[1] If you want different results, you have to change your strategies, organization, and operations. Sometimes you can do that gradually. Sometimes you need to turn around poor performance or accelerate things in the face of risk or an opportunity. Accelerating through those strategic inflection points requires step-changes in strategy, organization, and operations, carefully synced together.

George Bradt

Point of Inflection

The five BRAVE questions across environment, values, attitudes, relationships, and behaviors apply. From the outside in:

Environment

One of two things is going to give you the opportunity or need for a strategic inflection. The first is a change in your environment. This could be a major shift in customer needs or situation, in the competitive landscape, in your collaborators, or in the conditions in which you operate. Recognize the change and its implications.

Values

The second trigger could be a change in your own mission, vision, objectives or goals.

Whatever creates the opportunity or need, it’s going to require step-changes in your strategy, organization, and operations. In all three – you can’t change one without changing the others without breaking the system. At a high level, strategy or attitude change is about what you focus on. Organizational change is about who does what work. Operational change is about how they do it.

Attitude

Start with the attitude or strategic change. The change in your environment or objectives creates new reasons why, scenarios and options. Work through them to generate a single new overarching strategy. This will not be doing more of what you’re already doing. It will be doing different things

Relationships

Nothing’s going to happen without your people. The strategy change dictates a new set of required capabilities. Do a new future capability plan and then start bridging the gaps between your current and required organization.

Behaviors

Then, re-design your operations. This is the third leg of your system. If you change the other two legs without changing the way people work, things fall down.

Steps to accelerating through a strategic inflection point:

  1. Assess the changes in your environment or values. What has changed? So what are the implications of that? Now what must you do? If the answer is nothing new, fine. If the answer is to continue to evolve, fine. But if the answer is to accelerate through an inflection point, go on to the next step.
  2. Strategy. Jump-shift your strategic process ahead of the point of inflection. Get all aligned around the key elements of your environment and values and what’s changed. Agree on a single new overarching strategy, new strategic priorities, and cultural changes.
  3. Organization. Jump-shift your organizational process. Create a new future capability plan in line with your new strategy. Do an immediate role sort. Accelerate individual transitions as appropriate.
  4. Operations. Jump-shift your operational process, implementing a new management cadence to track and manage your new priorities quarterly, new programs monthly and new projects weekly.
  5. Communication. Deploy a new communication effort in line with your new management cadence. This is an ongoing campaign, not a one-off event. At every stage of working through a strategic inflection, every single person in your organization and eco-system will have one question that has to be answered before they can pay attention to anything else: “What does this mean for me?”

Click to request a free copy of CEO Connection’s white paper on Scaling Through Points Of Inflection.

This is not something to evolve your business. If things are going well, incremental changes are safer. Do this when there’s a major change in your circumstances or ambitions with an enduring impact. Think in terms of mid-market companies where innovation meets scale. That collision creates opportunities for them to accelerate through strategic points of inflection and scale new heights.

In cases like those, incremental changes won’t get you where you need to get to. You’ll need step changes. When you do, remember that any step-change to your strategy, organization or operations impacts the other two. That’s why strong planning, communication, and follow-through can make such a difference.

[1] Attributed to W. Edwards Deming (or perhaps others)

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“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”[1] If you want different results, you have to change your strategies, organization, and operations. Sometimes you can do that gradually. Sometimes you need to turn around poor performance or accelerate things in the face of risk or an opportunity. Accelerating through those strategic inflection points requires step-changes in strategy, organization, and operations, carefully synced together.

George Bradt

Point of Inflection

The five BRAVE questions across environment, values, attitudes, relationships, and behaviors apply. From the outside in:

Environment

One of two things is going to give you the opportunity or need for a strategic inflection. The first is a change in your environment. This could be a major shift in customer needs or situation, in the competitive landscape, in your collaborators, or in the conditions in which you operate. Recognize the change and its implications.

Values

The second trigger could be a change in your own mission, vision, objectives or goals.

Whatever creates the opportunity or need, it’s going to require step-changes in your strategy, organization, and operations. In all three – you can’t change one without changing the others without breaking the system. At a high level, strategy or attitude change is about what you focus on. Organizational change is about who does what work. Operational change is about how they do it.

Attitude

Start with the attitude or strategic change. The change in your environment or objectives creates new reasons why, scenarios and options. Work through them to generate a single new overarching strategy. This will not be doing more of what you’re already doing. It will be doing different things

Relationships

Nothing’s going to happen without your people. The strategy change dictates a new set of required capabilities. Do a new future capability plan and then start bridging the gaps between your current and required organization.

Behaviors

Then, re-design your operations. This is the third leg of your system. If you change the other two legs without changing the way people work, things fall down.

Steps to accelerating through a strategic inflection point:

  1. Assess the changes in your environment or values. What has changed? So what are the implications of that? Now what must you do? If the answer is nothing new, fine. If the answer is to continue to evolve, fine. But if the answer is to accelerate through an inflection point, go on to the next step.
  2. Strategy. Jump-shift your strategic process ahead of the point of inflection. Get all aligned around the key elements of your environment and values and what’s changed. Agree on a single new overarching strategy, new strategic priorities, and cultural changes.
  3. Organization. Jump-shift your organizational process. Create a new future capability plan in line with your new strategy. Do an immediate role sort. Accelerate individual transitions as appropriate.
  4. Operations. Jump-shift your operational process, implementing a new management cadence to track and manage your new priorities quarterly, new programs monthly and new projects weekly.
  5. Communication. Deploy a new communication effort in line with your new management cadence. This is an ongoing campaign, not a one-off event. At every stage of working through a strategic inflection, every single person in your organization and eco-system will have one question that has to be answered before they can pay attention to anything else: “What does this mean for me?”

Click to request a free copy of CEO Connection’s white paper on Scaling Through Points Of Inflection.

This is not something to evolve your business. If things are going well, incremental changes are safer. Do this when there’s a major change in your circumstances or ambitions with an enduring impact. Think in terms of mid-market companies where innovation meets scale. That collision creates opportunities for them to accelerate through strategic points of inflection and scale new heights.

In cases like those, incremental changes won’t get you where you need to get to. You’ll need step changes. When you do, remember that any step-change to your strategy, organization or operations impacts the other two. That’s why strong planning, communication, and follow-through can make such a difference.

[1] Attributed to W. Edwards Deming (or perhaps others)

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