Thursday, May 01, 2008

IO map for Strategic Methods

The IO map above describes the Necessary Conditions that must be fulfilled in order to have an organization that can create and execute strategy effectively in a fast changing environment. The idea isn't mine. Originally it is Colonel John Boyd's idea. William Dettmer translated Boyd's Maneuver Warfare into a civilian version, Strategic Navigation.

I have added some of the obstacles (hexagons) that an organization must overcome in order to create and execute strategy effectively.

The map is interesting both because it explains what it is that makes Strategic Navigation and Maneuver Warfare effective, and because it provides a simple way of evaluating any strategic method.

If the necessary conditions aren't fulfilled, then the method, even though it may have great strengths, also has weaknesses that will keep it from being as effective as it should be.

You may have read critical studies that show strategic methods often do not work. Boyd worked out why some methods do work, and others don't. If you study the map, you will see that most strategic methods fail in the execution stage. They do that because the strategic methods fail to address the issue of how to organize so that the strategies can be carried out effectively. (See According to Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense, by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton.)

If you are interested in the topic, please do comment on the map. It isn't quite "dried out" yet, so I expect to change some things. What do you think?

2 comments:

SKI said...

Very interesting observations... not to be to formal, but this very insightful diagram is more of a prerequisite tree (PRT) than IO Map. I will study it at some length.

And yes, H. William Dettmer's "Strategic Navigation" is exceptional. Non-military history buffs can skip the first 26 pages and not loose any value.

-ski

Henrik said...

Thanks.

Yes, formally it is a PRT. I have a couple of different versions of the thing, with and without obstacles.

I added the obstacles to show why the Necessary Conditions are necessary. Otherwise one could try to do the right thing for the wrong reason. In my experience, that would be paving the road to Hell with good intentions.

I am very interested in the "Appreciation for systems" entity. If one unpacks that box in the map, I believe it will contain:

* Theory Of Constraints
* Queing Theory
* Behavioral science
* Systems Thinking in general

Since the tree uses necessity logic, it does not show everything needed to implement strategy well. I have been tempted to add more stuff, but that would push the tree further along the PRT path. It would no longer work as an overall definition of the paradigm.