Each business unit need to generate its strategy in alignment with the company strategy. However, at the same time it should be relevant to the business unit function to resonate with its team members. The individual business units strategies are what we mean by the Functional Strategies. Each business unit has its own function. IT is different from stores or sales. HR is looking to your team in a total different way than how you are looking to them.
Your North Star aka Functional Strategy
As we had discussed in the last chat: Is the strategy only for auditors, your strategy is your North Star. Regardless what you are doing in your life, whether it is personal or work related, you need an overview of how your end result would be. When you are making yourself a cup of coffee or buying one, you expect to (1)drink a cup of coffee , (2) Enjoy it, (3) Get refreshed, (4)Gain more focus, (5)Wake up, (6)Have a break, (7)Chat with someone.
It is all relative to the original need that you want to fulfill. Some of this expectations may not be fulfilled and some may do. It is like this at work. You have an expectation of the end result. In maintenance you can expect a more stable operation, a better cost figures, a less random failures or any other relevant end result of your efforts. Just doing the used to tasks on the list won’t create a different end result in its own.
Have your map always in your hand
Since we are are speaking to different sizes of organizations. Identifying your North Star and how to walk your way to it is your Functional Strategy. Starting by writing it, then communicating it horizontally and vertically. Even if you are working at your own, what is the end result of your work? After identifying your target and how you may reach it, write it down. Have you r strategy written down in front of you. This way, you have a chance of refining it till you feel it completely mature. Then you follow it and set some milestones or result figures to verify if you continue on the track and if it is the right track. Don’t worry about initial results that shows some discrepancies. Those are detours in the right direction that gives a chance for more fine tuning.
First step, Find your North Star
If you don’t know what is the strategy of your work place, try to find a chance to chat with your boss to understand the company initiatives. The big firms have bold strategies that directs everyone in the organization. Smaller or unorganized firms might be somehow unclear about their strategy or their real strategy but that doomed to failure on the long run. It opens the door for a stumbling disengaging working environment. Even if you are a free lancer, you need to set your own strategy in doing business, selecting customers and spending time. Without a guiding compass that you can see and recheck from time to time, you will be progressing randomly; sometimes forward and sometimes backward
After understanding the “theme” of your work place which is a good analogy of strategy. The THEME analogy reflects that strategy is like the context your working through. Did you once applied a theme on your mobile but it distracted you? It may had prevented you from finding your apps and contacts or drained your battery with its moving wallpapers. It is the same with your work. You need to re-frame your understanding of the workplace strategies in a way that applicable to your business unit.
Secondly, It is only one North Star
You have stake holders wherever your position in the organization is. Your strategy which will be the frame through which you will work need to be matching with the stake holders. Maybe complete understandıng can not be reached from the first issuance but it need to be discussed openly. Why Mutual agreement is important? Because after sometime when we ask for realignment to the agreed strategy, everyone understands what we are talking about. This will lead to your own fine tuning for your strategy, its validation by your manager and your peers acceptance also.
Wait a moment, don’t conflict strategy with job description, job assignment or processes. Those important documents tell everyone what to do and how they interact with each other. However, strategy is the tint that we all need to paint out processes and KPIs in its shades.
If we didn’t meet, then we had lost our North Star
If the organization is real about its strategy, it will evaluate its business units and their owners based on their contribution to the strategy. This appears in the management review meeting or whatever you call them in your workplace. Your business unit, department, section or yourself will show in this meeting what you had achieved from your goals. In the first place your goals need to show it is an added value to the orchestral performance of the system. That’s regardless of whether those goals were set by the organization or by you,
An important notice here is that all business units are linked together and they affect each other in one way or the other. So, the performance of maintenance affects the stores. And, the results of Maintenance affects the assets and consequently operations. The HR strategy affects the retention of current team members and the attraction and engagement of new ones. The most listened to are the cost sheets from the financial department send some indications. The bottom line is the profit. Assume that all business units are achieving their targets but there is no profit. This means that there is something wrong with the synchronization of the individual business units. That’s why you need to understand your stake holders. And, confirm that your targets will be correctly recorded as added values to the other business units targets.
That’s why ISO9001:2015 adapted the importance of aligning quality targets of each business unit to the overall business strategy. You need a prove that you had done your homework. The prove is that you know the internal and external factors affecting negatively the organization strategy. Moreover, you documented activities that you will do reduce or eliminate negative effects.
A final Remark before concluding
We shall come back to you in November with new services. We shall have a short break in October to refresh and prepare for a new start.
We need a North Star to guide us in our live or work. The absence of your North Star raises the probability of being lost or taking side tracks. It is harder for teams or organizations if they don’t set or lose the image of their target fulfilled. The image of the fulfilled target is your vision and the steps on the road are the mission. Together they make the Functional Strategy which is your true North Star.
When cold days start to appear in the horizon, chocolate will be a great addition to your coffee. Enjoy it whatever you name this blend.