A Note to
Our Readers: In this installment, my Quantum Leaders colleague, Gregg Gallagher, contributes another post from our Quantum Thinking blog which continues our “Strategic
Planning is Dead” dialogue. Gregg talks more about the importance
of alignment between a firm’s Strategic Compass an the dynamics of the
My last article discussed the importance of speed of
execution in the RTE Wave as it relates to competitive advantage, and in Norman
Wolfe’s earlier post “Strategic
Planning is Dead … “, he elaborated on the Strategic Compass™ and the role it’s
three elements (Soulful Purpose, Values and Vision of Desired Future) play in
aligning the energies of The Living Organization™
Alignment with the Strategic Compass™ – which identifies both
the company’s internal dynamics and the external dynamics & expectations of
the marketplace – plays a critical role in innovation and the creation of
demand for a company’s products and services.
It is key that the products and services the company provides
(or is planning to develop) are created in a manner that is in alignment with
the Strategic Compass™ of the organization. Equally important is that both the
company’s employees and it’s customers perceive it as such. When internal
alignment is not there, there will likely be a great deal of dissonance,
confusion and resistance in developing the product and launching it into the
For example, in development environments that utilize the
Scrum form of Agile methodology, non-alignment with the Strategic Compass™ can
result in continuous frictions and “resets” during sprint iteration. This
results in delayed time to market and products that meet neither the expressed
needs of the marketplace (“Voice of the Customer”), nor their unmet,
unexpressed needs (“Heart of the Customer”).
A company’s products and services must also be aligned with
the energies of the marketplace – the marketplace’s expectations of what
products & services the company should be providing in service to its
customers. History is replete with examples of failures when such misalignments
– Xerox Star: One of the first computers to instantiate a
graphical user interface – but who would expect a breakthrough computing
product from a photocopier company? Several of Xerox’s ideas were latest
realized in the form of Apple’s Macintosh – a firm the market accepted as an
innovator in the personal computer space.
– “New Coke” – forget what your market research and
taste tests may have told you, how dare you change and take away the core
product we have come to love & expect from your company?
– Microsoft Zune – the product specs and overall service
offering compares favorably with those of market leader Apple – but is
“fun & entertainment” really in Microsoft’s genetics? (i.e., Is
the dominant enterprise technology company really able to meet my personal
needs for entertainment?)
The Gallup Organization has been conducting research into the
correlation between high levels of employee and customer engagement, and the
success of the company in the marketplace. [REF: “Human Sigma”} A
particularly compelling finding is that firms which are above the median in
both customer & employee engagement experience revenue growth at a ~4x
greater rate than firms that are below the median in both engagement
How does this correlate to product and services?
Simply put, the product creation process should flow
naturally from the core of the company. It must be an extension of its’ Soulful
Purpose(tm): why the company exists and whom it serves.
The role of leadership (at all levels of the organization) is
to understand & embrace this Soulful Purpose, but more importantly to
promulgate an understanding throughout the firm, such that all employees are
making product design & development decisions in a semi-autonomic manner,
in alignment with the Strategic Compass(tm).
When it does so, it creates innovative products in an almost “effortless”
manner – it just seems to flow naturally….
Is that how your firm is currently operating?
More to come … .
To learn more about the Real-Time Execution Wave, part of The Living Organization business model, and the role of Innovation, download our white papers.