There is some disagreement around the value of the creation of an Office of Strategy Management. Some years ago I suggested that there was a needed successor to the Program Manager role, that is, the Chief Benefits Officer. (Not meaning HR Benefits) That role, or in a larger organization the Strategy Management Office, is to be responsible for maximizing the potential from execution of any strategy. Since organizations fail at an alarming rate, the role would be to identify and remove barriers to success and continuously work to elevate Strategy 2 Execution capabilities. Note, I use Strategy 2 Execution (S2E), when I am referring to strategy to execution as a single integrated process, rather than the sum of its parts.
So why is a Strategy Management Office a good idea?
Strategy and its execution happen everywhere within an organization. But, no one can directly execute a strategy. This is especially true when it is embedded in a thick binder or PowerPoint presentation. A strategy needs to be translated into a set of high-level targeted outcomes. Outcomes achieved equal strategy achieved.
With this approach it is possible to identify the interim outcomes necessary to achieve the next highest one. Accountability can be moved to the local level by identifying coordinators for each interim outcome. It allows people at all levels of the organization to get enrolled in both the strategy and execution of an outcome.
You can think of an outcome and all the interim outcomes necessary to achieve it as an enterprise. We participate in various enterprises across the organization and have different types of roles in each one. You effectively have Strategy / Execution “Offices” for each outcome, over-seeing strategy and execution at a much more localized level. The Office of Strategy Management can assist these ad hoc Strategy / Execution “Offices” when they run into typical organizational road-blocks to success.
I’d claim that there are only a handful of people who go home at night worried about Corporate Performance Management. People all over the organization go home thinking about the performance of their specific outcome. It is the sum total of their execution that creates Corporate Performance. An Office of Strategy Management can help these enterprises be more successful in S2E.
There are some risks in setting up an Office of Strategy Management. You run the risk of having the weight of strategy management shift from the local levels where strategy and execution really connect, to some corner office with a great view, and best color printer in the building. The Office of Strategy Management is a great idea if its focus is on ensuring that S2E is improving execution success on an ever increasing basis.