Empowering Our Services Part 4: Aligning Your Strategy
Strategy is an often-overused word. Everyone has a strategy. Everyone is building their strategy and having strategy days to bring together the team to work out what are the key priorities and how they are going to achieve them. But before we start planning, we need to ensure that our strategy is taking us in the right direction. Is it really helping us to achieve our vision, and build the customer experiences that we have designed and tested?
Our STRATEGY is linked to our INVESTMENT and connected to our VISION aligning our goals
Strategy is an often overused word. Everyone has a strategy. Everyone is building their strategy and having strategy days to bring together the team to work out what are the key priorities and how they are going to achieve them. These days are critical; they help build and align teams around a common mission and provide accountability and buy-in. They have a purpose. But before we start planning, we need to ensure that our strategy is taking us in the right direction. Is it really helping us to achieve our vision, and build the customer experiences that we have designed and tested?
We need to start from the top. We need to have our vision as our anchor. What are we trying to achieve, and in what timeframe? As we have said before, this needs to be our anchor – our purpose that leads into our vision that provides our employees with a connection back to what we do.
Following this, we need to understand the experiences that we want to create. What is it that we are trying to deliver? What is the value that the customer receives from engaging with us? At this point, we can start to prioritise our efforts to align ourselves around developing and improving the experience that we have. And nothing helps prioritisation more than investment and allocation of funds and resources!
But what can help us do this? We spoke to CIO Michael McNamara about how he connects his purpose, vision, strategy and investment to achieve the goals of Services Australia. Michael said, “Our people define us and ultimately decide whether our strategy will be successful or not. However, there is a technical framework that brings all of these elements together and how we can coach and guide them to be successfully aligned around this. For me, you start with your purpose, why do you exist? Then you look at your vision – what is the vision for your organisation, that I want to build to achieve the purpose?
Your mission then ties your vision and purpose together. Then from there, you go into your strategy and your strategy is effectively a strategic articulation over the medium to the long term of your vision. It is an execution roadmap for how you are going to achieve your vision and purpose, importantly looking at how you incorporate your mission which brings it together with life, linking in your culture about how you do business.
Inside your strategy, it is generally aiming at the 10-year mark to help you realise from a vision perspective, whilst still having an articulation of the 5-year mark and what you are aiming for. We often get caught in quick agile sprints but we need to still understand what is the longer-term vision. Sometimes good things take time and we need to be paving that road.
This articulation should include an investment roadmap for 5 years minimum. This is where it all starts to come together. So you are planning for 10 but you are hedging, understanding that you may need to pivot our strategy in 5 years as the environment around us changes quickly.”
Michael went on to state: “These are the horizons that you are aiming for.
Inside the strategic framework, you need to acknowledge the key things: people, process and systems (or tech) – the culture that you want and how you are going to achieve that. How are you going to develop your talent? Don’t underestimate your people. They are critical to your success and you need to invest heavily in them to achieve your vision.
The process and tech are really about the capabilities. What capabilities do you have today and are they fit for purpose against our mission? If they are, how do we sustain and, if not, how do we transition for the capabilities of the future?
Once those things are articulated, you get into how you are going to pay for it and your investment planning. We have a high-level investment strategy aligned back to the 5-year strategy this is then broken down into annual plans. Providing the detail that is required to really get things done. If strategy is the high level, the plan is a detailed articulation that is aligned to your budget that you track, measure and manage and can be broken down into divisional strategies and plans. Empowering your people to own and be accountable for their contribution to achieving your purpose, vision and mission is crucial.
This is where it gets technical and most people fail. You then need to bring this together with a business and technology architecture blueprint.
The blueprint will look at where you are today and where you need to go. This is your yellow brick road and is essential to understanding if you are on track and if your investment is allocated correctly. Your blueprint links your organisation together and shows how the different parts connect. Whilst individually accountable there is a connected responsibility to act as a whole.
Then you are into your op model – what it is today and how do you organise yourselves in the short-medium and long term to achieve the goals? Again, really focusing on the capabilities that you need in your people and how you can support them through the structure.’
At Three6, we agree with Michael’s advice. We design simple services that connect your customers, processes and technology that are anchored by your vision, purpose and strategic framework. We know that service design doesn’t stop at the customer because real success is achieved when you embed the design into your business and people.
We look forward to working with you to help you design your world.