Introducing Continuous Strategy
Continuous Strategy is a radically different and more mature state of the strategy creation and communication process where organisations generate and publish their enterprise strategy in real-time, on demand, at the click of a button. McKinsey and Gartner talk along similar lines, called “Emergent Strategy” and “Continuous Foresight” respectively.
Continuous Strategy takes the episodic “traditional strategy” and makes it a continuous business-as-usual process whereby strategy becomes the DNA of the company, with no defined endpoint or target end state, capable of generating a current and relevant strategy snapshot on-demand, when the Board and other stakeholders want it.
With the relentless pace of change today, barring some exceptions, it no longer optimal to define fixed, rigid target states and tie-up resources to achieving such states over long timespans only to discover the goalposts have moved during that time. The world’s best companies that practice Continuous Strategy:
Continuous Strategy cannot be achieved with the current toolset of email, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. It needs a powerful digital platform that enables real-time collaboration between the Board, CIO, and executive leadership teams with internal and external experts on a purpose-built platform that continuously collates information into self-updating strategy stories, insights, and views that tell stakeholders what is happening right now, imminently and in the long term. Xirocco makes this possible.
|Characteristic||Traditional Strategy||Continuous Strategy|
|Frequency||Is an episodic, triggered activity, every 2, 3 or 5 years. Created in response to request from Board or by new CIO in role.||Is a perpetual activity. Performed continuously as a BAU activity by every employee as part of their daily responsibilities.|
|Relevancy||Ages immediately on creation, with multiple, out-of-sync copies, versions. A “last known” strategy is often available, quite likely no longer applicable.||Ensures strategy is always relevant with a single source of truth. Strategy is generated on-demand with real-time data.|
|Alignment||Aligns only Business and IT once when Strategy is created.||Alignment is a continuous process. Ensures business units are always aligned to Group with duplication only by exception.|
|External Drivers||Periodic attention to macroeconomic conditions. Horizon scanned only when Strategy is created.||Continuous attention to macroeconomic conditions. Continuously scans horizon and updates Strategy.|
|Pre-requisites||Requires repeat pre-requisite activities. Data collation and current state analysis are performed as one-off activities, taking up 50p of every pound spent on Strategy.||Requires little pre-requisite activities as data and current state are always available in real-time.|
|Cost||Is cost- and time-intensive every time.||Is one-time effort with negligible to repeat.|
|Skills||Needs distinct, expensive skills and uses basic toolset.||Uses available skills & specialist tooling.|