Visualising strategic objectives

Having clear Strategic objectives helps you to use time effectively?

Leadership Tool: Focus on doing the right thing

Visualise the organisations direction by using an IO Map to show the Goal, Critical Success Factors and Necessary Conditions. Your team then has an understanding on what needs to be achieved and can focus on identifying and doing the right thing at the right time.

The IO Map is a useful leadership tool to promote strategic thinking and enable a candid discussion. The process of having to verbalise and write down the conditions that must be fulfilled in order to achieve the goal stimulates creative and critical thinking. Using the simple pattern in justifying the links between parent and child entities we can verify if the logic is valid.
It can take a couple of hours for first time users to get into. The basic idea is to set a goal and then work downwards and determine what Necessary Conditions (NCs) and Critical Success Factors (CSFs) need to be fulfilled in order to achieve the goal.

Visualising the organisations direction

Organisation Goal, Critical Success Factors and Neccessary Conditions

For businesses the goal will generally be financially related, whereas schools and hospitals have other goals. We will focus on for profit businesses.

Under ideal situations there should be an IO Map at company level where the Goal is set by the Board of Directors. The Necessary Conditions and Critical Success Factors should be determined by senior and possibly middle management, and then agreed to with the Board. The company IO Map should be made available to the entire organisation so that all staff know what the ultimate goal is.

Based on the company IO Map each department or sub organisation can then develop their IO Map, with the goal being set by the person who the head of department reports to, such as the CEO or COO.

What does a well formed IO Map do?

  • It explicitly states a common goal for every person in the organisation to work towards.
  • It shows what NCs (Necessary Conditions) and CSFs (Critical Success Factors) need to be fulfilled in order to achieve the goal
  • It gives a high level order in which conditions must be fulfilled
  • Acts as a reference point
  • It describes the organisations mission in a way that is measurable and accountable.

  • What can we use a well formed IO Map for?

  • Setting the direction for a company or sub-organisation, thus helping managers to focus their teams on achieving the required performance and results.
  • Help answer the question, can we compete successfully and make a profit now and in the future.
  • Decide who is the most likely candidate(s) or department(s) to have responsibility to fulfill specific NCs & CSF, or get outside expertise where we do not have the competence.
  • The starting point for all change management processes/projects
  • Validation that projects or other incentives will contribute to the business goal before any development work starts on the project.
  • Facilitating open and honest discussion regarding the business as everyone knows what needs to be achieved.
  • Focus peoples’ attention on doing what MUST be done as opposed to what can be done.
  • Resolve conflicts without compromising. The IO Map will supply the objective that both parties want to achieve. We use the conflict resolution process for actually resolving the conflict.
  • In conjunction with the Current Reality Tree we can establish the gap from where we are today and where we want to be when we achieve the goal.
  • Create buy in from all levels of staff who develop the IO Map appropriate for their department/organisation in the company.
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