Balancing strategy and adaptability

Redefining value potential

When transforming a business, the ultimate purpose is to sometimes, radically redefine how the business creates value in order to generate greater value. This can be done in different ways depending on the situation, needs and goals of the business. It is now more important than ever to understand your changing environment and to realize that you need to drive your change continuously since the world changes so quickly and unpredictably. We must balance a set direction with adaptability.

At Influence, one of the fields we are specialized in is how to implement strategy and transformations with a strategic execution-approach. We call it Stratecution, and it can be applied to any kind of change, for large transformations as well as smaller initiatives.

Iterative approach to strategic transformation, balancing set direction with adaptability, relies on 4 cornerstones: understanding why, setting up for success across 2 horizons, mobilizing for change in 2 layers, and executing and navigating while adapting. Goal is to unlock greater value by adopting change as part of the organization's DNA.

Understand the why – throughout the organization

To successfully change strategic direction, one must understand why the change is necessary. How can we create and capture more value? What is the fundamental problem to be solved? Where is the technology evolving? How does the strategy align with the current vision and culture? How do we leverage our existing capabilities? How does the change help us build for the future? Without setting the strategic transformation in context any effort to set a new strategic direction is pointless. Our experience shows that the most successful change programs ensure a deeper internalization of the transformation’s meaning, purpose and goals, throughout all layers of the organization, leveraging collective intelligence.

Set up for success – across two horizons

When you prepare for change, also in a limited, specific initiative, you must think above and beyond the scope in parallel with the project. We must realize that the results of the project must continue to develop even after going live. It’s a saying that “change is constant” but still, few plan and build capabilities for constant change. The challenge is to patiently build and train an adaptable organization with adaptable people. In order to really set up for success, the organization needs to work both systematically with change management as a method as well as making it a part of the overall operational strategy.

Mobilize for change – in two layers

At Influence, we often talk about mobilizing the organization in two layers. Within official structures but as important in the minds of the individuals of the organization. There are several important factors when mobilizing, such as preparing the change organization, setting up a guiding coalition, and identifying all the formal and informal constellations of people the change may affect. Our research in collaboration with the Stockholm School of Economics shows that identifying and developing the Collective Intelligence of these microsystems has a great effect on the success of the transformation.

Execute and navigate – adapting your implementation to reality

The last cornerstone aims to execute the change in the two layers of the organization, within official structures and in the minds of the individuals of the organization. When undergoing this step, things tend to get chaotic, and the change often diverges from the initial plan. Since change management is a journey of discovery in a changing environment, we need to ensure that we lead the implementation in such a way that we can adjust the course continuously. And finally, what we always remind ourselves of is that the key is to understand that all transformation ultimately comes down to affecting and changing human behaviors.

The constant loop of strategic transformation

The most important part of the Stratecution approach is the continuous loop, where all steps are performed iteratively. By seeing transformational change as something evolving and constantly ongoing, greater value can be unlocked as the organization adopts change as a part of its DNA.

If you want a deeper introduction to some of the key concepts in this series, please see our formula for realizing your strategy. In this series of insights, we are going to explore how to drive strategic change and what the keys are to be successful. This first part of the series will give a brief introduction to what Stratecution is.

"Are you thinking about how our research around Collective Intelligence and the Stratecution approach can help your ongoing change initiative?"