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Designing, Testing, and Adjusting Strategy (Part 2)

Video on Designing, Testing, and Adjusting Strategy
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<v Speaker 1>What about the metro region? Still no light <v Speaker 1>rail. Those communities looking for the big employer? Never happened. The neighborhoods eyeing those grant dollars? Not a dime. 99 of every 100 that show up for Shark Tank auditions? Well their plans just don’t pan out. The people in these communities and organizations, those trying to take their businesses– their communities to the next level looked ahead to the horizon, set big goals, but the recession knocked the props out. The tax revenues expected to fund that light rail system never materialized. Some other community landed those auto jobs. And as for that big grant for the neighborhood, the foundations change their funding priorities. What about those fledgling entrepreneurs?
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Most will never make it. Big goals, like the future itself, are dependent on too many factors out of our control. Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard, offers a different perspective. Her area of expertise is in the power of small wins. She notes that doubt and dwindling motivation comes on quickly when a big goal is missed. She advises business leaders to focus on small wins that lead to what she calls The Progress Principle which is more confidence more high performance and more motivation to keep moving forward. Another researcher John Bryson from the University of Minnesota says that this same principle holds true for communities.
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He defines small wins for a community as concrete completed implemented outcomes of moderate importance to get to the big payoff Bryson says communities need to set a progressive series of small win goals informed by a sense of strategic direction. Some of our own research confirms this notion. We looked at over 300 community strategic planning efforts and found that those focused primarily on a progressive series of modest near time easy win goals were more likely to be successful than those that focused primarily on bigger more transformational longer term goals. Although Amabile and Bryson talk about goals a more agile approach to strategy focuses more on strategic outcomes converting strategic opportunities to strategic outcomes is another important skill to be mastered.
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Having measurable strategic outcomes help us learn as we go. In Agile Strategy and Strategic Doing we are coming up with a set of hypotheses and establishing measurable strategic outcomes to help us know whether or not our hypotheses were correct. Former Proctor & Gamble CEO, A.G. Lafley, recognized this more scientific approach to strategy; forming hypotheses and then testing them as a missing component of traditional strategic planning. He notes, “Conventional strategic planning is not actually scientific. Integral to the scientific method are the creation of novel hypotheses and the careful generation of custom-tailored tests of those hypotheses - two elements that conventional strategic planning typically lacks.”.
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So as this video comes to an end we hope you’ve been challenged to try a more experimental, agile, and iterative approach to strategy. Also when you identify a strategic opportunity begin translating it into a measurable strategic outcome. See you again soon.
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Introduction to Strategic Doing: An Agile Approach to Strategy

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