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Strategy Management, Alignment & Execution through Collaboration (Social Strategy) – What’s the Business Value?

Let me start with the basics…..What is Leadership? What is Management? What’s the difference.

What is Leadership? A leader sets the vision and direction of the company. Where are we going? Why we are going there? What’s the strategy? Explain and communicate this clearly to all. Inspire the team!!

What is Management? Management is how to get there? How how do we get from Point A to Point B? How do we align & execute the Strategy? What initiatives should we undertake? How do we manage this efficiently and communicate well?

How can they align and support each other to meet the Organization’s Vision, Strategy, Goals & Objectives?

There are numerous frameworks and processes to develop and execute the Strategy – Strategy Plan, Balanced Scorecard, Strategy Map, Strategic Alignment etc. There are many tools to manage this as well.

The end result – a big set of documents, colorful charts/spreadsheets, flashy dashboards etc that are displayed in the intranet for all the employees to view. They are updated may be on a quarterly basis.

How effective is this? Did employees at all levels get a chance to provide input to the strategy development & execution? Can they share ideas and address the challenges? Can they suggest initiatives? Can they ask questions on the strategy? Do they know how their work is directly affecting the strategy? Do they know all the stakeholders who are part of a particular initiative? Can they get a top-down or bottom-up view?

Remember the Knowledge Management tools of the past. Why did they fail? It was focusing more on content rather than the combination of content + people + collaboration.

Can the Strategy Development, Alignment & Execution be Collaborated & Crowd Sourced?

A couple of months ago, I visited my son’s kindergarten class to view some creative work developed by the kids.  There was a big jar filled with pencils on the table and a question by the jar – How many pencils are there in the jar? There was also a small jar with 5 pencils to help visualize the size of 5 pencils. Each kid partnered with one more kid – estimated the number of pencils in the big jar based on this, wrote it on a piece of paper and gave it to the teacher. The teacher then collected all the answers. Result: The collective average answer was 70 and there were 75 pencils in the jar. It was a perfect narrow bell-curve…not bad for Kindergartners.

I was truly amazed by this. The teacher explained to all of us (including the parents) that collaboration and teamwork will always help you to find the right solution and be successful. I saw “Collaboration & Crowd Sourcing” in action and couldn’t believe it this was happening in the Kindergarten class.

Crowd sourcing is so powerful and is the framework that powers the stock market, Google’s prediction market and Iowa’s Electronic market as well.

Why can’t this be applied to the Strategy Development, Execution, Alignment & Communication Process? Yes this can be done through Social Strategy– by collaborating, communicating, interacting and sharing in an enterprise collaboration platform. This will make the entire process more efficient/effective, generate new ideas, be creative & innovative and make employees be part of the strategic goals and objectives and also achieve high employee motivation and satisfaction. End Result: Help Leadership & Management reach meet the goals and reach the destination successfully with the help of their teams at every step.

Following is a simple Social Strategy Management framework/structure to use within the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This also helps in the adoption of the Enterprise Collaboration. (see related post).

  • Develop and manage Vision, Mission, Strategy Goals and Objectives (by area)
  • Develop and manage Initiatives to execute and align with the Strategy goals and objectives
  • Develop and manage Projects that aligns with the initiatives
  • Collaborate, communicate, interact and share on all the above

Business Benefits – Value

  • Efficient & Improved Strategic management process – Strategy development, management, alignment and execution
  • Efficient alignment of Strategy to Projects – Employees can quickly find out projects that are linked to strategy, ask questions, collaborate on ideas/challenges, share knowledge,monitor the updates etc
  • Efficient project management and collaboration – 
    • A project’s success is measured on how well you communicate and collaborate, this framework will help you to achieve that goal.  Project managers can share, communicate and collaborate on all the info related to a project (Summary, business need, business value, strategy alignment, sponsors, team info, stakeholders, status updates via blog posts/tweets, project blogs, RSS feed, work spaces, milestones,  project documents) all in one platform.
    • Reduce project communication/updates via email and file servers.
    • By managing this info in the platform, employees can quickly access and view information on a projects (content), share ideas, see who is part of the project (human element), collaborate on the info (human element + collaboration), subscribe to the project updates via RSS feed, subscribe to the project blog to get the latest updates. The value of managing a project in a collaboration platform is “limitless”.
    • Provide the ability to view the project info from any location, any device etc quickly and easily.
  • Dynamic & automatic strategy mapping – By tagging all the strategies and projects, you can generate a dynamic Strategy map. Employees can visually view the Strategy map, drill-down by business area or projects, see all the projects by tags. This provides a quick and easy way to find all the info. This is the framework that has made Twitter so powerful – “The Hash Tag”.
  • Improve communication, collaboration & interaction – By providing all the info in the platform, management and employees can communicate and collaborate better and will be lead to very transparent environment.
  • Increase in employee awareness of  strategies, goals and projects – This will employees to see quickly how they fit it to the overall strategy? Why their project is so critical for the organization? What value do they create and how does their project create value? Also see how others fit in the strategy as well. This helps improve the awareness across the organization (which is one of the primary goals of an organization as well)
  • Improve employee satisfaction – It provides an opportunity for employees to be part of the strategy development and execution. It also helps them in their career goals and objectives.
  • Find relevant information faster and easier – Finding info on strategy and projects is easy and quick (kind of an internal Google).
  • Share ideas, comments & solutions faster & easily  – All projects will have challenges. By sharing the challenges in the platform, employees can view and share solutions and ideas. A great idea always comes from one more idea.
  • Fosters innovation & creativity to generate new ideas and solutions
  • Drive towards organized communication (rather than in emails and file servers)
  • Eliminate or reduce email communication – strategy, project updates, status reports etc
  • Break-down silos – allows cross-functional collaboration and communication
  • Meet the strategic goals and objectives successfully

At any given point, employees can see the strategy at an organization level or business unit level and drill down to goals, objectives and related projects (top-down). They can also view the projects and see related the goals, objectives and strategies (bottom-up). See who is responsible and all the details at every level. Employees can collaborate, communicate, interact and share on all of this and this helps to meet the overall goals of the organization.

An enterprise collaboration platform is useful and will be adopted fully only if employees can “do” & “get” the work done more efficiently and effectively

Leverage Social Strategy to Collaborate, Interact, Communicate & Share to reach your destination

Appreciate your feedback and comments.

Contact Info

LinkedIn  kchakkarapani@yahoo.com

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