Why your strategy should not be written in stone

The world today is rapidly changing and is more complex than ever. Your strategy must enable your organization to navigate in this context, with responsiveness to signals in the environment without losing sight of the long-term vision.

Re-calibrate and re-prioritize to ensure ability to navigate in a world of rapid change

Strategy looping as a process is about improving the way we constantly work with strategic planning and execution in organizations in an iterative way. Strategic planning should be conducted more than once per year. Organizations that work with continuous strategic planning revisit the strategy on a regular basis to ensure adaptability to a changing world and operational and strategic alignment. Many organizations find that quarterly revisions give a good balance between predictability and agility. It allows the organization to re-calibrate and re-prioritize following the ever-changing business environment.

Strategy execution requires ownership and supporting institutions

We believe in creating ownership of the whole strategy process: planning, executing, and then learning from the strategy. This ownership can then be supported by functions such as a PMO (project management office) or an academy or educational entity. Sometimes it is not just about setting up the PMO but clarifying the role and responsibility to the rest of the organization. This is something we did for a Swedish insurance company which made the strategy process more efficient. With these supporting institutions, we can ensure that the organization is better at balancing short-term operations with long-term strategic initiatives. An organization that can act now and can build for the future.

Strategic planning is best embedded within the organization when it is co-created

It is important to do rigorous and frequent strategic planning since there often is a discrepancy between strategy and actual execution. To succeed with strategic planning, top-down directives and visions must be embedded within the organization and people feel empowered by them. It is important that the strategy conversation is not kept within the boardroom walls but happens on all levels within the organization. This makes the strategy come to life and become flexible over time. Creating strategy together where everyone can contribute through frameworks such as OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a method that we have found successful in the past to create embedded strategic planning within the organization. This is something that we did with a large governmental organization in staffing and recruiting where we developed their strategic planning for the next three years.

Be aware of and challenge the strategic direction and plan 

Individuals and teams affect the strategic direction of the organization continuously through the actions they perform. This is natural and since the strategic direction might shift it is important to create a growth mindset and a learning culture within the organization to keep the strategic direction on its course. The capabilities that we need as we progress are developed in a double loop where we question both what we are doing and how we are doing it.