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Using Strategic Imperatives to Drive Team/Organization Development

A huge problem with many planning activities is that management teams invest a lot of time and effort in setting their key objectives and goals for the coming year (often as part of their budgeting process) and then fall down on following through and implementing those plans Like New Year’s resolutions, it’s a confusion of good intentions with actually changing habits and doing something differently to get different results.

Following a management team retreat, our consulting and training group has had a lot of success with using Strategic Imperative Teams as a key mechanism for moving plans to effective follow through and action. It starts with identifying Strategic Imperatives and then cascading these through every part of that department, division, or entire organization.

This diagram gives a high level overview of the typical flow. It starts at the centre with the management establishing, reaffirming, or revitalizing their Vision, Values, and Purpose (Focus and Context).

A Strategic Imperative is an initiative, key project, or major objective that is high leverage and systemic (strategic) and a must-do (imperative) over the next 6 – 12 months to significantly move a team/organization toward its vision and desired culture.

Our process for implementing Strategic Imperatives is to form teams for each imperative using this template:

  • Executive sponsor/owner
  • Team leader
  • Possible Team members
  • Team mandate/charter
  • Timelines/stages

Once the teams are set and their mandate/charter agreed to by the larger executive or steering team overseeing this work, each Strategic Imperative Team then develops and manages:

  • Development of a detailed implementation plan
  • Execution

Later in Chapter Ten and onward through the rest of Moose on the Table I tried to illustrated how the central character, Pete Leonard used the Strategic Imperatives Team approach to bring about transformational change in his department. If you’ve read the book, you can see a short video clip here of me explaining the rationale for Chapter Ten. (scroll down and clip on the Chapter Ten screen shot).