The organizational problem.
The strategy implementation intervention the
The thinking behind the design of the strategy
The constraints CEO needed to work within.
The tools CEO decided to use in the two-day
The workshop design.
How CEO used The Change Puzzle Kit: Day 1.
How CEO used The Winning the Game of
Change Kit: Day 2.
The end result.
The CEO felt quite alone in driving the corporate
strategy. He wished that his team would:
Realize that they needed to work together as a
united team, rather than in separate silos - often
working at cross purposes to one another.
Take responsibility for playing a leadership role in
driving the implementation of the strategy. Many of
them thought that it was enough that he, the CEO
had communicated the strategy and created
projects. They then left it up to their people to flesh
out what needed to be done to implement the
strategy - without providing direction to their own
The CEO was disappointed. He'd spent months with his executive
team developing a new organizational strategy. He'd then spent
weeks flying around the country on a road show to communicate the
new strategy. He set up a number of projects to implement the
strategy. Strategic objectives were put into each of his executives
"I am tired of being the only one driving the strategy!”
But now 6 months later, he felt quite frustrated. When he spoke to
people who were not his direct reports, they were saying that they
They were confused by the many projects that were being
implemented. As they focused on one project, they forgot about the
strategy, the company values and other projects.
Work was being duplicated.
His people were confused.
Different projects were working at cross purposes to one another.
His people simply could not see how everything fitted together.
They would do a right brained exercise to look at what the organization
would be like, if it were achieving all the benefits from having
implemented its strategy successfully.
They would look at the elements that would need to be in place for
that vision to work. To do this we would use 'The Ideal Organization Of
The Future charts and cards.
They would then compare what came out of our two charts. From this,
they would choose a few core changes. Changes that move us towards
the future vision they wanted.
they would then use the Winning the Game of Change Kits to develop
a detailed implementation plan. This included:
Who would need to play what role.
A detailed implementation plan. What would be done. How. When.
A training plan.
A way to check progress.
A way to identify and remove barriers.
A way to reinforce the behaviours we needed to implement our
THE STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION INTERVENTION
THE CEO WANTED
The CEO wanted to hold a 2 day strategy implementation
workshop for his executive team and their direct reports. He
wanted the workshop objective to be:
To help his team to develop a coordinated strategy
He was quite sure that he didn't want another theoretical
He wanted his team to develop a practical and detailed plan
for implementing the strategy.
One that was simple and clear.
One they would take ownership of - as a team.
One that would excite them.
One they could use to provide direction throughout the
One that he could use to measure their progress.
THE THINKING BEHIND THE DESIGN OF THE
STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION WORKSHOP
CEO needed an intervention that would help his executive and
management team to:
Understand why most companies strategies don't get implemented,
and recognize what they needed to do as leaders, to ensure their
Help them to see their projects, their company strategy, their values,
and the work each division did, in a holistic way. This would require a
tool that used a combination of systems thinking and visual thinking.
Help them to understand the few areas they would need to focus on,
in an integrated way, as a leadership team.
Help them to develop a detailed, comprehensive
implementation strategy - which detailed
What specific interventions they would need
Who would need to play what role.
What barriers they may need to overcome.
How they would measure progress.
How their would people would keep going
until they achieved success.
THE CONSTRAINTS CEO NEEDED TO WORK
The CEO wanted to achieve all of this in a 2 day
There would be 23 people attending the workshop.
THE TOOLS CEO DECIDED TO USE IN THE
1. The first tool CEO used was The Change Puzzle Kit
This helped the group use systems thinking to see how their
projects, strategy, values, divisional objectives, KPAs, and other
leadership elements, fitted together into one integrated picture of
the organization. They could then determine what they needed to
work on, to implement their strategy.
CEO had one kit for each group of 8 delegates. Each kit consists of:
Two laminated charts. (A1 size). The first chart is called The
Organization Of Today. The second chart is called The Ideal
Organization Of The Future.
A set of water soluble pens which allows the delegates to write
directly onto the laminated charts. The charts can be wiped clean
and used again.
A box of clue cards to help the groups analyse 20 organizational
elements from a systems thinking perspective, as they complete
2. The second tool he used was an implementation
planning tool called "Winning the Game of Change."
The tool CEO used to develop a strategy
implementation plan was "Winning the Game of
This kit, in the form of a game, helped the group to
develop a detailed strategy implementation plan for
the entire organization. It contains:
1 laminated chart - with 8 tasks that leaders need to
complete in order to develop an implementation
A set of clue cards containing examples of best
practices for completing each leadership task.
THE WORKSHOP DESIGN
This is the process CEO followed:
To get people thinking outside of their normal divisions, He
divided the larger group into 3 groups of 8 delegates per group.
These groups were mixed so that people of different functions
worked together in each group.
Each group had their own Change Puzzle Kit and Winning the
Game of Change Kit to work with.
He used this diagram to explain the process we would be
following which was:
We would take a 'systems thinking' photograph of organization as it is
today - To do this we would use The Organization of Today charts and
HOW CEO USED THE CHANGE PUZZLE KIT: DAY 1
Step 1. Provide an overview of the change puzzle
CEO provided a quick overview of the change puzzle.
Step 2. Analyse the organization of today
was given the chart "The Organization Of Today" plus the 20 clue
cards about the current organization. They were also given a set of
water soluble pens. They were asked to write on their chart how
they saw the organization as it existed today. They could use the
clue cards to help them. The groups were told that they didn't
need to achieve a consensus.
Each group spent about an hour recording their answers. Then
each group simply read what the other groups had written on their
2.3 What came out:
The three groups were surprised that their charts looked similar.
What came out clearly was a lack of alignment in the organization.
The different divisions and projects were seen to be pulling in
Step 3. Groups develop a vision of the
CEO needed the groups to develop a clear vision of what their
organization would look like, if they had successfully
implemented their strategy, and were achieving the benefits
As they developed their right brain picture of their
organization, the groups became energized. They started
feeling proud about what they could achieve together. They
were amazed that they all had a similar view of the future.
What was really happening is that the hard work the CEO and
his team had done in developing and communicating the
strategy, was now being recognized and appreciated. The CEO
Step 4. Groups complete The Ideal Organization of the
4.1 Instructions and activity:
CEO then asked the groups to complete the Ideal Organization of the
Future charts. In doing so, He asked them to think about what would need
to be in place for them to achieve the benefits they wanted to get out of
their strategy. he encouraged them to check that each organizational
element supported every other organizational element.
4.2. What came out:
One executive said. 'I finally understand this systems thinking and
alignment stuff. Everything must support everything else.'
At first the groups were very creative about what their organization would
look like, if they achieved the benefits of having implemented their
strategy successfully. Then, as they started checking that every element
supported every other element, they started refining their work. What
came out this time, was a much more focused view of what needed to be
in place for their strategy to be implemented successfully.
Step 5. The groups choose core changes.
They now needed to identify a few core changes, to provide a better
focus for our implementation plan.
Once again he remixed the groups. he asked them to choose 3
changes that would:
Help them move towards their "The Ideal Organization Of The Future"
He asked them to record these changes in a 'From' and 'To' table.
The 'From' would be drawn from "The Organization Of Today" charts.
The 'To' would come from "The Ideal Organization Of The
The three groups were surprised that they all came out with the same
core changes. This happened because of the systems thinking provided
by The Change Puzzle Kits - and because we kept mixing the groups.
They ended the first day of the workshop by asking the group what
they'd achieved. What came out was that they were excited by their
common focus, and by the clarity of what they needed to accomplish to
successfully implement their strategy.
HOW CEO USED THE WINNING THE GAME
OF CHANGE KIT: DAY 2
The groups were now used to working with one another and doing
systems thinking. He remixed the groups and handed each group a
Winning the Game of Change Kit. he explained how the kit worked,
and allowed each group most of the day, to complete the game.
The groups got engaged in the game quite quickly. As they played
the game, they wrote their implementation strategies onto their
About 2 hours before the session was due to end, he asked for a
representative of each group to work with him, so that we could
integrate all 3 charts into one integrated implementation plan for
the whole organization. While we did this, the rest of the group had
a break. We took about 45 minutes, as most of the groups came up
with similar ideas. This was because of the systems thinking they
had done the previous day, and because they had mixed the groups.
All CEO had to do then, was read the integrated plan back to the
THE END RESULT
The executives and managers were
amazed at what they had produced
together. They were delighted at how
practical and exciting their plan was. They
had enjoyed working together. They asked
to have more sessions like this in the
One of them thanked the CEO for the work
he'd done on developing the strategy.
He was quite touched by this appreciation.
The leaders left the session excited and
motivated - and ready to implement their