose, involving people, simplicity, customers, what’s bugging us, trends, growth, how to challenge?”

There are a lot of typical upper-level questions. How can I get my company to grow and succeed better than ever? This question can be broken down into a big bundle of worries. 

What about customers? Think: What questions have your customers asked lately? What do they truly want from you? Take notice, that a customer doesn’t know all the new tricks in the business, so they might ask for the old stuff! This is when you should know how to explain that yes, things can be done like that, but that they might be interested in your newest solution. 

What bugs us in our work? How can we work better with a new strategy? What happens on the market? What are the big trends that influence our customers as well? How many people should one involve in the process? How do I involve everyone? How to challenge one’s own way of thinking? What is the big focus that we should have in the next phase? How to simplify things? Let’s break these down. 

Growth? What bugs us? Trends?

Figure about strategy questions. Text: “How to understand what to invest in? How to grow, what are our assumptions of the future? What bugs us, what isn’t working? What is the organization’s time spent on? What’s happening on the market? Which trends affect us and the customers? What is the competition doing, how do we respond?”

How to grow? How to understand what to invest in? How to grow, what are our assumptions about the future? 

What’s bugging us? What isn’t truly working? How to fix it? Where is all of the organization’s time spent on? Why don’t we get more done for the customer? 

Trends? What’s happening on the market? Do we know how to analyze? Which trends influence both us and the customers? What is the competition doing, how do we respond? 

These types of questions may arise. Let’s look at questions about involving people. 

How to involve people on a large scale?

Figure about how to involve people on a large scale. Text: “Are grassroot level views relevant on a strategy level? How to avoid strategy dilution when involving people? Does the process take too long when involving people? Is it too expensive to involve on a larger scale? Does the CEO still have the right to decide?”

Involving? How to involve people? Should it be done on a larger scale? If I involve a group to come and join in, are grassroot views at all relevant on a strategic level? How do we avoid the strategy not being diluted when many are included? How do we avoid consensus thinking and a blunt spearhead? 

Duration? If I involve many people, does the process take too long? Does it take too much time? – No, when you use technology! That’s the whole point. 

Expensive? Is it expensive to involve people on a larger scale? – It’s expensive if you don’t involve them! Does the CEO have the right to decide? – In my opinion, yes. The CEO is the one that makes the ultimate decision. Of course, a good leader listens to others. 

Our Purpose for our customers?

Our purpose for our customers? Drawing of a sun & text: “Why do we exist? What is our vision? Are we only thinking about ourselves and not enough about the customers? Do we understand what the customer truly wants, why are they working with us? What is the root cause why our people work here? What excites them? Do our people consider their work meaningful?”

Our purpose. The upper-level worry is the purpose for our customers. It is something that should be crystallized in the strategy process. And especially from the customer’s perspective! Not selfishly so, as to how we earn more. If we help the customer really well, they will also pay us more. We produce so much more value to them. It creates a win-win situation, which is a fine thing in every way. 

Why do we exist? What is our vision? Are we only thinking about ourselves and not enough about the customers? Are we only thinking about our own numbers, growth, and sealing the deal? 

What does the customer want? Do we understand what the customer truly wants? Do we understand the reason they are working with us? What the customer wants can be a completely different thing compared to what they truly need. Maybe they aren’t even able to express it themselves. 

Meaningfulness? What is the core reason why people work here? What excites our group? What makes this work meaningful to them? The answer to all of these questions is our purpose. The power of words is incredible. Words are the most powerful weapon, even today. If you can crystallize the Purpose to a few words, it has immense meaning to how you are able to get people to join the process. 

Figure with a drawing of five people inside an indigo bubble being burst by a needle & text: “Are we all in a bubble? Are we repeating the same things? Do we know how to question things? Which beliefs about growth are no longer good? Do we dare to challenge? Are we scared of losing face? How to challenge in a positive manner without annoying? How do we work faster? How to create a positive mood after challenging? Digital technology, do we do things the old way?”

All in a bubble? One should always question, whether we are proceeding on the optimal road? In Stradigo, we have begun using the bubble metaphor, which my colleague Veli-Matti came up with.  

Is the entire management in the same bubble? Do we repeat the same mantras? Are we able to question our actions ourselves? We might have certain mantras that are outdated. Which beliefs about growth are no longer good? 

No one knows anything about the future, every crystal ball has been sold out. We, however, need beliefs about the future, and that is what our strategy is based upon. But, have they ever been written down? Are some of them already outdated? 

Do we dare to challenge? It can be a touchy thing if someone no longer believes in our holy mantras. 

Do we lose face? This, my friend, is a tough spot. In a situation like this, a third party might be of interest, because they can ask these questions without having to play the game of organizations. 

How to challenge in a positive way without annoying people? People might lose their temper if someone begins to challenge their core beliefs. With success, we have believed in them for years. 

How do we work faster? Can we do things ten times faster? Impossible, many say. But is it, if you use new technology? 

How do we create a positive mood after we have challenged and ripped things apart? 

Digital technology? What about digital technology? Are we doing things the old way? Do we even know what’s possible? In B2B sales it’s already possible to speak with thousands every week! Instead of meeting five people every week and making a huge amount of missed calls just to reach a customer, can digital technology enable live speaking to thousands every week? It’s the power of express videos. 

Focus

Figure with a drawing of three magnifying glasses and text: “Which tasks must be focus on with enough precision? Do we have the guts to prioritize? Is focusing in fact distressing when narrowing the game field? How do people react when we prioritize differently? How to get the focus concretized in practice? Is the choice of focus appropriate for our culture? Do we have the resources and capability?”

What to focus on? What should be focused on with enough precision to create growth?

Do we have the guts? Do we have the guts to prioritize? Is focusing actually a distress to us because it narrows the playing field? 

Reacting. How do people react, if we prioritize differently? They might think that it’s the same as killing their “baby” if the company goes in a different direction. “What happens to us in this rampage?” Very often one doesn’t want to annoy and frighten people, and a good decision is left unmade in the lack of courage. 

Concretizing. How to concretize focus to an implementing level? It’s nice to talk about high-cloud stuff, but how could one get long enough legs so that concretizing know-how would exist? Is the new suggestion for a focus even compatible with our culture? Is our culture rejecting it? Do we have the resources and the capability? 

These are questions, which pop up in the management’s head as they begin planning how the strategy is done. 

Simplify

Icon of a Strategy 1Pager with the text “Strategy 1Pager”. Bullet points: “How to create a simple enough strategy?”, “Do people know how to concretize the strategy?”, “How do people remember the strategy?”

How do we get a simple enough strategy? If the result is a thick bunch of PowerPoint slides, no one will remember them. The strategy won’t implement, it’s totally useless. 

Do folks know how to concretize the strategy? Have we helped? How does the group even remember what the strategy is? 

As I write this, I am on my 95th Strategy 1Pager. We include the focus areas and the big goals, and of course our purpose, the breakthrough goals. The way we proceed towards the sun. The benefit of a one-page strategy is that it can be easily updated. 

Think, can you crystallize your customer’s worries. In the end, they are all questions. However, worry is a great word, because it involves feelings. It’s not just a fact, it’s also true! 😎 Listen to the customers because they tell you their worries in every sentence. 

When every worry within a situation is combined and presented on one page, the strategy is ignited! People notice that they haven’t realized the number of worries they have. They must all be answered with a solution and we are able to do it. Yeah! 

Ignite your strategy! Read more.🔥

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Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Typical Mistakes

4.03 The Biggest Mistakes in the Strategy Process — Mistake 3

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

The Biggest Mistakes in the Strategy Process — Mistake 3: The Strategy Is Not Implemented | 4.03

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This is the third blog of three to address the biggest mistakes that can happen during a strategy process.  Here I address another cardinal mistake in a strategy process, which happens when the strategy is not implemented.

Text: Mistake 3: Strategy is not implemented.

The error behind this is the fact that people are not involvedThis is visible in the following manner: 

Text: Understanding?

Is it so that people don’t have the understanding of what the idea with the strategy is? They haven’t had the time or the possibility to read, think, and interpret it. The possibility to converse about the strategy is really important. If people are allowed to join in the creation process, you solve this problem practically in one go! 

Text: Are we building obstacles?

If the strategy is not implemented, are we building obstacles against strategy implementation? I have a feeling that we might be doing just that. The way you create your strategy can cause many obstacles that prevent efficient and robust implementation. Stiff structures have been used in the old world, because it gives a sense of control, and because technology hasn’t been previously present that allows for more flexible approaches.  

Drawing of an organizational chart with three levels. The number of boxes per level is 1, 3 and 7.

A hierarchy is a fantastic construction, but it also has its downsides. If the company has a hierarchical organization model, then the most significant decisions must be approved in some meetings with higher-ups. This makes the decision-making process quite slow. This, for example, makes it difficult to react quickly to changing customer needs. The company can lose out on great deals because the decision-making process is too stiff. 

Let’s get rid of the traditional hierarchical pyramid.

get rid of traditional hierarchy

Instead, let’s replace it with this!

A drawing of a group of people and the text: “Think for yourself!”ith three levels. A blue x has been placed on top of the hierarchy, which means a rejection of the hierarchy.

Let’s adopt an organizational model, in which people can really think for themselves. They are allowed to make decisions about things they know most about, and about things they are most competent in. This is a meritocratic approach. A decision can be made whenever necessary. It means that a hybrid is laid on top of the traditional hierarchy model. Work is done in teams and the hierarchy exists, but only in the background. No one has to be scared of crossing some hierarchical line. 

Hybrid!

Drawing of a hybrid organization that has an organizational hierarchy in the background and smaller dynamic teams in front of the hierarchy.

Because of this people end up performing better and take care of their work in a more agile manner. Thanks to this you can achieve quicker decisions in your organization, and as a result, you will ultimately be rewarded with a happier customer, which translates into more revenue. You have increased the efficiency of your organization. 

Please don’t take me the wrong way. Hierarchies are a good thing. In most corporations and organizations hierarchy is wanted. Somebody, after all, needs to be legally responsible for the decisions that are made. But, if all work is done according to a rigid hierarchy, stuff develops and proceeds very slowly. People are also very preoccupied with guarding their little slot of the hierarchy. By applying the hybrid approach, presented above, people will be able to create teams and groups quickly according to whatever requirements are present at any one time. In effect, anyone can talk with anyone else in the organization.  

Sense the customer's worries. React and solve the issue!

A group of people standing on a blue circle. Some of the people are cheering, representing sensing customer’s worries and responding.

In a hybrid world, people sense the customers’ worries, understand them deeply, and react to them by solving the situation the very second they are identified. There is no need to go home and ask for permission to solve the problem the staff member has encountered. Problem-solving without a rubber stamp on location at the moment is permitted and encouraged! 

However, a company’s governance model and ethical rules are in the background. One should certainly follow them. The question is not about people doing whatever they want. A professional is truly allowed to do what they think is necessary and the right thing to do. 

What if someone else notices that the decision is wrong? Then that person intervenes, pulls the other person by the sleeve, and says that this is causing problems. If and when that happens, a better decision is made on the spot! This way everything flows naturally, mistakes are minimized, and the problem gets solved. Everybody wins. 

Dear friend, in summary, we have touched on three big mistakes that an organization can do with the strategy process. 

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Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Typical Mistakes

4.02 The Biggest Mistakes in the Strategy Process — Mistake 2

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

The Biggest Mistakes in the Strategy Process — Mistake No.2 – Leading Is Not Transparent | 4.02

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This is the second blog of three to address the biggest mistakes that can happen during a strategy process.  Here I address another cardinal mistake in a strategy process, which happens when leading is not transparent in the management system.

Text in image: Mistake 2. Leading is not transparent

Giving out responsibilities

Drawing of a person with four arrows going towards four other people. The image represents handing out responsibilities.

Organizations are pretty good in giving out responsibilities and tasks. That’s everyday life. 

Drawing of a person asking four other people “How are you doing?”. The four people are divided into silos.

Then, however, comes the question of which order the implementation projects should happen. The leader asks this question during a meeting, and these poor people must prepare PowerPoint slides hour after hour, until they are fine enough for presentation. In a world like this, information doesn’t travel that quickly. Luckily, nowadays technology enables automatic reporting. 

LOOK AT THE IMAGE BELOW. DON’T DO IT LIKE THAT!

Drawing of a person asking four other people “How are you doing?”. The four people are divided into silos. An indigo X covers the drawing.

INSTEAD… DO IT LIKE THIS! MAKE LEADING TRANSPARENT!

Drawing of two groups of people looking at each other through a transparent screen.

Let’s operate and lead transparently. If someone wants to have a peek at what other teams are up to, they are able to do so! When the big picture is clear, one can focus on the smaller things. If a person needs information on how their neighbor is proceeding with their work, they are able to follow up on the other person’s situation on their own. 

Strategy board

Drawing of five people looking at a strategy dashboard. The board blue columns with cards. Each card has a colored dot, either red, yellow or green.

Practically, this means that every team has its own digital board. The management team has a digital board consisting of the whole strategy. It can be viewed by the management team and other teams. Central focus areas and their goals can be followed with ease on a common digital board. Stop using Excel and move onto lead the common working platform through a digital board. That’s how leading becomes transparent! 

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.09 Goals quarterly

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Quarterly Goals — 2.09

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Today’s topic is about setting quarterly strategic goals. How does it work? This is so very important. We all believe in the power of goals. In big corporations this is very complicated. In smaller businesses the strategic goals go intuitively with the flow: When one goal is completed, it is replaced with the next goal. However, when a company grows to a point where it employs 20-30 people, there comes a need to organize: Who is in charge of what and what is the common direction everyone is heading towards?

Drawing of an organizational chart with three levels. The number of boxes per level is 1, 3 and 7.

Behold, the “thingamajig” which we both love and hate. It’s the hierarchical organization, but a hierarchical organization has many perks. There’s no need to get rid of it. My favorite thing is to add agile teams on top of it, where the groups work as if doing tiny projects, with the hierarchical organization remaining in the background. 

Drawing of a hybrid organization that has an organizational hierarchy in the background and smaller dynamic teams in front of the hierarchy.

I call this a hybrid organization. Teams create goals easily, and they are almost “disposable goals”. Once the goals have been reached, the team is done with work.  

The question is: What is the world’s greatest way to create goals for a background hierarchy? Why is it that many companies are almost obliged to build this kind of hierarchy? 

Goals. How?

Drawing of an organizational chart with three levels. The number of boxes per level is 1, 3 and 7.

Nowadays, it is discussed if self-management could replace a hierarchy. I was invited to comment on a result about self-management composed by a group of scientists. There are many ways to become organized, but this hybrid combination is powerful. A successful pioneer leader once called a completely self-managing organization a “freak ball”. In the Finnish Defense Forces, it’s a term for when everything goes in different directions. He was of the opinion that self-management totally sucked. It’s very difficult if we’re lacking a common ground to build upon.  

Agility is needed, as well as hierarchy, the hybrid. How could we create more efficient goals for the hierarchy? Legislation demands a company to have an accounting period. That’s why goals are set for the next accounting period so that the risk-takers, meaning the owners, know what the company is aiming at and they know what kind of revenue to expect for their investment. 

A pressure to create big goals and make big choices and to pursue them exists. How could one do this better than ever before? Let me introduce a system, where the point is to create goals quarterly. 

Drawing of an organizational chart with three levels. A dart board has been placed on top, representing quarterly goals.

Let’s begin naturally by having one big goal. Investors always say that they work backwards. First, it’s necessary to think about what needs to be done, then it’s time to go back to look at what kind of goals are needed. The big dartboard symbolizes the big goal. Now let’s start going backwards. 

Yearly clock?

Figure of a circle with four sectors, each sector representing a quarter and text: “Yearly clock”. The figure represents strategy update schedule.

Do we do top-down or bottom-up? Both are possible. Is the magic after all in doing both simultaneously like in the hamburger model? I believe that once the big picture has been painted, the departments are asked what they think should be done during the next season. The answers are combined and checked if they are a good enough combination. If not, a new suggestion is requested.  

When people are given the right and the possibility to give their opinion on what a good goal is, it motivates them very much. My good friend Bo Harald said that he would have never had the guts to set as tough goals as his team did.    

Quarterly goals

Figure of a circle with four sectors, each sector representing a quarter beside two drawn people. The figure represents quarterly goals.

This is the yearly clock. In practice, many organizations feel forced to follow the yearly clock: The strategy is created during spring and the operating plan and the budgeting is done in the autumn. After that, goals are set for the next year. 

I have begun to challenge this idea. Is this the most reasonable way? Is it enough that once a year we think about our strategy and create strategic goals? My answer is that its time is over. We need a better and more robust way of working than a mechanic yearly clock like this. 

I know an organization where its CEO says that they create a strategy always when they feel up for it. That’s a nice idea. 

Because it’s so hard to get rid of the yearly clock, what if we did this instead? 

Quarterly strategy checkups

Drawing of a meeting around a large screen, two red arrows, and text: “Q1, Q2”. This drawing represents a quarterly strategy checkup.

Let’s break down the yearly strategy into a quarterly strategy. Let’s make significantly shorter and faster sprints. Every now and then, maybe every third year, it’s worth doing a larger job and analyzing everything more in-depth. Once this is done, quarterly strategy updates can be done and goals for the next quarter can be chosen. This in my opinion is amazing, because it leads to an agile way of operating. Nothing is set in stone! The direction of the company is observed constantly.  

Next goals

Drawing that represents different business units in a hierarchy, that get assigned individual goals.

In practice, it works so that all the quarterly meetings with the management group are scheduled and marked in everyone’s calendars. Then the department leaders prepare for the meeting by asking what should be done next. They bring suggestions for the next quarter’s goals. At the same time, last year’s goals are checked to see if they were achieved or not. What did we learn? How do we succeed even better next time?  

Quarterly checkups are one-day or two half-day online meetings, in which the strategy is gone through. The living digital board has the whole strategy displayed, including the previous and the new upcoming goals. Everyone is able to write on the board simultaneously. This leads to people checking up on the strategy frequently, and, if the strategy needs changing, it’s noticed faster. 

Agile goals

many bulls-eye goals

Then, in practice, the department leader makes a suggestion for the next goals. They are discussed with the CEO and their colleagues, whether or not they’re relevant. At the same time, the entirety is checked to see if the big goals are still relevant and reasonable, or if they need a fix-up. Fix-ups are done often, and what’s better than that! 

Following up on the strategy

Once the meeting is at an end, the management group has commented on the most important goals – those that truly steer the boat. Operative goals won’t necessarily be quarterly goals, because they can be updated and fixed inside the departments. The focus is on the bigger strategic goals, the levers that move big stones out of our way.  

After the meeting, the management group meets with its team to discuss how the big goals are broken down into smaller issues. They have discussed this already previously, now they are merely doing check-ups to clarify everyone’s on the same page. In the end, everyone needs to know their job and goals that need to be accomplished. 

This creates a hierarchy of goals, but I think it’s a good thing. Especially if it’s treated in a manner that they can live and change in the process. When a goal is reached, the next most important thing is brought up to be looked at. Strong prioritizing and challenging, sprint thoughts! 

Representation of the Strategy 1Pager as an icon. It contains a sector, and a blue arrow that is moving inside the sector towards a sun.

Strategy on one page

I strongly believe that the core strategy should be written down on one piece of paper, the Strategy 1Pager. The strategy is actually the cornerstones of the sectors, it determines the direction. Then, everyone can define how to sail forward every day. Strategy = HOW. 

Quarterly strategic goals live constantly within the direction the company is headed to. The direction is steered by the sun, our Purpose: What is the goodness we bring to our customers and to the universe? The numbers are the result of the purpose, not the other way around. First, you need the purpose. That is what produces the numbers. I believe this creates a better win-win-win situation. Everyone earns more money: the customer – company – individual. 

The question is how to steer ourselves optimally towards the sun. This is like a sailing boat, which constantly needs to be aware of the direction of the wind. That’s the job of an agile organization.  

Drawing of a circle divided into four quarters beside a group of five people. The five people are cheering.

Conclusion: Make people take a pit stop quarterly. In small businesses the goals are checked up weekly or monthly. If you’re working in a bigger company, operate at least one every quarter. 

Strategy board

Drawing of five people looking at a strategy dashboard. The board blue columns with cards. Each card has a colored dot, either red, yellow or green.

Use the strategy board! The strategy board is where you list all the focus areas and their biggest breakthrough goals. This is very important. These Trello cards are updated monthly in every management group meeting. Do check-ups of how the job proceeds. In its weekly operation, the management group follows up on the implementation of the sub-goals. Are things proceeding, or aren’t they? 

Figure of a circle with four sectors, each sector representing a quarter beside two drawn people. The figure represents quarterly goals.

This quarterly goal idea is absolutely solid! I truly recommend it if you happen to have a bigger-than-average organization. Even if you had a group of ten people, the strategic goals are good to be listed on a digital strategy board. It’s solid! That’s how you won’t even notice the strategy has changed because it happens naturally. The gap between the strategy and operative tasks has closed. 

This is how you IGNITE YOUR STRATEGY! Read more.🔥 

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.08 Cultural Differences of Swe-Fin

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Cultural Differences Between Finland and Sweden — 2.08

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Even if your business has no connections to Sweden or Finland, it’s very useful to understand the cultural differences between both countries if you wish to understand more about the Nordics. Swedish people excel in certain things, which might be worth imitating to a certain extent over where you are. Let’s look at the cultural differences between Finland and Sweden.

I used to live in Sweden when I worked at Nokia. At the time, I also got to know Anita Ekwall, who is as of this moment still active in the professional space. She can be considered a veteran of her field of expertise. She was the one who introduced me to the cultural differences between Sweden and Finland.

It’s surprising how often things go wrong just because people in Sweden and Finland don’t understand each other. Globally, we share a lot of similarities in the culture with the Swedes, yet it is very surprising how many cultural differences we have on top of the similarities despite being neighbors.

1. Planning

Figure that describes the cultural differences between Sweden and Finland in planning in the form of a simple comparison table.

When we’re talking about cultural differences between Finland and Sweden, one worth mentioning is planning. Swedish people love planning and, in particular, participating in the planning process. Swedes love to work in groups and to share responsibility together as a group. In Finland, we want action and spontaneity. 

In Sweden, the boss has co-workers, medarbetare. The Swedish co-workers are very friendly and fearless towards bosses. In Finland, everyone knows who’s boss. Finns love individual responsibility, while the Swedes love group responsibility. 

The way Swedish people discuss during meetings seems far removed from how we Finns do things. We Finns don’t want to invest the time that is needed for long discussions. Swedes want to discuss until everyone understands why something needs to be done. Finns, however, want action. And they want to do things quickly. A Swede will try to avoid conflicts until the very end when a Finn will take the bull by the horns as quickly as possible and get it over with. 

These cultural differences between Finland and Sweden are pretty big, surprisingly big for many of us. When we act together, Swedish people should understand our customs and Finns should understand theirs. Neither of us can change completely because of our personal background, culture, personal history, etc. We can however respect and understand one another, where we come from, and not get offended if things do not quite go the way we by nature expect things to go. If we can learn from each other, our business can take flight in situations where there are co-workers from both cultures within the same organization.

2. Decisions

Figure that describes the cultural differences between Sweden and Finland in decisions in the form of a simple comparison table.

In Sweden, a decision is made by reaching a consensus. In Finland, the boss gets to decide. The Swedish approach also can be criticized. The Boss might know immediately what they want, but they won’t go and tell everyone. The boss first collects their group and becomes insured that everyone understands why a decision must be made and why the direction is what it is. Then the boss listens to the others and gathers information, which might improve the decision. It goes without saying that not everyone in Sweden is of the same opinion, but they accept the decision when they know the background. And (surprise surprise) everyone gets down to business immediately when consensus has been reached and the go-ahead is given by the boss.  

Finns are impatient and can’t stand to discuss, we want a decision. Our problem is that if people have not been heard, they become irritated and implementation won’t happen, even if the decision was made quickly. In fact, I believe that the Swedish way is often faster. In Sweden, implementation happens immediately, when in Finland it’s inadequate. The Swedish leadership model would be a great supplement to the Finnish approach. 

To be precise, Finland has changed a lot in the past ten years. We have learned to listen, to share our backgrounds transparently, and to make decisions together. Many organizations ask the whole group to set their goals, instead of proceeding top-down. The result is much better this way. Many people would never have the guts to set goals as high as one can with a bottom-up approach. 

In Sweden, it is, however, important to follow the hierarchy. It’s surprising, considering that they are all such co-workers. A Swedish boss might get frustrated if someone surpasses them. In Finland it’s not so dangerous, so let them! The main thing is that everything works.  

Of course, Swedes want results and they will get them.  

According to Anita Ekwall, Finns are visionaries as individuals. Design runs deep in our culture. I don’t know if I completely agree, because I believe the same applies to the Swedes. Maybe there’s a difference in nuance. People understand things differently, even if they use the same words. 

3. Operation

Figure that describes the cultural differences between Sweden and Finland in operations in the form of a simple comparison table.

Many misunderstandings happen in our everyday lives as we work together. First of all, our relationship with time is different between us. From a Swedish perspective, time equals quality. This can, of course, be true. In Finland, however, efficiency is important, and that is why decisions are made quickly. 

If a change of plan happens in Sweden, it’s a big thing. In Finland, people are flexible. If a decision is wrong, it is changed. In our minds, this is efficient. It’s an agile culture.  

Swedes need time to anticipate what’s going to happen next. This is why Swedes reserve time in the calendar long in advance, in a way that may seem almost ridiculous from a Finnish perspective. Why can’t things take place faster? Cultural differences.  

During my time in Sweden, I learned that if you, on a Wednesday, invite your neighbor for a barbeque and beer on Friday, you might subtly be insulting the Swede. This is because you are, in fact, expecting your neighbor to be free on Friday as if they would have a lousy social life. Of course, the neighbor will come. But they will first let you know that they need to rearrange their calendar. It would be advisable to give them a two week’s notice. Then it’s not embarrassing to have an empty calendar. 

Framförhållning, meaning anticipation, is longer in Sweden. We’re flexible. We have a one-hour warmup, just enough time for the sauna to heat up! It’s funny that it always takes an hour for a Finnish crowd to warm up. We approach new situations by observing. In Sweden, situations are always approached through discussion. It’s funny to us Finns because Swedes are very friendly from the beginning. To a Finn, however, it might feel like they would have known the person for 10 years. It might dawn on the Finn that this indeed was not the case.  

Everything is very informal in Sweden. Differences in hierarchy are frowned upon, whereas we Finns prefer formality. The thing that bugs me is that company hierarchies are somewhat concealed in Sweden, even though they very much exist. 

Also, Swedish people don’t do well if a situation is unsafe. In Finland, operation continues even if there is a lack of safety. Finland did experience a World War, while the last time Sweden was actively involved in a war was at the beginning of the 19th century. These differences in experience have undoubtedly had an effect on both countries and the people in them. 

4. Being social

Figure that describes the cultural differences between Sweden and Finland in being social in the form of a simple comparison table.

But there are even more differences that matter. The last category of cultural differences between Finland and Sweden is about social encounters. For example, a Swede wants to be like the rest, a Finn doesn’t want to be a part of the mass. For example, if you ask a Swedish person about what typical Swedishness is, they will find it difficult to answer clearly. Again, if you ask a Finn the same type of question, it may not take that long for the Finn to shout out something along the lines of… Sauna, Sibelius and Sisu. This is a hallmark of a younger nation. Things are way more pronounced. Sweden, on the other hand, is a much older nation, it has even been a superpower back in the day. A great nation with a great history with many great achievements. Things just appear different from this type of perspective.   

Finns are generally very aware of their identity, and naturally, it also means that the club of Finnishness has gotten a spirit of exclusivity around in the minds of many people. It’s emphasized and promoted passively in different situations. There are naturally always exceptions to everything. These are not natural laws after all.  

When a person from a stronger Finnish background goes abroad, they may appear insecure, because the environment is new. While at home there is a ton of confidence, on the other hand. It seems to be the reverse among people with a stronger Swedish background. Things are much more low-key at home, while there is a lot of confidence while abroad. This confidence means it is very easy to start a conversation, which inevitably leads to very profitable export agreements. Finnish society could benefit from having a bit more Swedish flair in its international dealings.  

Involve everyone

Perhaps it’s time to make some conclusions, and pull all of this together into a summary, of sorts. Let’s involve everyone so that they all understand why something needs to be done. This is what we do at Stradigo. While working with clients we involve everyone in the strategy process with digital technology and by crystallizing the strategy together. As far as I’m aware, this technique has not been mastered by the competition in Sweden, so there is a window of opportunity of sorts, for the time being. 

Understanding

Drawing of two people. One person wears the colors of the Swedish flag and the other person wears the colors of the Finnish flag.

No one can change their background. So, let’s be safe and proud of who we are! That being said, we can, however, benchmark a bit and see if we can adapt good practices from elsewhere, Sweden in this case. Language barriers naturally play a significant role in this, while English cannot bridge this gap fully. To truly bridge the cultural and knowledge gap one would need to have insights into the native tongues, at least if one desires to make a deep dive and get the gold that lays on the bottom of the cultural swimming pool. 

These are the cultural differences between Finland and Sweden. Hope you found this blog informative!

Let’s increase our common understanding, speak languages, adapt and learn from each other, and let’s not be too stiff in our operations! Read more.🔥

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Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Planning

1.15 Unit strategic key questions

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Case: What are our business unit’s strategic key questions? — 1.15

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As I write this, I want to share an experience with you. With several companies, I have worked with the question: “What are our business unit’s strategic key questions?”

This question has given me so intense experiences that I simply had to record a video about it, and now this video has been turned into a blog text!

A company has a strategy, and it must be visible in the units. There are business leaders who belong to a school of thought that a company must not have sub-strategies but only one strategy. I belong to this same school of thought. Typically, it’s very common for a company several different strategies; a marketing strategy, a sales strategy, an IT strategy, a staff strategy, etc. The downside is that they can dilute the business-wide upper-level strategy.

Text: “Company strategy, unit’s alternative”. A blue arrow goes from company strategy to unit’s alternative.

It’s a more considerable risk that the other strategies will go all over the place. The workaround is to have one strategy, which is possible by converting the various sub-strategies into focus areas, which then get placed under the primary strategy.  

Let’s look at how these alternatives are created. 

Customers' key strategic questions

Let’s approach this from a customer-oriented perspective as if wearing the customer’s glasses! What are the crucial key strategic questions, which the customers ask you? They are usually something like the following: 

Drawing of a man sweating. Text: “Customer’s key questions”; “How are you going to solve our crucial problem?”

The definition of work is to solve other people’s problems. Compensation is the reward! Let me show the logic in this. 

Top down + bottom up

The point is to go both top-down and bottom-up. If you would wear your customer’s glasses, what is the Ultimate One Customer Core Question, in which the customer needs your help? This is solved together with the unit key persons. The number one question breaks down into three key strategic questions. 

What is the challenge in which the customer needs us? Crystallize this into three key questions! 

Once you figure these out with your unit, you will get a helicopter view of your process. 

Flowchart describing how customer view process leads to key strategic questions, focus areas, goals for the next quarter and actions.

Every answer from each question is divided into two boxes. What is the market’s strategic rationale? WHY is this question important for the customer? The other box will be filled with answers about WHAT your response is to this question. Both boxes will have about 7-10 bullet points. Every question has its own page. 

All three key questions also get their own separate workshop. With efficiency, one workshop is done in less than two hours. With these three short meetings, the whole project is completed in a very short time. During the final meeting, the responses are crystallized into focus areas and the tasks needed to make them happen. 

A helicopter view over the business unit’s work

Can you see the thin blue (indigo) vertical line going through the “Next Quarter Goals” -box in the above image? Everything on its left side is the helicopter view over the process. I began yesterday’s meeting by saying, “Now I’ll be taking you on a refreshing helicopter ride!”  This helicopter ride will give an upper-level perspective to the unit’s work. 

I’ve mentioned my motto, which is: “Head in the clouds, but with really long legs.” 

If one looks at the operation from above, it looks different than from a grassroots level. Grassroots perspective is critical as well; we need it! However, it’s the central part of every work. The question is: If one jumps on a helicopter ride and invests these few hours in it, does it produce different kinds of goals than with a bottom-up method? – OF COURSE, IT DOES! 

Multi-level goals

In general, there are multi-level goals. There are yearly goals – like, closing the books each year (accounting)I have also talked a lot about units and businesses having quarterly goals because yearly goals are too high-level. People tend to implement the quarterly goals much more quickly. 

3 levels of arrows representing a different types of goals. Quarter goals, Annual Goals and Strategic Response. Text: “Different level goals”

This exercise is all about the long blue curve, the strategic responses. Of course, the financing unit in yesterday’s case has implemented this curve for a long time. It is now only made visible! They have implemented strategic responses but haven’t necessarily documented them. When they are documented, everything begins to look different! 

Facilitation — The Golden Grain

Let me share with you one more pride, which is also the gold grain of facilitation. As people sit in a meeting, an online meeting, for example, they all look at the screen. Every key question has been provided its own slide with two boxes filled with bullet points. The first box is filled with reasons WHY the customers want this thing. What is the market suction? The second box is filled with WHAT the company’s response is to the need. 

The gold grain of facilitation is when others speak, you transcribe it into text in front of them. This requires practice; I have practiced for years. It’s quite challenging, but when you get the hang of it, people begin thinking freely. They constantly see the summary of the conversation, and it leads to iteration and a better outcome. 

Drawing of different people attending a workshop. Text: “Gold grain of facilitation”; “Why?”; “What?”; “They speak – you transcribe it in front of them”

This is actually the climax of the strategy consultation. Even if the meeting language is Finnish, everything is written down in the internationally recognized corporate language, English. Crystallizing and simultaneously editing thoughts is a talent. But, when the meeting ends, it’s a wrap! It leads to a better quality of thinking. In an expert job like this, the difference between poor and better performance can be like the difference between one and one thousand. If you dig with a shovel, the difference can be double by that much. 

Example

Here’s a hypothetical for you to think about. Let’s say you want to organize a party and hire a band to entertain the guests. You decide that classical music is the way and a string quartet is what you need. But you also want the band to perform something new… So you need a new composition! The question… Do you order a new composition from Mozart or Mr. Smith? What’s the difference in quality? Of course, Mr. Smith is the one you go with because Mozart is no longer among us! 

The gold grain of facilitation is the fact that the conversation is visible on the screen. Give me a call, and I’ll show you what it’s like in practice! 

Helicopter view

Let’s return once more to the subject of the helicopter view. If the helicopter perspective is in use and a few hours are invested in it, are the goals it produces better and different as if one would only operate on a ground level with one’s hands in the mud? OF COURSE. 

Drawing of a dart board and a helicopter. Text: “If we utilize the helicopter view, will it produce new better goals?”; “Of course!”

That’s what happened in yesterday’s process as well. People were delighted. It was refreshing to be on the upper level, not only in the operative everyday life. This is very exciting! 

What was the feedback?

Here are a few comments from yesterday’s meeting: 

what did people have to say? comments in finnish and english

“Todella tehokas tapa koostaa ja käsitellä melko suuria kokonaisuuksia.” – A very efficient way to compose and deal with the big picture    

“Great linkage through iterative structured way of working together.”  

“Kirkasti tavoitteita hyvin, tykkäsin prosessista. Saatiin hyviä ylätason tavoitteita, joihin hyvä linkittää alempien tasojen actioneita.”  – Clarified the goals well, I liked the process. We got good upper-level goals and good actions to link underneath them. 

Hyvää keskustelua josta päästiin myös ihan konkreettiseen alemman tason tekemiseen kiinni” – A good conversation from where we got down to lower-level activities. 

“Erittäin hyvää keskustelua, jonka Markus tiivisti tehokkaasti. Konkreettisten toimenpiteiden osalta painottaisin vielä perusprosessien kehittämistä. Siinä riittää paljon työtä.” – Very good conversation, which Markus crystallized efficiently. Regarding the concrete actions, I would emphasize the development of basic processes more. There’s a lot of work to do in just that.” 

“Hyvä fokus asioihin ja tarpeisiin.” – A good focus on matters and needs.

“Great discussion followed by conclusions. We need to keep this alive and updated.”  

I always tell the management team members that I’m so tired of the comment “Good conversation”. Conversing is important, but the outcome is very important and it’s often absent from the conversation. 

Final Check

Once you have the strategic responses to the customers’ questions and the market situation, it’s time for the final check. 

Drawing of a Strategy 1Pager. Text: “Final Check”; “Company strategy sector”; “Unit’s alternative”; “Strategy 1Pager”

The point is to check that you are inside the boundaries set by the company’s strategy, within the lines of the sector. The blue arrow is the strategic response! 

Ignite your strategy by answering crucial strategic key questions! Read more.🔥 

Finding Us On Social Media

Stradigo

Stradigo is a brand owned by Rdigo Oy (Business-ID: 2120844-1).

Learn more from our Imprint.

Rdigo Oy is registered in Finland as a Limited company. We are a strategy consultancy located in the Helsinki capital region.

We’ve been in business since 2007. The company name comes from the latin word Redigo, meaning both ‘I shape’ & ‘I renew’.

Stradigo combines the word strategy with Rdigo.

Categories
Strategic Leadership

2.07 Agile Strategy

Stradigo, An Rdigo Brand

Agile Strategy — 2.07

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Many strategies feel stiff and high-flying, like they are soaring above the cloudsa bit like if they are something an ordinary person doesn’t need to worry about. This is not how things need to be! Take a look at this. It doesn’t have to be the case!  A strategy can be agile!

Text: “What makes a strategy agile?”

What makes the strategy agile? Let’s think! Is it the fact that the strategy is altered and updated constantly? – Unfortunately, no. The strategy becomes agile when it’s on people’s minds and they live & breathe it and they update it. 

Text: “The fact that it’s alive and on people’s minds.”

Usually, the problem is that the word strategy is not understood. Here is a simplified explanation for what strategy means. Strategy means how the company fulfills its purpose.

Text: “Strategy = HOW”

Strategy has become a difficult word to understand over the years, therefore it must be demystified. We can make the strategy truly exciting and also simple to understand. When this takes place the strategy can be understood, which means it can be implemented, which means that it becomes agile. 

Strategy between the ears

Drawing of a human head with mess inside the head represented by a red line. Text: “Strategy between the ears”

An entrepreneur starting a company has the strategy between their ears. They don’t even notice when they update the strategy. After a while, they may come face-to-face with some situation, which causes the strategy to become confused. Their mind becomes a mess, and since the strategy exists only in their head, it too becomes a mess. The company is suddenly in trouble. The more people are employed by the company, the bigger the problem is. 

Too many directions

Drawing of a five people and an icon of many red arrows going in different directions. Text: “Too many directions”

Focus

In a company with tens or hundreds of people, the lack of focus starts to show. Too many directions easily are discovered. In this case, the CEO or founder no longer controls the situation. There comes a time when the CEO realizes something needs to be written down. 

Drawing of two heads, one has a mess inside the head and the other has a clear structure. An arrow points from the mess towards clear structure.

Yearly clock

Let’s think about the yearly clock for a bit. This is the annual schedule when things take place inside companies. From a certain perspective, the yearly clock is a sad thing to have to deal with. Bigger companies have considered the yearly clock to be nearly essential for successfully running everything. The strategy is created in the spring, operation and budget planning happen in the fall. It repeats again the next year. Since corporate legal entities are typically required to do accounting, and hand in the books at the end of the accounting period, which usually is at the end of the year, then it becomes really tempting to set up a schedule that goes hand in hand with it. That’s the yearly clock in a nutshell. Next year’s goals must be planned and the dividends paid yearly to the owners if there is an opportunity for it. Therefore, it’s understandable to use the yearly clock also when strategy updating takes place.  

Figure of a circle with four sectors, each sector representing a quarter and text: “Yearly clock”. The figure represents strategy update schedule.

It’s possible to challenge the springtime strategy hassle. It’s worth taking the time to think if the yearly clock is the smartest way to do things. Likewise, many people associate the word strategy with thick slide decks consisting of multiple presentation slides. Many people hate the amount of work that needs to be put into keeping these slides up-to-date and constructing new ones. It’s a huge amount of work.  

Here’s how working with thick slide decks typically goes: Take the last year’s slides and alter them slightly. After that, the management team sits cross-eyed over many workshops. In the end, they get excited when a new update and a new core are discovered. After that, a big briefing is held, during which the new strategy is presented and everyone is confused why people don’t begin implementing it and the strategy doesn’t become concrete. 

This begs the question, is there a better way to go about this? Well… of course there is!  

Strategy checkups quarterly

Start doing quarterly strategy checkups. In practice, this means, that a day or a two-day meeting is held once every quarter. The first thing is to look back and see if the goals of the previous quarter were achieved. The next step is to define the relevant goals, which should be included in the next quarter. This way proceeding happens in sprints and the strategy is looked at several times a year. It concretizes into quarterly goals. Th