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Strategic Planning That Works: The ArchPoint OGSM Model at WhatMatterZ

OGSM strategy

Having a sound strategic plan is imperative to survive in today’s highly competitive, global marketplace.

At WhatMatterZ, one of the best tools we have found for building a strategic plan that resonates with all levels of an organization is the OGSM Model (Objective, Goals, Strategies and Measures – see Figure 1). The process of creating an OGSM allows your company to

  • Clearly define its objectives (both in purpose and financially),

  • Crystallize key strategies & initiatives,

  • Assign owners and due dates, and finally,

  • Build a one-page living document that can be the roadmap for all future planning reviews.

The OGSM model

OGSM Framework for Alignment.png

If you have not done an OGSM session with WhatMatterZ Consulting, it may seem like the proverbial “black box”. What exactly is it and how will it help my organization? Since over 50% of our consulting engagements involve OGSM work, this article condenses what happens over the course of a few months into a few paragraphs to give you a better understanding of the process and to let you judge for yourself if it might be worthwhile for your business.

The First Question: When Do You Need An OGSM Session?


If your organization is lacking a sustainable strategic planning process or if your goals and objectives do not align with an existing strategy, OGSM can be a powerful tool. It is powerful because first it harmonizes and priorities the company’s goals. And secondly, it transforms those strategic goals into a clear, executable plan that is easily tracked. And, with all ArchPoint engagements, we facilitate the development of your plan so that it becomes an active tool for your business. Here’s what we cover:

Gathering Internal Data


The process starts with interviews of your management team, typically about 20 people picked by the organization. Our ArchPoint consultants interview each person for about two hours in a confidential setting. The questions are grouped into several categories as shown in Figure 2. By the end of the interviews, we have a good idea of what is working well and where there are areas for improvement.

OGSM internal Assetment

 

The WhatMatterZ team also reviews elements that impact employee satisfaction and customer experience, including

  1. Customer management and marketing materials

  2. Customer and employee surveys and

  3. Productivity platforms such as six sigma, lean, training, HR processes, etc.


These elements are crucial to understanding the organization from the outside in.

Collect external data (not for JumpStart)


This is where WhatMatterZ process gets rooted in the realities of the marketplace. We start with a Voice of the Customer (VOC) survey to analyze critical customer needs and expectations. We then look within the organization at which functions or departments deliver customer value. While the finger is usually pointed at sales, this is not always the case. In addition, ArchPoint develops customer, channel, and end-user segmentation and analyzes 1) product/market performance and trends, 2) brand and company reputation, and 3) value proposition.

Facilitate an Executive Overview & Debriefing session


Once the data is collected and analysed, the WhatMatterZ team invites the leadership team to review a comprehensive, detailed summary of our findings. During the debriefing session, we ask each team member to record observations to use for a later exercise. The review starts by sharing the macro trends, the most important positive themes and opportunities for improvement for the company. We provide feedback in all categories mentioned in the chart, including a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) based on input from the interviews. We also present detailed analyses, graphs and even quotes from the interviewees (although the source always remains anonymous). At the end of the session, which can last 4-6 hours, the team has had a detailed and brutally honest assessment of their current condition.

Defining a business purpose statement


We let the feedback sink in and turn our attention to the next exercise, creating an objective statement for the company. An objective statement will answer the questions, "Why do we exist and what do we stand for?" Here is an example of a recent commitment: “To be known as the leader in home and occupational health and safety through professional people, advanced technology and world-class facilities and equipment to deliver measurable, customer-focused and profitable results ."

Strengthen the current financial perspective


We then turn our attention to a 3-5 year financial outlook and determine whether everyone has the same growth expectations. What are the headwinds and tailwinds for the company and are the financial objectives achievable? If so, we move on. If not, isit's time for a "pause" to deal with the financial realities and obstacles that need to be dealt with first.

Create strategy platforms


We then take the team through a unique exercise that creates strategic buckets. The buckets are derived from key observations made during the feedback session and are typically grouped into one of three areas: growth, productivity, or people. We also look at the company's alignment with its purpose, customers, services, markets and geographies. We look at where there are strengths today, where there are gaps and where the company needs to grow. When the exercise is complete, the team will have developed approximately 6-8 overarching strategies for the company, grouped within the strategy segments.

Grouping the identified problems for solution (affinitization)


Then the magic happens. We go back to the original debriefing of the interviews, collect all the observations from the feedback (usually on sticky notes) and refine/group the observations under key strategies. Although we have done this exercise many times before, it is always amazing to see how the feedback observations fit so nicely with the newly developed strategies and how they give substance to the initiatives.

Develop a draft OGSM


Finally, we take all the information from the 2-3 day session where we answer key strategic questions (see Figure 3) about the company and convert it into one tool: the OGSM. We add the main strategies (the choices to achieve our objectives and goals) and the initiatives (the programs needed to realize the strategies). Finally, we list how progress is measured, the primary owner of each initiative, and the timing for completion. The result is a living tool, developed in collaboration and based on the needs of the company. This one-page living roadmap can be used in any strategic planning session going forward. As always, the WhatMatterZ team is available to participate in those initial strategy sessions until the leadership team is fully comfortable using the tool on their own.

OGSM Key Elements

 

Alignment and cascading strategies (not for JumpStart)


Cascading is the process of achieving alignment throughout the organization (see Figure 4). It links company-level goals to the divisional or functional goals and ultimately to the individual. It is both a top-down and a bottom-up flow of information that aligns work at every level with the organization's strategies. When cascaded down, it provides clear and definitive direction to support functions and personnel. In the bottom-up flow, it provides feedback on the resources and timing required to achieve the strategies. The effort culminates in a coordinated, measurable movement toward shared business goals and strategies.

How to cascade OGSM

The OGSM framework for strategic planning


In summary, the OGSM framework forms the basis for strategic planning and execution, as well as subsequent assessments. It provides visibility and accountability to the core objectives of the organization and ensures that activities are aligned with financial objectives. The concise one-page format allows for quick management, excluding initiatives that are off track. And finally, it works because it's simple, robust, and developed as a team.

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