Empowering Change: Living Strategy
Today’s world is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). This calls for a paradigm shift in order to stay capable of acting and making decisions. The mantra of “predict and control” can hardly be applied in this VUCA world, which disqualifies most of the traditional management approaches.
For the development of strategies we need a new approach containing the treasure that is essential for the future success of any organisation or company. Its goal should be to revitalize change initiatives – and hence become a living strategy.
The following seven steps are the way to the living strategy:
1. What is there to strengthen us?
In contrast to the formerly used deficit orientation, suitable strategies are developed through the perspective of strengths, values and the uniqueness of the organisation.
2. What is already laid out?
The consequent sight forward, bearing in mind what is already laid out, is more in touch with the future than the orientation towards the past.
If you are able to put more trust in how you yourself perceive the organisation, it will lead to more security and orientation in challenging times.
Directions of impact can be defined using this perception and strength.
The managerial strategy tools (SWOT, five forces, market analysis etc.) are not the basis of decision-making but can enhance the immersion and implementation of the chosen directions of impact.
3. What do we need to be able to move?
In this step it is discovered what could support us or prevent us from finding new ways.
The word “emotion” contains “motion”. Emotion is movement. Movement is emotion. The conventional separation of thinking, feeling and acting cannot be upheld in the VUCA world. It would lead to a standstill. The moment of action begins with the perception of the whole, the good within the bad and the bad within the good.
Metaphorically speaking: The jungle is being perceived.
4. Where do we want to go?
„Generating solutions independently from the problem“
In this step we connect the previously defined directions of impact to the vision. Long-term goals, in contrast to the traditional approach, just serve as reference for the directions of impact and not as their basis.
We start to paint a picture of the solutions’ qualities and connect the previously defined directions of impact to the vision.
The problem and the solution are independent from each other. It is important to identify the size of the solution space and to be able to describe it.
We decide which particular plants of the jungle we will look out for. The first metres of a few possible jungle paths start to appear.
5. What contains strength? What will we give shape to?
During the previous step the vision and the directions of impact were connected, which opened up a fund of possible solutions. Now it will have to be decided which of those we want to realise.
The chosen directions of impact are made concrete.
The three qualities of organisation:
1) What helps us the most on our path towards the vision? (the lever)
2) What is most powerful? (the chili adds spice and energy)
3) From what do we need more, from what do we need less? (the magnifier brings us clarity)
Which one of the jungle paths will lead us best and with the most energy to our chosen goal? What do we need to know to be able to continue?
6. What do we do next?
Getting out of the clouds and towards the ground – from wishing towards wanting. In this phase, concrete, practicable next steps will be identified. Within the directions of impact, leading initiatives are defined, which will get the strategy into motion. They are oriented towards vitality. Vitality can be spotted in the centre of attention. Sometimes, however, it is discovered in the quiet corner.
The first, concrete steps on the jungle path can be in the shadow.
7. How can I be part? What do I contribute?
Creating a room for the new and protecting it, and how am I concerned? The directions of impact are connected to each other and to the day to day business activities. Similarly to a greenhouse, the young sprouts of the new need space and protection to survive. The power of the day to day routine is often too strong. At the same time, change needs everybody’s participation. “How am I concerned?” as an important element of strength for the implementation.