Strategy for the Nimble Venture

The formula for great strategy in today’s nimble, responsive organizations—particularly in the face of complex social and environmental challenges—is to reframe strategy not as a periodic project, but as a durable and effective discipline of management.

Effective strategy today must be inclusive of diverse stakeholders, it must be transparent to them, and it must be agile—so the organization and team can adapt to their ever-shifting contexts.

Our Agile Strategy workshop aimed to dispel three myths of strategic planning…

Thanks to all of you who attended the workshop, and for the fabulous dialogue. I look forward to staying in conversation, and to supporting your important work!

Myth #1: Strategy Precedes Branding In fact, they’re two sides of the same proverbial coin. Brand is the public face of strategy. Without a sound strategy, branding is just storytelling; fun, but too easily disconnected from organizational value. Without a strong brand, strategy is too easily an academic exercise; interesting, but not engaging to stakeholders.

Myth #2: “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” With all due respect to the inimitable Peter Drucker, in fact, culture and strategy are inextricably connected. Yes, strictly speaking, a strong culture can move an organization in a different direction than the best laid plans. But effective organizational cultures are a central manifestation of organizational strategy. You can’t have one without the other, and when they’re both present, the one plus one can very much equal three.

Myth #3: Strategy Precedes Implementation To resolve complex problems, we must learn on the fly. Building an early stage or growth venture is itself a complex problem. So are many of the great challenges that social impact organizations aim to meet. So first inquire, then sense the nature of the challenge at hand, then prioritize activities, and then respond—and then start over. This approach won’t fit neatly into convenient annual planning cycles. Strategy and implementation are one and the same, simultaneous and mutually reinforcing.

Books & Other References

I promised to share a couple of references and tools….

First, here’s the link to today’s slides. (PDF 3MB)

Books

Tools & References

Case Studies

I mentioned a few of our clients during the workshop, and thought you might be interested to read a few relevant case studies….

Thanks again for joining me at the workshop! I hope we were able to Shift Your Thinking™ about what you and your organization can achieve! Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you’d like to chat more about any of the ideas or tools. You can reach me directly via [email protected].