A key Principle for Strategy 2 Execution success is that words and definitions matter, a lot.
We’d like to provide a subset of definitions from our customer materials: “The Language of Strategy 2 Execution”.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Expectations that are defined by a specific rather than relative target. E.g. project completion in 3 months, budget of $250,000, functional specification attached, etc. The opposite are relative expectations that have to do with a direction. E.g. project completion as fast as possible, the least cost of implementing possible, and the most value that can be achieved.
Additional targeted value
Value that can be targeted above normal three values of; specification, budget and timeframe. E.g. ease of implementation, cost sharing with alliance partners, …
A strategy that in the eyes of the leadership provide enough direction to allow managers and staff to plan and carry out the execution. It also provides at least the minimum valued required by the leadership team.
Possible if you formalize (discuss and write down) expectations using Qualities of Execution, but almost impossible if left informal.
A measurement-based strategic management system, originated by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, which provides a method of aligning business activities to the strategy, and monitoring performance of strategic goals over time. A method that focuses on measures that can define future success as compared to a focus on measures that identify past performance.
Basic Qualities of Execution
A sub-set of the Qualities of Execution that are based on the three most common agreements on execution of a project, that is “What to optimize”. Specification (or targeted value), budget and the time to accomplish it. These are changed from absolute measures (e.g. written specification of value to be achieved, a specified amount of money and a specific amount of time) to ‘greatest value possible, least amount of money, and shortest amount of time. Each of these Basic Qualities of Execution relative rather than absolute in nature.)
The first level of Basic to Great Strategy to Execution (S2E). The focus is on defining an enterprise that comprises the outcomes being targeted and the participants involved and ensuring that each Strategy to Execution sub-process in being used. (The description of each sub-process is in the appendices)
A formal approach to identifying targeted benefits or value from a strategy being executed and steering changes to tactics, assets being used in execution, and any other variables in order to actually realize the benefit.
Bi-directional information ripple
A focus on the information inputs and outputs of each process that exists between strategy formulation and project management and operations. It is a way to keep the strategy relevant over time as change occurs and is made in subsequent processes. Bi-directional means that information that is changed in a process is passed both to the process that would normally use that information, but also to the process that originally provided that information. This bi-directional rippling of information ensures that Strategy to Execution is seen as an integrated process. It provides individuals working who create information for other processes to know when that information has been changed within a subsequent process. This allows those individuals to make changes to the strategy, prioritization to stay in sync with changes that occur later. Thus the strategy stays relevant.
Bi-directional information or sub-process inputs and outputs
(Same as above)
A classical strategy and marketing approach whose theory is the Product Life Cycle concept. It states that business opportunities move through ‘life-cycle’ phases of introduction, growth, maturity and decline. They are cash poor at the beginning of their lives and require significant investment until they achieve widespread market acceptance. Meanwhile, mature business opportunities should generate a surplus of cash. A four quadrant graphic is frequently used to show products in each phase. (Modified internet definition)
A brand is one of the enterprise assets. It is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible, symbolized in a trademark, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence. “Value” has different interpretations: from a marketing or consumer perspective it is “the promise and delivery of an experience”; from a business perspective it is “the security of future earnings”; from a legal perspective it is “a separable piece of intellectual property.” Brands offer customers a means to choose and enable recognition within cluttered markets. (Modified internet definition)
It is one of the Qualities of Execution. It is the grouping of all expectations that are focused on having the results or performance of the outcome targeted impact more than one location, area, group or organizational body. E.g. if the result works here, we’d like the result to also work at the following locations or with the following groups. It serves to maximize a value above and beyond the initial targeted audience. There is usually a cost in time, budget or other resources in order to make the changes necessary to achieve Broader Impact
Buckets of initiatives
Groupings of initiatives (or tasks or deliverables) that together help ‘move the dial’ on closing a targeted performance gap. A set of these buckets of initiatives together is defined as what is necessary to completely close a targeted performance gap. A ‘Flying Bar chart’ is a way to depict how much each one of these buckets contributes to closing the whole gap.
The formal record of the targeted value(s), costs and any other information dictated by the organization. E.g. competition, alternatives considered, forecasted life of the new product capability or whatever is implemented. It is advantageous to use the business case as the document of record over the life of whatever is implemented to show value forecast, value realized, initial costs, operating or sustaining costs, and the plans to ‘sunset’ or shut it down after its useful or economically viable life.
Not meant just for business, but is a holder or proxy for all those things that we don’t control but that is important and affects some or all of the processes between strategy and execution and operations. We typically research and capture the ‘business context’ that affects the subject of the strategy, performance and outcomes that we are targeting. Context is the things that surround or have an impact on our thinking, plans and actions. Things that don’t affect in any meaningful way our strategy or execution is not context, it just is. Those things can be ignored. If they shouldn’t be ignored because they could have an impact on us, then they are in fact context.
Not meant just for business, but is a proxy or placeholder for any clear commanding and urgent requirement to follow a certain course of action. A business imperative could be a quality imperative dictated by customers in the marketplace
Description of the barriers that exist within companies and /government agencies due to organizational hierarchy. Individuals tend to work within organizational reporting chains or silos and have difficulty sharing resources and working towards common goals when working with individuals in other hierarchy chains or silos.
Chief Executive Officer – Used to define the top-level role within an organization. Typically the owner of the highest-level strategy of an organization. Is also ultimately responsible for the execution of the strategy. In Basic to Great Strategy to Execution is also responsible for having a formal analysis and point of view of the quality of the over-all strategy to execution process and each of the sub-processes that make it up. Is also responsible for the continuous improvement of the Strategy to Execution process.
Chief Financial Officer
A person who takes an inordinate interest in seeing that a particular outcome is achieved or a process or product is fully developed and marketed. The role varies from situations calling for little more than stimulating awareness of the opportunity to extreme cases where the champion tries to force a project past the strongly entrenched internal resistance of company policy or that of objecting parties. (Modified internet definition)
The initiatives or tasks that have been recommended or approved that have been identified as necessary to close an identified performance gap on some outcome. In some cases change initiatives may be defined as those initiatives that are focused on change that involve people related change.
Chief Information Officer
In the Basic to Great Strategy to Execution context is the stereotypical way others see us. This specifically includes our skills, dominant behaviors, likeability, and ability to get things done. Our cliché is not something we can easily control and most don’t try to control. In choosing resources to participate or lead in strategy to execution, it is the shorthand version of information about us that is used to determine whether we are suitable or not for a particular S2E role. Our cliché is particularly of interest when associated with a targeted Quality of Execution. If the Quality of Execution targets a particular type of behavior, then we are either chosen to participate by the good match our cliché would provide, or in an advanced organization used to being guided by Qualities of Execution allows individuals to move from their primary or cliché behaviors to the ‘right’ behaviors. By formalizing the Qualities of Execution it permits individuals to understand the ‘right’ behaviors and leadership approach and therefore be more aligned to the behaviors and approach dictated by the targeted Quality of Execution.
The knowledge, skills, abilities that when put into action allow the organization to carry out a job, and to carry it out very well.
Expectations of different individuals or different expectations from the same individual that mutually contribute to a common choice of actions and assets that well together to achieve some targeted outcome. See Conflicting expectations to understand the opposite.
Expectations of different individuals or different expectations from the same individual that work against each other or point to very different choices of actions and assets that work against each other and reduce the chance of successfully achieving some targeted outcome. See Complementary expectations to understand the opposite.
Whatever can be identified as limiting factors in any assumed actions designed to close some performance gap and achieve a targeted outcome
A strategy/-planning tool focused on a narrow option or subject. It is depicted as a line on a page with a description placed at each end of the line that describes the two extremes of the state of that subject. Additional descriptions can be placed at points between these two extremes showing other states. Participants are frequently asked where they think the organization currently is (i.e. at what state) and what the targeted state or outcome should be. Marks are placed on the line of the continuum to depict the current and targeted states. The continuum can show either a single pair of marks showing the current and targeted states/ outcomes for that subject, or it can show many pairs of opinion from various participants to show the variation of opinion.
Chief Operating Officer
Creating a Culture of Discipline
Creating a culture or habit based on visible and continuous re-enforcement from the top levels of the organization that what is agreed upon is done and when it isn’t it is noticed and dealt with in a professional way. Being dealt with means encouraging escalation when there are conflicting demands on time and resources, and providing prior notice of anyone’s inability to meet commitments. It is a culture that is based on creating meaningful objectives based on the right level of insight on what it takes to accomplish something. It also deals with the issues of having the right mix between being accountable for something and having the resources to be able to do it. It means when something isn’t done as agreed, that providing prior notice so others can help get it done or make necessary course corrections.
Cross-silo leadership team
A leadership team that is made up of individuals from different organizational hierarchies. In other words they don’t necessarily report into the same management. This means that it is often more difficult to achieve a decision on escalated issues. It is also more likely that each leader has many objectives that are not common and that they are only coming together to execute a single common outcome. This means that there are likely other outcomes that are competing for both the leader’s time and the resources they control
Chief Technology Officer
A proxy or placeholder for any role that begins with Chief. I.e. CEO, CFO, COO, CIO. Can also include vice presidents in situations where they control substantial assets. The reason for creating this acronym is to represent any role in the organization that has direct discretionary control over a sizable budget and assets. Outside of a business context this is a placeholder for any of the group of people at the top that have true control.
A management tool used to report on performance. Called a dashboard because it typically has a number of graphics to represent the current and forecasted performance that can be quickly scanned and a high-level understanding of performance can be reached. Dashboards show the critical performance information that an organization uses to either understand past performance or to understand the set of measures that should be indicators of future performance. This last type of dashboard is the type used with a particular type of dashboard called a Balanced Scorecard dashboard.
The planned tangible or intangible results that are created by carrying out some task, action, initiative, or intervention.
In the Basic to Great Strategy to Execution context of strategy mapping it is identification of the linkages between higher and lower level outcomes. Higher-level outcomes are dependent on their interim outcomes. Strategy mapping uses lines with arrows to identify which outcomes are interim outcomes of higher-level outcomes.
See creating a culture of discipline
In the Basic to Great context of moving from a strategy to its execution and operation, it is the way that individuals working on different sub-processes try to improve on the information they received as output from a previous process. Disruptive improvement is where the ‘improvement’ they make is based on their sense that they understand the issues better than the individuals working on the previous process. They may believe that they have better insight or experience. They likely believe that they are providing improvements where in fact they are in effect voiding the work of the previous group. If there is bi-directional information linking, this group will be provided with an alert that a change has been made to the deliverables used as outputs and can respond with agreement or disagreement to the improvements. Where there is no bi-direction information ripple, this serves as a disruption to over-all strategy to execution legitimacy and ultimately disruptive to the end result.
The ability to move from higher-levels to more detailed levels of information
All of the sub-processes involved in taking a vision and/or strategy through to execution and operation. The key point is that end-to-end S2E is looking at the over-all S2E first and only secondarily the sub-processes by themselves. People tend to study each sub-process on their own without regard to end-to-end strategy to execution.
See the detailed explanation in Basic S2E. The summary definition is that the enterprise is that subset of an organization that is organized on an ad hoc basis to participate in each of the S2E sub-processes. All participants regardless of their organizational hierarchy and even if they are employees or partners, are part of the enterprise if they are an engaged participant or can affect S2E success or failure. It can be that they are involved in decision making, providing resources or participating directly. The can be champions, sponsors or users. Every organization has multiple enterprises and each person in the organization is likely to be working on more than one enterprise if they are involved in more than one un-related outcome.
This is the sum of all of the elements included in the strategy map for a particular high-level outcome (outcomes, initiatives/deliverables, outcome owners, performance gaps, dependencies, assumptions/risks). It also entails the approvals associated with the standard planning cycle, budgetary and approval processes. It is the definition of exactly what the enterprise has agreed to do and by definition through what is not in the Enterprise Agenda, of what the enterprise has agreed not to do.
This is the set of all assets available to an enterprise. It is a sub-set of all of the assets that an organization has available if some are not available to the enterprise that is focused on a particular outcome. In the Language of Execution context it also includes more intangible assets such as the right behaviors and the right process. When they can be identified and targeted using Qualities of Execution, they are not random behaviors or processes, etc., they are targeted and provide value beyond what is normal within an organization that hasn’t found a way to capture the value of formalized and targeted expectations.
Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)
Enterprise Performance Management is a new concept that re-focuses Corporate Performance Management (CPM) at the enterprise level. It is based on the concept that success or failure of real performance occurs wherever execution is taking place. Corporate Performance success is based on the sum of all effectively aligned enterprise performance. The Language of Execution is focused on enterprise performance. It is designed to be scalable from the smallest enterprise to the largest enterprise. The largest enterprise is the corporation and is where EPM and CPM are the same thing.
CPM is focused at such a high level, that there are many barriers to bringing in that competency and any associated systems and tools. EPM is scaled to individual enterprises and so can much more easily be brought into an organization. Resulting success can then be used to expand the capabilities and discipline across and up the corporation hierarchy.
Enterprise Resource Planning. Most often thought of in the context of one of the enterprise wide software systems that captures information across the enterprise and allows the enterprise to make planning and tactical decisions. There are a few key vendors in this are such as, SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle.
Economic Value Added (EVA) is a measure of surplus value created on an investment. It is closest in both theory and construct to the net present value of a project in capital budgeting, as opposed to the IRR. (Internet definition)
Leveraging the assets that are available to an enterprise and how well they are made to work together to ‘move the dial’ on performance gaps to enable, achieve and sustain all the targeted outcomes, deliverables etc.
Failure to meet the expectations of execution. A narrow definition would be achieving the target specification or value on time, and on budget. In the context of Basic to Great Strategy to Execution it is a wider definition that includes failure to meet key stakeholder expectations. It is only possible avoid execution failure in this context if these key or passionately held expectations are formalized (discussed and written down) and targeted.
Expectations (also see individual definitions for various types of expectations)
Typically personally held ideas around the execution of some targeted outcomes that in the opinion or feeling of that individual provides value to them personally or to the organization. Basic to Great Strategy to Execution creates the distinction that the only expectations worth being concerned about are those that are named ‘passionately held expectations’. These are the expectations that in the opinion of the one who holds them define success or failure of the S2E depending on whether their passionately held expectations are met or not.
Flying bar chart
See Buckets of initiatives
Formal targeted outcome
An outcome that has been formally described, has a performance gap that needs to be closed, and through formal agreement after prioritization and resourcing has been targeted by the enterprise for execution.
An organization that carries out and sells their research and provides consulting services predominantly in area affected or provided by information technology.
An organization that carries out and sells their research and provides consulting services predominantly in area affected or provided by information technology.
The second maturity level of The Language of Execution. It focuses primarily on ensuring that there are formalized links of input and output information between the various S2E sub-processes. It is based on the notion of having ‘one version of the truth’ for key information used in the execution of strategy. It also supports a formalized decision process regarding intended improvements to any sub-process between strategy and execution and operations. Good S2E insists on optimization at the top S2E level rather than at the sub-process level where an improvement might have a negative impact on the over-all end-to-end S2E process.
Basic to Great
A management book created by James Collins that provides key insights and recommendations on how a company can move from the mere good to a great company. He defines both levels and provides fact-based suggestions on what was common between those companies that made the transition from Basic to Great. Basic to Great Strategy to Execution provides a recommendation on how an organization can move from Basic to Great Strategy to Execution. In this its initial edition it is based on observation and a logical argument that leaders in strategy and execution can use to make significant improvement.
Goodwill represents the monetary value placed on a non-physical asset. In acquisition accounting, goodwill represents the premium value placed on an intangible asset such as a brand name, customer base, or management team. Goodwill generally is calculated as the purchase price for a company over the fair market value of the assets acquired. In The Language of Execution it includes those intangible assets that become assets because they can be targeted based on guidance from targeted Qualities of Execution. (Modified from an internet definition)
Concept originally used by specialists in medieval English society, which was characterized by cooperation between the different sources of power (church, nobility, merchants, peasants, etc.). During the 1980s the World Bank took up the concept of governance to describe the way power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources. At the heart of discussions about governance are terms such as responsibility, information, transparency, and the rule of law. Governance does not refer to political power in the strict sense. It is not the art of administration at a given level of power, but the art of coordinating administration between different territorial levels. In a business it is often the focus on the decision right of different individuals or groups associated with the identified key decisions that come up in a process.
The third and most innovative level of Basic to Great Strategy to Execution. Relying on the basics of strategy to execution processes, it provides the insights, methods and tools to identify complementary or conflicting expectations, group them for effective management and targeting, and be used as a guide to selecting the appropriate assets for use in execution. It also provides the way to deal with changing expectations via Qualities of Execution through the duration of moving from strategy to execution and to adjust to the new appropriate assets for execution.
A key concept from James Collin’s book Basic to Great. At a high-level it is one of a set of recommendations (using a hedgehog analogy) that explains what a company should focus its products and services on and how to choose this focus.
The outcomes that are closest to the definition of what the enterprise values and has targeted. It is high-level in the sense that there are interim or lower-level outcomes that the higher-level outcome is dependent upon.
The highest-level outcome for the enterprise. The enterprise is defined by that high-level outcome and all of the interim outcomes and the participant and initiatives necessary to achieve successful S2E of that enterprise outcome. There are many high-level enterprise outcomes in an organization. For some group of people their high-level enterprise outcome is the interim-enterprise outcome that feeds a higher-level outcome. Since they are part of that higher-level outcome, they are also part of that enterprise.
The highest-level outcome for the organization. The organization has some high-level outcome(s) that are widely understood and followed by everyone in the organization. All enterprise outcomes are part of the organization’s highest-level outcome. There is only one highest-level outcome in an organization. All other outcomes are enterprise outcomes and are interim outcomes to the HLOo.
Expectations that remain personally held, possibly shared but in no way agreed upon, formalized, or targeted. While they remain informal they cannot be targeted by the participants of the enterprise and the value that they represent cannot be formally realized in any ROI type calculation.
See bi-directional information ripple
The process where the outcomes have been defined and a group of subject matter expert work together to define groups or buckets of the initiatives, deliverables and activities that together have the ability to completely close the identified performance gap of the outcome. A subsequent prioritization process deals with resource and other constraints and typically reduces the total number of initiatives and so the performance gap that the approved set of initiatives can close is re-calculated.
The final and highest level of change within the Patterson-Connor Commitment (Change Adoption) Curve
Benefits produced by an project or achieving an outcome or an investment that are not immediately obvious and/or measurable (modified internet definition)
Outcomes as defined in a strategy map that are required to achieve higher-level outcomes
In the context of Basic to Great Strategy to Execution the set of processes that complete the chain of processes moving from vision/strategy formulation through to project management and operations. These processes become sub-processes when viewed from the level of a single process called ‘strategy to execution’ or S2E. They are inter-linking in the sense that information is passed from one sub-process to the next where the information is used for some purpose and then provided as an output. A subsequent and inter-linked sub-process then uses that information as an input and so on.
A type of initiative used to close a performance gap on an outcome that usually has the objective of changing the behavior or one or more individuals. The Patterson-Connor Commitment Curve uses planned interventions to move people from one level of commitment to the next.
Depending on the audience, the definition for taxonomy may need some adjustment. For a speech to a CIO and technical professionals: Taxonomy is a conceptual framework for organizing enterprise or companywide content so our employees, partners, and customers can locate what they need easily. For conversations with friends and families at a dinner party: Taxonomy is about how to organize, label, and arrange information so that you can find the information you need easily, as demonstrated by Yahoo’s directory listing. (Internet definition)
A clear commanding and urgent requirement to follow a certain course of action within the area of IT (information technology). It is typically directly related to a business imperative that has an IT requirement and thus becomes an IT imperative in order to ensure that the business imperative is met. An IT imperative without a direct business imperative is a rarity.
Those parts of an organization’s intangible assets that relate specifically to knowledge, such as know-how, best practices, intellectual property and the like. Knowledge assets are often divided into human (people, teams, networks and communities), structural (the codified knowledge that can be found in processes and procedures) and technological (the technologies that support knowledge sharing such as databases and intranets). By understanding the knowledge assets an organization possesses, the organization can improve its ability to use them to best effect and also to spot any gaps that may exist. (Internet definition). In The Language of Execution, knowledge assets are as described but with the special emphasis on the fact that if deployed using the strategy map as the taxonomy for accessing knowledge assets, the knowledge assets can have a profound positive affect on S2E. By creating a ‘ruthless alignment’ of knowledge assets to the enterprise agenda a firm can leverage much higher value from knowledge assets.
The fourth level of The Language of Execution. See Knowledge Assets
A management consulting firm
Levels of maturity
Levels of increasing capability/ competency. In The Language of Execution context this corresponds to the four levels of maturity.
The ability to see the linkage between any work being done or deliverables being created through any set of targeted and approved outcomes that reach to the very highest-level outcome of the organization. It is key in ensuring that the work being done is of clear-targeted benefit not a pet project. It provides the ability to ensure that incentives are also correctly aligned. The inverse, that is, a project that doesn’t have line-of-sight means that it is of questionable value, possibly a pet project or is at risk of being in limbo as leaders determine what the outcomes are that make up the strategy map and what projects need to be done and are approved.
The amount of time that any manager or group of managers have available for an opportunity or problem. It is associated with the Basic to Great guiding principal that ‘there are more problem worth solving and more opportunities worth going after than any organization has resources for. These are real constraints. One of the over-looked and informal constraints is that management/ leaders can only deal with so much, and has to say no to what are actually worthy pursuits.
To better represent the challenges of service-orientation, and therefore service marketing, McKinsey developed the 7S model, which is a framework for analyzing and improving organizational effectiveness. The three ‘hard’ Ss are:
- Strategy – The long-term vision of organizational direction and scope.
- Structure – The organization of the company, its departments, reporting lines, responsibility, areas of expertise, and how they inter-relate.
- Systems – formal and informal procedures and business processes that govern everyday activity. These include management information and billing systems, manufacturing processes, through to systems at the point of customer contact (retail systems, call centers, web sites, etc).
The four Ss across the bottom of the model are less tangible, and more cultural in nature. McKinsey calls these soft Ss.
- Skills – The capabilities and competencies that exist within the organization. These provide an indication of what the company does best.
- Shared Values – The organization’s values and beliefs. Ultimately they guide employees towards “valued” behavior.
- Staff – The organization’s people resources, how they are trained, developed and motivated.
- Style – The leadership approach of top management and the organization’s overall operating approach. (Internet definition)
Measure of Return
A placeholder for whatever the formal measure that an enterprise values. ROI is used in The Language of Execution as a proxy for measure of return on investment in initiatives to support outcomes.
At the Great level of S2E, it is the proxy for successful execution. It represents the value beyond just achieving the targeted value, on time, and on budget. It is based on the Language of Execution premise that you can realize even ‘Greater’ value if you can formally target expectation and realize them. This is based on the Basic to Great argument that expectations are things that people value and so if they can be formally targeted they can be added to ROI. The Language of Execution accomplishes this through targeting Qualities of Execution
A formalized repeatable set of steps that when exercised provide a predictable consistent result. By employing a methodology an organization gains greater consistency of results through work done by people who can be trained in the methodology. A methodology typically steps which have defined purpose, inputs, outputs, and deliverables.
In the Language of Execution context, the formal identification of the units that are to be used to measure a performance gap of an outcome. Since each outcome should identify a performance gap, it is important to identify how you will know when the gap is closed. It is also important to identify how you will measure the gap. That is, it must be possible, affordable, and an effective use of resources to put in place whatever it takes to capture and report back on the measure.
Move the dial
An expression of how much impact any initiative contributes to closing a performance gap.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely-used personality inventory, or test, employed in vocational, educational, and psychotherapy settings to evaluate personality type (internet definition)
One version of the truth
A system of record, one set of data that can be referred to by all participants for the official definition of any important S2E data. To ensure “one version of the truth” across an organization there must be a system of record that must be integrated with systems that manage S2E. Basic to Great also argues that the version of the truth, remain in the media that it was agreed to. That is, if the financial case for a system as in a PowerPoint document, then the financial case section of the PowerPoint document should be the version of the truth. Detailed financials can be shown as links to that presentation, but the actual version of the truth remains in the original media.
The part of the over-all organizational strategy that is focused on operations rather than the creation of new capabilities
The total entity. Enterprises are considered the sub set of organizational units that are focused on targeted outcomes that all together form the complete set of outcomes for the organization.
This has two definitions within The Language of Execution. The first is the standard definition that is the agreement by individuals across an organization to follow some course of action or change and to positively support it in actions and words. The second definition is as one of the Qualities of Execution. It is a wider definition of organization. It refers to a target group (internal to the organization or external) whose buy-in is essential to meet the expectations of the stakeholders. It could be a group of customers, users, management peers, alliance partners, and employees. As the target for a Quality of Execution it is necessary to specifically define who that organization is from whom we need buy-in.
Organizational S2E maturity
See levels of maturity
Outcome owner or coordinator
The identify of the individual who is held accountable by the enterprise for the successful S2E of an outcome. This individual (not a group by The Language of Execution rules) can also be a coordinator, or owner depending on the semantics/ culture of the organization, but someone is responsible for managing the success of the outcome. There are a number of specific duties.
Expectations that happen to be the same as grouped by Qualities of Execution. Various individuals will have widely varied expectations, when grouped into Qualities of Execution it is possible to see whether expectations are overlapping (complementary) or potentially conflicting.
Patterson-Connor Commitment (Change Adoption) Curve
A framework that describes the steps that individuals go through, as they are first made aware of an impending change through to institutionalization of the change. It is used to help identify the initiatives or interventions that should be put in place to ensure that people’s commitment to the change levels occur.
Passionately held expectation
An expectation held by an individual that if unmet during S2E or at the end of execution mean that for them the S2E was not a success. XXX failed to meet my expectation. In the context of Great S2E it is the level of success above just meeting the basic targeted value, on time and within the budget. Passionately held expectations if unmet may result in the individual not considering the execution a success.
A holding spot for initiatives that have no direct link or line-of-sight to the highest-level outcome of the organization. After creating a strategy map and carrying out an assessment of all initiatives, those that do not have a clear connection to the highest-level outcome or is redundant, is put in the penalty box until its resolution is determined. This does not mean that it is stopped but that is put under scrutiny and its value identified and future determined.
Perfect alignment of expectations
An impossible state of alignment of expectations. Organizations work in an environment with multiple key stakeholders and formalize only a few. Yet success can be determined as a function of whether key stakeholder expectations are met.
The objective of initiatives is to close performance gaps on targeted outcomes. After creating a strategy map of outcomes and their dependencies, the next step is to identify the measure and the size of the performance gap. The initiatives are designed to match the size of the performance gap.
See benefits management
The performance target for each outcome. The gap is the difference between the current state of performance to the target. Also see Metrics
The fundamental principal of Basic to Great Strategy to Execution. A set of performance objectives is defined. A strategy defined to meet the performance objectives. The strategy is translated to the outcomes necessary to achieve the strategy. Gaps in current to target performance are identified and initiatives are defined that together will close any performance gaps. All of the sub-processes between strategy and execution are designed and carried out to meet the highest-level performance objectives. It is a performance-based method.
Describes a framework for the analysis a range of macro environmental factors including the Political, Economical Social and Technological environment, sometimes used in strategy formulation
Projects or initiatives that do not have clear line of sight connection to targeted outcomes that have been agreed to by the enterprise leadership. That is, they where not clearly identified and approved by the wider leadership group as the way that constrained assets will be used. (Also see line-of-sight)
Peters and Waterman
Eight themes developed by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman used in strategy formulation
A bias for action, Close to the customer, Autonomy and entrepreneurship, Productivity through people, Hands-on, value-driven, Stick to the knitting, Simple form, lean staff, Simultaneous loose-tight properties
Populated strategy map
A strategy map that has been used as an organizing structure to communicate many information attributes of S2E. A software tool can show the strategy map in various configurations showing any particular type of information. That is, showing outcomes, deliverables, performance gaps, outcome owners, deliverables that have to do with changes in process, technology, applications, etc.
Porter’s 5 Forces
A model to use to analyze a particular environment of an industry, to help us find out about: 1) Competitive Rivalry 2) Power of suppliers 3) Power of buyers 4) Threats of substitutes 5) Threat of new entrants. The above five main factors are key factors that influence industry performance. (Internet definition)
[use an internet definition]
Predictive modeling of the value of realized expectations
A mathematical formula including variables representing the value contribution of each of the Qualities of Execution that is a predictor of the potential value that can be realized by targeting an set of Qualities of Execution.
The process of ordering set of outcomes or initiatives based on a set of criteria and weighting of the amount that that outcome or initiative contributes to the criteria. The concept of relative and hierarchal prioritization can provide higher level of prioritization quality. Tools that provide the ability to carry out ‘what-if’ scenarios provide even further value.
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See Qualities of Execution.
Qualities of Execution
Quality(ies) of Execution. A way to group the extra value that can be provided to any outcome being executed. The same Qualities of Execution are a representation of passionately held expectations. By targeting specific Qualities of Execution, it is possible to manage expectation and /or realize added value.
A governance, or decision making model and process that assigns decision rights to different roles. The roles are:
- (C)onsulted and
For each key decision in a process there are individuals with roles where they are either accountable that the decision is in fact taken, or responsible for making the decision, or to be consulted before the decision is taken, or informed of the decision.
Expectations that are associated with a direction. E.g. faster or fastest possible, or clearest or clearer, or lower cost or lowest cost. Qualities of Execution are based on the fact that there are expectations when translated to formal and absolute expectations become part of a nominal contract. E.g. $5,000 budget, completed in 5 months, or there will be reports provided every month end. Qualities of Execution are based on the fact that, regardless of agreements, individuals actually hold these absolute expectations as relative expectations. E.g. spend as little as possible (but certainly no more than $5000), completed as fast as possible, but certainly no longer than 5 months, and keep us very informed, be sure to keep the process ‘transparent’ and be sure to provide reports at least once per month.
A method whereby a set of outcomes, objectives, deliverables, Qualities of Execution or alternatives are compared one against the other and ranked as to their relative importance. As a result there is a relative ranking of importance among them. The ranking can also be of other considerations such as relative preference (.e.g. see Expert Choice tools as an example)
One of the most critical and frequently poorly implemented Strategy to Execution sub-processes within an organization. It is the process where any request for work or even a request for an estimate is logged evaluated and processed in a number of ways until it is approved, rejected, or put on hold. It is the way that organizations can understand the total demand on resources, the value each request has to the organization and provides the ability to determine what resources to make available or apply.
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Rich strategy map
A basic strategy map that is enhanced and used as the structure and organizing framework to capture and communicate and link to as much S2E information about each outcome and initiative as effective and possible.
These are specific assets that have been chosen for execution based on richer insight. By targeting specific Qualities of Execution it is possible to identify the ‘right’ asset rather than an asset to be used. This is true in the case of tangible assets, but provides a new pragmatic way of also targeting assets such as the right leadership behaviors and the right process for a specific Quality of Execution.
Right enterprise assets
See Appropriate assets. Enterprise asset is a sub-set of all assets since enterprises are defined as sub-sets within an organization. Enterprises don’t have access to all the assets of the organization so when considering the assets to use, focus on those they have access to.
Right leadership behaviors
See example in Appropriate assets. E.g. For a targeted Quality of Execution of Speed, the right leadership behavior would not be done that rigorously focuses on every bureaucratic process step, where a targeted Quality of Execution of Certainty would point to attention to detail.
Return on Capital Employed. A proxy/ placeholder for any targeted measure of value within the discussions of the Language of Execution method and framework.
Return on Investment. A proxy/ placeholder for any targeted measure of value within the discussions of the Language of Execution method and framework.
Ruthless alignment (of knowledge assets to the enterprise agenda)
A way to significantly increase the value of all assets used in the execution of strategy. The opposite of a search engine that provides as much information to as many people as possible. A response to the search engine model that provides hundreds or thousands of results for searches and overwhelms users.
In the realm of execution of strategy, there are few but critical knowledge assets that can provide extreme value. The Language of Execution shows how to create a ruthless alignment of knowledge assets to closing performance gaps on specific outcomes. (i.e. only knowledge assets with a laser like focus on assisting execution). It is accomplished by identifying the key knowledge assets that have a direct contribution to successful execution. These knowledge assets are individually identified by participants in the enterprise and linked to the appropriate outcomes or initiatives in the associated strategy map. The outcome owner is responsible for identifying desired knowledge assets and filtering contributed knowledge assets for value.
Strategy to Execution. The essence of The Language of Execution is focused on the end-to-end movement from strategy to execution as the level to focus and optimize on rather than at the sub-process level.
A measurable assessment of the capability to successfully execute strategy at a level well above average. Independent research shows a high level of failure to meet expectations in execution. S2E is focused on significantly improving success in meeting expectation.
S2E information object
Key pieces of information that is critical for any S2E sub-process for input, decision-making or as the output of an S2E sub-process. Information objects or elements can be subsets e.g. paragraphs or pictures or spreadsheets within larger documents.
S2E spatial hyper-linking
A navigation capability within the storage of S2E information objects. It is based on creation and maintenance of ‘one version of the truth’ so that it is possible to navigate logically from one S2E information object to another based on their pre-defined relationship. E.g. ability to move from an outcome to the strategic theme that spawned it. Ability to move from the outcome to the deliverables that will close its performance gap.
Alternative approaches to achieve the same outcome that can be considered for execution. It is also possible to start multiple scenarios in execution with the expectation that one will be assessed as preferable and the other scenarios will be shut down.
An organization or individual that is typically separate from the main S2E execution team but is ‘plugged-in’ to provide specific services or capabilities.
Benefits that are for a single organization hierarchy (silo). It requires very few resources from sources it doesn’t control or leadership cooperation from other organizational hierarchies.
A euphemism for a document type (presentation slides) frequently used by consulting organizations and within leadership groups to present strategies. A concern is that often the strategy communicated through slide-ware fails successfully make the translation through all the S2E sub-processes to successful operation and the targeted performance and benefits achieved.
Subject Matter Expert. SME’s are typically used in providing input and carrying out analysis in strategy formulation and in the identification of the initiatives necessary to close an identified performance gap for an outcome.
Solving world hunger
An expression used as an analogy for taking on a virtually impossible task.
See S2E spatial hyper-linking
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Those individuals and their expectations that must be considered as to whether they were met. They become the basis for deciding if the execution of the strategy was a success or failure.
Strategic information objects
See S2E information objects
The individual areas of the strategy that have unique outcomes or areas of focus. Often within a strategy there are individual areas that may become individual programs. These typically can be translated into the second level of outcomes that support the highest-level outcome of the over-all strategy
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A group of leaders that have the responsibility to discuss identify and deal with strategic issues. They should have meetings that are separate from ‘business as usual meetings and not be extensions of standard executive management team meetings. They should work in conjunction with a formal tactical council that elevates strategic issues for their consideration. They should also pass strategic decisions or requests for subject matter expert analysis of strategic issues to the tactical council.
The sub-process that is focused on taking business context and performance objectives and going through a process to create a strategy (and strategic alternatives). This is typically a text, graphic, and financial document that needs translation to move to initiatives whose business cases are to be prioritized.
A graphical representation of a strategy and the translation of its logical outcomes. It is an effective way to carry out the difficult task of translating a general strategy narrative to much more specific outcomes that can be taken by teams to implement. The Language of Execution uses a very generic strategy map with few rules as the best way to communicate the logic necessary to execute a strategy. The balanced scorecard The Language of Execution uses the guideline to use the strategy map as a way to communicate whichever outcomes are necessary and important to achieve the performance identified by the highest-level outcome
Strategy to execution
S2E: Strategy to Execution. The essence of The Language of Execution is focused on the end-to-end movement from strategy to execution as the level to focus and optimize on rather than at the sub-process level.
A simple draft written proposed idea/ concept intended to generate discussion of its advantages and disadvantages and to provoke the generation of new and better-proposed idea/ concept. Sometimes called a straw-dog or other variation.
Subject Matter Expert
The act of substituting or making significant improvements to an S2E sub-process without consideration as to whether the higher end-to-end S2E is being optimized. It is associated with the concept that changing sub-processes with the idea of improvement can actually reduce the quality of S2E or successful execution.
Sub-process group prejudice
Different groups are typically involved in carrying out each of the S2E sub-processes. These groups tend to have their own prejudices and preferences. There may be a distrust of the knowledge of the previous S2E sub-process group, and therefore their resulting outputs, deliverables, and supporting rational are seen as suspect or dismissed.
Processes that when connected or integrated to a common purpose together create a higher-level process. E.g. the process of formulating a strategy through to its execution, project management and transition to operations is made up of a set of sub-processes. The sub-processes can be optimized for improvement or as The Language of Execution supports; they should be optimized to ensure that the high-level S2E process is improved.
The last phase of an assets lifecycle. The process of taking an asset out of service once its usable and economical life is expended. It is typically a slow deliberate planned process (hence the allusion to a sunset)
The plan to ensure that the value or benefits achieved from assets employed following the execution of a strategy continue to be achieved over the planned lifetime of the strategy and the associated assets used to deploy the strategy.
Swapping out sub-processes
See Sub-process churn
Classic strategy formulation technique to analyze an organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
A group of managers whose role is to identify and manage and deploy capabilities that are needed across the organization to enhance tactical execution of approved projects. As a group they form a council and meet regularly to deal with tactical issues that impact the whole or multiple organizational hierarchies within the organization.
Benefits that are recognized and captured based on classic accounting rules. They are typically based on the value that is readily measurable through orthodox and non controversial means
The translation of a strategy narrative to the outcomes necessary to achieve the strategy. They represent a performance level of something that needs to be achieved and typically a performance gap that therefore requires initiatives or work to be carried out to close the performance gap. The distinction between an objective and an outcome is one is a declaration of an aspiration that may have unknown constraints and barriers that cause it not to be achieved. An outcome the definition of a distinctive result and holds no reserve for constraints or unforeseen barriers. An outcome assumes that any barriers or constraints will be dealt with through additional targeted outcomes designed to remove or create detours around the constraint /barrier.
A definition of a type of work that is of a lower order than an initiative and on a par with an activity.
At its simplest definition within The Language of Execution, the pre-defined structure/ organization that is created that information will be organized around. In Basic to Great Knowledge-based S2E it refers specifically to the use of the strategy map as the taxonomy for S2E information objects.
A tool used in management reporting to provide a quick assessment of whether some project or task is within appropriate status. It is a graphically represented by a traffic light. Showing the Green light on means all is ok, Yellow light on means caution, still in-status, but risks that need to be dealt with to ensure it stays in service, and Red light means that the project/ task is out of status and either has remedial work being carried out or needs immediate management attention. The traffic light graphic allows a manager to quickly scan a whole set of project and their traffic lights and easily see the yellow and reds. These can then be focused on.
The ability to readily see and understand what is occurring and what is causing the performance levels of a process, outcome or initiative. The opposite is a ‘black-box’ operation where all the activity is taking place out of sight and there is no ability to understand whether progress is being made on closing any performance gap.
Expectation that are informally held by individuals and therefore cannot be targeted by a group. It is virtually impossible to meet or achieve untargeted expectations.
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Work in the system
A distinction of types of work “on” or “in” the system. Work “in” the system is daily routine work that is carried out to operate the processes and systems needed for normal operations.
Work on the system
A distinction of types of work “on” or “in” the system. Work “on” the system is project work that is carried out to create a new capability or service and has a start and end.
A research and consulting firm that provides industry research predominantly in information technology