RAPID STRATEGY PROTOTYPING (RSP)
Recipe for building hope in times of uncertainty
A pragmatic approach to roadmap implementation in 2021*
* in times of such high uncertainties
Why still talk about strategy?
As much as we might feel constrained, un-expecting and even undecisive about our future at a personal level going through the current pandemic, as much at a professional level, we must be and are expected to be unconstrained, expecting and decisive about projecting hope in our team and taking action as a business executive or manager.
Grand plans may have stalled or even collapsed, but the future still lies ahead and life will settle sooner or later to a new equilibrium, whatever that equilibrium might be. It is the CXO role to embark its X crew in riding the current intermediate flow – whether feeling the business is still on the downward curve or it has reached the trough of the wave – in order to reach the next promising shores.
How can strategy still be a lifeline for hope in such rough seas, when investments have phased into 3-month rolling budgets, 3 year-plan into what-comes-next to keep us afloat?
What is Rapid Strategy Prototyping?
Rapid Strategy Prototyping provides the flashlight to guide us through that tunnel while keeping us on track to project ourselves and our teams where there should finally be brighter destinations again.
Rapid Strategy Prototyping builds on the Balanced Scorecard / Strategy Mapping framework from Harvard professor Robert Kaplan. It takes a step further its “balanced” approach to time dimension (very short AND medium-longer terms) of strategic ambition and performance. It also more than ever builds the ‘balanced interests’ of its multi-stakeholder framework into strategic analysis and decision making.
Rapid Strategy Prototyping quickly embark all business stakeholders into the comprehensive yet fast building of an actionable strategy map for communication, alignment and strategic action management purposes.
It is not just about the current critical ‘What Now’ and ‘How Quickly’, but how do they fit into the greater ‘Why’. Fast-tracking, agitating and disturbing existing processes, organizations, systems for needed transformation purposes does need to come with a Purpose, transcending mere survival into a thriving-again expected and sustained outcome.
How can “Rapid” be associated with “Strategy”?
Rapid and decisive high impact pragmatic actions are the 2021 plan for almost every company affected one way or another by the pandemic. And if our company is not impacted, then our clients or our suppliers certainly are. What is highly uncertain is the extent of the combined impact of our whole ecosystem disrupted environment on our business, how long it will last, and the amplitude and length of the consecutive ripples.
Because rapid action or even reaction are the new common, fitting them into a Strategic Purpose call for us to recompose traditional strategic thinking and the associated ‘strategy production’ (what and how) that must imperatively be fast and iterative.
Agile and easy short-term strategic pivoting must also not give place to headless tack changes, or else people will suffer from lack of direction, they will lose confidence in their leaders, heightening their own uncertainty.
How can “Prototyping” be associated with “Strategy”?
Strategy is built on a set of hypotheses about how the future will unravel. When these hypotheses about customer evolving needs, industry dynamics, demand and supply, regulation are all built on constantly moving grounds, it is highly improbable that they hold strong for long.
Prototyping consist in quickly drafting an actionable model capable of supporting real-life testing. Strategy Prototyping brings in a Strategy model – linked to the set of above strategic hypotheses – that is tested in real life through the implementation and monitoring of short-term actions. In turns, the active monitoring, results and feedback from these actions are used to revise the hypotheses and to reshape the Strategy Prototype
Why then RSP ?
RSP accelerate the hypotheses-strategy-implementation cycle, structurally builds speed in learning and decision making, and still provide a demonstrated clear guidance towards a well thought and articulated view and belief in the company and business future.
RSP structurally balance short-term and long-term perspectives. It guarantees short-term actions coherence with the grander picture and company purpose.
How to implement Rapid Strategy Prototyping?
See our Nexance next article dedicated to practical RSP building guidelines.