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Developing a Strategic Vision

  1. A business that is not seeking to change and improve is dead. A business wanting to be successful needs to have a vision of how it will change, improve in the future, compete and succeed. This applies equally to all its business units and functions. a credible well founded vision is aspiration, creates focus on motivation and focuses your resources during periods of change and daily challenges. The strategic vision of the business and its business units create collaboration and synergies necessary to success.

    There are many consulting organisations and hundreds of strategic books that will help you develop a vision. My view:

    All businesses can be expressed as a set of capabilities. it’s the relationship between these capabilities or process that join these capabilities, which forms the business and its value proposition. So a business needs to understand, which are it strategic capabilities, those capacities, resources and skills which create a long-term competitive advantage, and those are adjacent capabilities.
    These capabilities are usually in larger organisations ideally organised into business units with a customer service related capabilities supported by a central function providing common capabilities for all business units minimising duplication. So all these levels, visions for how these capabilities should be delivered important in directing a successful business.
    So how to develop a vision for your capability or function while dealing with day-to-day, and using the As-Is information to inform and not constrain the Vision.
    When developing a strategic vision is is all too easy to get stuck and held back by the knowledge of your existing systems, organisational issues, vendor capability and threats to change. But, without a Vision free of these contraints it is difficult to see where and what your business could be.
    This is not to say you should loose site of your business core capability or a signal to move into an ajacent market, while it’s always move fun to create a vision for a market where you have no knowledge the chances of success are slim.
    A first step is always to understand the capability, pairing it away from the compromises that have been made. Lean gives us tools for focusing on value and finding waste. Then it is necessary to understand how capabilities should be combined to create a business model for success, the function of business architecture.
    The visionary Vision should always to driven by:- business goals, what is your CEO and their direct reports talking and writing about. Going further down will pull into the internal agendas, the Vision has to stay high level even though it may be focused on a specific business domain or capability. Just because their statements may seem very high level and barely relavent, you have to assume they are talking to be people that matter staff, investors and customers in a language these groups understand, so core of your Vision should be readly traceable to these statements.
    – what the best of your competitors are doing or more importantanly thinking of doing, use all the sources confereces, web sites, consultants, contractors and vendors they are using are all good sources.
    – where are your total lifecycle costs are going,
     – what of the niche players in your core products are doing ,
    – where is technology going (ESB, CEP, Web Services, AJAX, Business Rules, Virtualisation, Cloud),
    – partner relationships and- playing attention to industry trends or compliance regulators talking about doing.
    – what a stated or unstated vision/strategy of other divisions especially core functions (IT, Property, HR)
    All of these elements represent opertunities within your core capabilities.Then push your ideas to there logical conclusions, creating synergies.
    A Vision is not vauge. User groups with a current problem must be able to see how (in their view) the Vision could address the specific issue – even though it will not have been specifically referenced.
    The As-Is is not being ignored – but only very specific elements of it being used. ~20% should being considered for strategy formation. This should not include current issues directly but the grossest impacts of these issues, the limitations and constraints, all with a big pinch of salt as the old will not necessarly apply in the new. Performace constraints may not be an issue if you put the new capability all together. Some elements of the As-Is may be a constraint the Vision, if for example there is no capability to deliver, and must be allowed for or changed.
Posted in Business, Strategy
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