Monday, July 13, 2009

Fast Strategy Deployment Message Sequence Diagram

I am working on a message sequencing diagram for fast strategy deployment. Here is an initial version:
There are five hierarchical levels. Assuming that one leader can lead a team of 7-8 people, this message diagram would be good for an organization with 16,000 to 32,000 people.

An important assumption here is that the organization uses a Boyd style decentralized management model. This allows teams at each level to decide how to solve the problems within their spheres of control and influence before sending information upwards in the organization.

Another important assumption is IOHAI (Insight, Orientation, Harmony, Agility, Initiative) training for all leaders. This does of course include working knowledge of Crawford Slip, The Logical Thinking Process, and other Strategic Navigation tools.

Note that with this messaging model, information about the external environment reaches top management first. Information from inside the organization takes about five days to travel up.

By the time information reaches top management, many internal problems are already on their way to be solved. What happens in the first five days is mostly part of regular tactical and operations level OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loops.

(If your organization uses an agile software development method, like Scrum or Extreme Programming, you already have a mechanism for decentralized decision making in place. What this message sequencing diagram does, is show how Strategic Navigation can be used to extend such mechanism throughout the entire organization.)

A first version of the Commander's Intent, in the form of one or more Intermediate Objective Maps, is communicated to the entire organization day 7.

From then on, top level management pulls information from various levels of the information, creates a Grand Strategy, and communicates it with Future Reality Trees in about a week.

The last planning phase is tactical and operations planning, which is done at lower levels, and communicated upwards. In other words, the tactical plans say "this is what we intend to do in order to achieve the mission objectives", rather than "this is what you should do..."

Three weeks may seem a short time for strategy development and deployment, but the U.S. Marine Corps does something similar in a couple of hours.

It is my belief that business strategy cycles can be compressed a lot more than the diagram shows.

I would like a bit of help from you: The picture above shows an early version of the diagram. I would like your suggestions for how to improve it. I would also like to hear about obstacles and your opinions on feasibility.

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