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The Art of Strategy

Steps Towards Business Agility
Erik Schön


Agile Leadership Day #ALD2019

March 13, 2019 @ Stockholm
If you want to read more: The Art of Strategy — Introduction
@erik_schon #ALD2019
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Sustainably thrive

in a world where

the rate of change

will never be slower

than today
Why Strategy?
@erik_schon #ALD2019
CHOICES

of harmonized direction

for the organization

or parts of the organization

done regularly
DECISIONS & ACTIONS

in a harmonized direction

by everyone everywhere

in the organization
What is Strategy?
@erik_schon #ALD2019
@erik_schon
Product Development Executive | Product Strategist | Executive Performance Coach
DISCLAIMER: LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this presentation.@erik_schon #ALD2019
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Art of War

Sun Tzu ~400 BC


How to be

certain to win

and avoid fighting wars@erik_schon #ALD2019
Art of War

The Essence
Be prepared 

Be influential

Be fast

Be adaptable

Be innovative@erik_schon #ALD2019
Art of War

Be Prepared Purpose
Landscape
ASSESSMENTS
Who has more influential purpose?
Who has more skilled leadership?
Who is favored by landscape and climate?
Who carries out doctrine more skillfully?
Who has more capabilities?
Who has more highly trained people?
Who provides feedback more clearly?
Doctrine
Leadership
Climate
Avoid engagement until assessments indicate certain success
Skilled combinations of 

surprise and the expected

is 



as infinite as heaven and earth



as inexhaustible as rivers and seas

 

ending only to begin again 

like the sun and the moon 



dying only to live again 

like the four seasons
Art of War

Be Innovative
When engaging with stakeholders, first do what is expected, then use surprise to succeed
Example

Be Innovative: The Expected and the Surprise
Expected: call, mail, browse & listen to music just works
Surprise: in the same device with awesome touch interface
Outcome: customer delight & extreme loyalty@erik_schon #ALD2019
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Who’s the Real Top Gun?
@erik_schon #ALD2019
A Discourse on Winning and Losing

Briefed 1976-1997 by John Boyd
“He who can handle the quickest rate of change survives”
A Discourse on Winning and Losing

The Essence
Keep competition off balance
Build alliances
Harmonize creativity & initiative
Decide & learn in fast(er) cycles
@erik_schon #ALD2019 Chet Richards @FuentesDeOnoro
Keep Competition

Off Balance Observe
Orient
Decide
Act
Change situations faster than competition can figure out, again & again ...
OODA

Loop
Example

Keep Competition Off Balance: Change situations faster than competition
Develop and manufacture trucks faster, cheaper and with better quality
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Observe
Orient
Decide
Act OODA

“Loop”
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Observe Orient Decide Act
Unfolding 

circumstances
Outside

information
IMPLICIT guidance & control
Unfolding interactions with environment
Use what we have learned and current strategy
Learn new things, revise strategy AND break out of old habits, even if successful so far
Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles
Chet Richards @FuentesDeOnoro@erik_schon #ALD2019
Model of how the world is working

Situational Awareness
Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles

Example: Regular Strategy Retro- & Prospectives
March
June
September
Current Situation?
New Insights?
Revise Strategy?
Revise Targets?
December
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles

Example: Real-Time Management
08.00-08.15 Teams …… … …
Daily Standups
08.45-09.00 CTO’s leadership team
Issues that cannot be resolved 

by CTO’s direct reports’ teams,

solution plan reported back within 24 hours
08.15-08.30 Management teams ………
Issues that cannot be resolved

by teams, solution plan

reported back within 24 hours
08.30-08.45 CTO’s direct reports’ 

management teams
…
Issues that cannot be resolved 

by management teams,

solution plan reported back within 24
hours
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Create a CADENCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Katya Knyazeva
Characteristics 

of a Map
Visual
Context-specific
Position
Components
Anchor
Movement
x
How can we

do this in

business?
Katya Knyazeva
Wardley Maps
Visualize

value chain evolution &

enable strategic choices
Market position? Competition



Expected market changes?



Focus? Strategic gameplays?



In-house, off-the-shelf, outsource?

Capabilities?

Methodologies?

Organization?
Simon Wardley @swardley
Wardley Maps
Visualize

value chain evolution &

guide strategic choices
Visual
Context-specific
Movement

(Evolution)
Position

(Relative to Anchor)
Component
Anchor

(User Needs)
Simon Wardley @swardley
Wardley Maps
Expected market changes
Focus
Outsource
Outsource
In-House
In-House
Off-the-Shelf
Off-the-Shelf
Off-the-Shelf
EXAMPLE: Gaming
Visualize

value chain evolution &

guide strategic choices!
Howard Rees @Howard_Rees
Novel Emerging Good Best
Evolution
Find the right home
Build the 

thing right
Client side build
Build
Server side 

build
PRACTICES
Server side test
Collaboration with

database analysts
Client side test
ValueChainVisibleInvisible
Wardley Maps
Maturity Mapping:

context-specific

capability assessments
Example: 

Finding the right home

in the housing market

online



Chris McDermott @chrisvmcd
Simon Wardley @swardley


Faster
MAP:

User Need

Value Chain

Position

Movement
Anticipate change

Economic patterns

Competitors’ actions
Study & use gameplay
Study & use principles for 

ways of operating,
communicating &
organizing
Sun Tzu’s Five Factors

Boyd’s OODA “Loop”

Wardley Mapping
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Agile

Ability to adapt to and influence new situations
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Agility

Ability to adapt to and influence new situations

more rapidly than your competitors
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Business

Succeed together with your stakeholders
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Business Agility

Ability to adapt to and influence new situations

more rapidly than your competitors

in order to
succeed together with your stakeholders
@erik_schon #ALD2019
The Art of Strategy

To succeed 

by securing harmony among stakeholders
and keeping competition off balance 

 through evolving better capabilities
to adapt and map
@erik_schon #ALD2019
The Art of Strategy

To succeed 

by securing harmony among stakeholders
and keeping competition off balance 

 through evolving better capabilities
to adapt and map
What would YOU

like to try?
@erik_schon #ALD2019
The Art of Strategy

To succeed 

by securing harmony among stakeholders
and keeping competition off balance 

 through evolving better capabilities
to adapt and map
Q&A
@erik_schon #ALD2019
For Further Learning
Articles
McDermott, Mapping Maturity (2018)
Richards, Boyd’s OODA Loop. It’s Not What You Think (2018)
Schön, Doing Strategy the Interactive & Flexible Way  (2018)

Schön, The Art of Strategy — Introduction (2019)
Wardley, An Introduction to Wardley (Value Chain) Mapping (2015)


Books
Boyd, A Discourse on Winning and Losing (2018)
Richards, Certain to Win (2004)
Schön, The Art of Strategy (2019)
Sun Tzu, The Art of War (2008)
Wardley, Wardley Maps (2018)


Videos
Richards, On OODA Loops, Adaptability & John Boyd (2012)
Schön, Doing Strategy the Interactive & Flexible Way (2018)
Wardley, Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones (2017)
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Thanks for Inspiration!
Melissa

Perris
Rita

Gunther

McGrath
Nilofer

Merchant
Chet

Richards
Simon

Wardley
Stockholm

Lean Coffee

Roger

Martin
@erik_schon #ALD2019
Art of Strategy: Steps Towards Business Agility

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Art of Strategy: Steps Towards Business Agility

  • 1. The Art of Strategy
 Steps Towards Business Agility Erik Schön 
 Agile Leadership Day #ALD2019
 March 13, 2019 @ Stockholm If you want to read more: The Art of Strategy — Introduction
  • 4. Sustainably thrive
 in a world where
 the rate of change
 will never be slower
 than today Why Strategy? @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 5. CHOICES
 of harmonized direction
 for the organization
 or parts of the organization
 done regularly DECISIONS & ACTIONS
 in a harmonized direction
 by everyone everywhere
 in the organization What is Strategy? @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 6. @erik_schon Product Development Executive | Product Strategist | Executive Performance Coach DISCLAIMER: LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this presentation.@erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 8. Art of War
 Sun Tzu ~400 BC 
 How to be
 certain to win
 and avoid fighting wars@erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 9. Art of War
 The Essence Be prepared 
 Be influential
 Be fast
 Be adaptable
 Be innovative@erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 10.
  • 11. Art of War
 Be Prepared Purpose Landscape ASSESSMENTS Who has more influential purpose? Who has more skilled leadership? Who is favored by landscape and climate? Who carries out doctrine more skillfully? Who has more capabilities? Who has more highly trained people? Who provides feedback more clearly? Doctrine Leadership Climate Avoid engagement until assessments indicate certain success
  • 12. Skilled combinations of 
 surprise and the expected
 is 
 
 as infinite as heaven and earth
 
 as inexhaustible as rivers and seas
  
 ending only to begin again 
 like the sun and the moon 
 
 dying only to live again 
 like the four seasons Art of War
 Be Innovative When engaging with stakeholders, first do what is expected, then use surprise to succeed
  • 13. Example
 Be Innovative: The Expected and the Surprise Expected: call, mail, browse & listen to music just works Surprise: in the same device with awesome touch interface Outcome: customer delight & extreme loyalty@erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 15. Who’s the Real Top Gun? @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 16. A Discourse on Winning and Losing
 Briefed 1976-1997 by John Boyd “He who can handle the quickest rate of change survives”
  • 17. A Discourse on Winning and Losing
 The Essence Keep competition off balance Build alliances Harmonize creativity & initiative Decide & learn in fast(er) cycles @erik_schon #ALD2019 Chet Richards @FuentesDeOnoro
  • 18. Keep Competition
 Off Balance Observe Orient Decide Act Change situations faster than competition can figure out, again & again ... OODA
 Loop
  • 19. Example
 Keep Competition Off Balance: Change situations faster than competition Develop and manufacture trucks faster, cheaper and with better quality @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 21. Observe Orient Decide Act Unfolding 
 circumstances Outside
 information IMPLICIT guidance & control Unfolding interactions with environment Use what we have learned and current strategy Learn new things, revise strategy AND break out of old habits, even if successful so far Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles Chet Richards @FuentesDeOnoro@erik_schon #ALD2019 Model of how the world is working
 Situational Awareness
  • 22. Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles
 Example: Regular Strategy Retro- & Prospectives March June September Current Situation? New Insights? Revise Strategy? Revise Targets? December @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 23. Decide and Learn in Fast(er) Cycles
 Example: Real-Time Management 08.00-08.15 Teams …… … … Daily Standups 08.45-09.00 CTO’s leadership team Issues that cannot be resolved 
 by CTO’s direct reports’ teams,
 solution plan reported back within 24 hours 08.15-08.30 Management teams ……… Issues that cannot be resolved
 by teams, solution plan
 reported back within 24 hours 08.30-08.45 CTO’s direct reports’ 
 management teams … Issues that cannot be resolved 
 by management teams,
 solution plan reported back within 24 hours @erik_schon #ALD2019 Create a CADENCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
  • 25. Characteristics 
 of a Map Visual Context-specific Position Components Anchor Movement x How can we
 do this in
 business? Katya Knyazeva
  • 26. Wardley Maps Visualize
 value chain evolution &
 enable strategic choices Market position? Competition
 
 Expected market changes?
 
 Focus? Strategic gameplays?
 
 In-house, off-the-shelf, outsource?
 Capabilities?
 Methodologies?
 Organization? Simon Wardley @swardley
  • 27. Wardley Maps Visualize
 value chain evolution &
 guide strategic choices Visual Context-specific Movement
 (Evolution) Position
 (Relative to Anchor) Component Anchor
 (User Needs) Simon Wardley @swardley
  • 28. Wardley Maps Expected market changes Focus Outsource Outsource In-House In-House Off-the-Shelf Off-the-Shelf Off-the-Shelf EXAMPLE: Gaming Visualize
 value chain evolution &
 guide strategic choices! Howard Rees @Howard_Rees
  • 29. Novel Emerging Good Best Evolution Find the right home Build the 
 thing right Client side build Build Server side 
 build PRACTICES Server side test Collaboration with
 database analysts Client side test ValueChainVisibleInvisible Wardley Maps Maturity Mapping:
 context-specific
 capability assessments Example: 
 Finding the right home
 in the housing market
 online
 
 Chris McDermott @chrisvmcd
  • 30. Simon Wardley @swardley 
 Faster MAP:
 User Need
 Value Chain
 Position
 Movement Anticipate change
 Economic patterns
 Competitors’ actions Study & use gameplay Study & use principles for 
 ways of operating, communicating & organizing Sun Tzu’s Five Factors
 Boyd’s OODA “Loop”
 Wardley Mapping
  • 32. Agile
 Ability to adapt to and influence new situations @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 33. Agility
 Ability to adapt to and influence new situations
 more rapidly than your competitors @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 34. Business
 Succeed together with your stakeholders @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 35. Business Agility
 Ability to adapt to and influence new situations
 more rapidly than your competitors
 in order to succeed together with your stakeholders @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 36. The Art of Strategy
 To succeed 
 by securing harmony among stakeholders and keeping competition off balance 
  through evolving better capabilities to adapt and map @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 37. The Art of Strategy
 To succeed 
 by securing harmony among stakeholders and keeping competition off balance 
  through evolving better capabilities to adapt and map What would YOU
 like to try? @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 38. The Art of Strategy
 To succeed 
 by securing harmony among stakeholders and keeping competition off balance 
  through evolving better capabilities to adapt and map Q&A @erik_schon #ALD2019
  • 39. For Further Learning Articles McDermott, Mapping Maturity (2018) Richards, Boyd’s OODA Loop. It’s Not What You Think (2018) Schön, Doing Strategy the Interactive & Flexible Way  (2018)
 Schön, The Art of Strategy — Introduction (2019) Wardley, An Introduction to Wardley (Value Chain) Mapping (2015) 
 Books Boyd, A Discourse on Winning and Losing (2018) Richards, Certain to Win (2004) Schön, The Art of Strategy (2019) Sun Tzu, The Art of War (2008) Wardley, Wardley Maps (2018) 
 Videos Richards, On OODA Loops, Adaptability & John Boyd (2012) Schön, Doing Strategy the Interactive & Flexible Way (2018) Wardley, Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones (2017) @erik_schon #ALD2019