As a leader or executive, you already know the importance of an effective strategy. When done right, it can be a guiding force to drive growth and success while deepening your organization's values and mission. But what if there was something even more powerful than the traditional strategy? Something that went beyond just the planning process with numbers on paper and instead connected people for collective progress, purposeful direction, and innovation? That "something" is called a Living Strategy: A framework that uses perspective, direction, community, and culture to unite individuals around shared goals with purpose-directed approaches— all designed to elevate performance and improve organizational change efforts. Understanding how these attributes are complementary yet critically important pieces of your Living Strategy can provide strong leadership from within and useful guidance for growth opportunities outside your team's comfort zone.
What is a Living Strategy and Why it Matters for Organizations Today
In the fast-paced environment of today's organizations, strategy is far more than just an idea; it's a Living entity. Developing a Living Strategy ensures that the strategy remains dynamic and able to adapt to changes in its environment as well as progress over time. Not only does this strategy approach work better for helping businesses achieve their goals, but it is proven to reduce the amount of time and resources needed for strategy execution when compared to traditional strategy definitions. By leveraging a Living Strategy, organizations can experience greater success within their industry and marketplace.
Establishing Perspective & Direction
The first part of creating a Living Strategy is gaining perspective and setting direction. Survey and industry insights provide an essential foundation for establishing perspective and direction. Through thorough research, you can better understand your customer's needs and the trends emerging in our industry, enabling you to set a mission, vision, and culture commitments that will help you drive progress. With this awareness of market feasibility, customer preferences, and competitive advantage, you can create unique paths for growth that tap into your strengths. Leveraging insights from surveys, industry, and past experiences position you for success.
Creating an Engaging Community to Foster Growth & Innovation
The second part of creating a Living Strategy is cultivating collaborative leadership communities for learning. Developing strong leadership and equipping team members with the right tools cultivates an engaging community leading to growth and innovation. Through strategic thinking and acting, you can positively influence the community by developing relationships and allocating resources based on agreed-upon strategic priorities. This process should be consultative, as all community members should have a chance to contribute input on what is essential and why. By working together towards a common goal, you can provide meaningful experiences that drive relevance and progress, allowing you to push boundaries further than you ever imagined.
Building the Right Culture to Enable Your Business Goals
The third part of creating a Living Strategy is crafting cultural norms to execute and achieve outcomes. Building a healthy, flourishing culture that helps you achieve your business goals is paramount to success. Establishing 1-year goals and 90-day deliverables is a crucial part of this process: mapping out what you want to achieve over the long term, then breaking those targets into achievable mini-goals week-by-week, month-by-month, and quarter-by-quarter, the team has something to work towards in an agile, iterative fashion. With this tailored approach, effective communication and healthy feedback loops become essential components; take the time to nurture an environment of open dialogue so that everyone can feel confident in pitching their ideas and helping each other strive for better results. Together with a strong vision and focus, there's no limit to what can be achieved!
Analyzing & Measuring Your Progress Towards Achieving Objectives
The fourth part of creating a Living Strategy is establishing and assessing success indicators and measures. When it comes to analyzing and measuring progress toward achieving objectives, metrics that matter are key. Data gives stakeholders insight into a strategy's effectiveness, so its importance cannot be overstated. But equally important is to celebrate success as you achieve milestones. Celebrating those wins helps foster a sense of community among those involved and encourages further success toward completing the project. Metrics may need to be revised as the team meets goals and achieve more modest victories, so it's essential to plan and pay attention to the various progress indicators. With data-informing decisions and celebratory moments providing motivation, it's much easier to visualize the work necessary to reach your final goal.
Tips for Assessing & Adjusting Your Living Strategy
When assessing and making adjustments to your Living Strategy, a great place to start is Pulse Surveys and Insights. Getting feedback on how you're doing against your goals will help you understand the necessary changes. Responsive Goal Planning helps define essential changes to build a road map to hit those goals. Reprioritizing isn't always easy, but it can be beneficial when approaching long-term objectives. Don't hesitate to incorporate change in your Living Strategy. Doing so is often the difference between success and stagnation.
Are You Ready?
The concept of a Living Strategy is compelling and relevant to the success of businesses today. It provides focus by establishing perspective and direction and preserves agility by creating an engaging community that encourages growth and innovation while building the right culture within your organization to meet your business goals. When put together as part of a Living strategy, all these components allow organizations to assess and measure their progress and adjust their approach if results are not what you expect. Having a plan in place that can adapt and evolve with changing times is crucial in meeting strategic objectives.
At Kairos Insights, we specialize in developing tailored Living strategies for our clients to help them thrive in a competitive market. We invite you to take advantage of our expertise; reach out today to see how we can help you create your Living Strategy tailored to the needs of your business. Kairos Insights is here, ready to help.
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About the Author
Kristy L. Farewell is the Managing Partner and founder of Kairos Insights, a consultancy with expertise in strategy, coaching, culture, and change. Kristy's consulting and coaching approach integrates 20+ years of experience with a laser focus on service to the individual and organization. She has experience working with national and global leaders across financial services, professional services, healthcare, academia, and academic healthcare industries.