WorkMatters
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WorkMatters

Week 31, 2022—Issue #215

Strategic Planning at MAQE: Start with Purpose, Involve the Team and Track the Progress

Each week: three ideas to help us build better organizations. This week: how and why MAQE is rethinking its strategic planning process.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

I was wondering if I might ask for your advice? My company — MAQE — is rethinking its strategic planning process. There are a few key issues we want to deal with and I was wondering if I might get your thoughts on how we plan to resolve them?

Here’s what we have in mind:

1. Start with Purpose

MAQE observes a 6-month operating cadence. What this means is that we, twice per year, take stock of where we’re at in order to adjust and adapt our plans for the future. It’s generally a good practice, but we fear it’s gotten a bit too reactive. What-happened-and-what-do-we-do-about-it is a good and valid question to ask, but it does risk missing the bigger picture. Specifically, it risks us neglecting our mission. The plan, therefore, is to start the planning process with ideation rather than analysis. We’ll ask: What can we do in the next six months to bring us closer to our purpose of (literally) changing how the world works?

2. Involve the Team

We have and will continue to give each 6-month period a theme or focus. But we are rethinking the manner in which this focus is decided upon. Until now, this has been the responsibility of our leadership team. And while we always sought team input in the process, it has started to feel too much like a top-down decision. The plan, therefore, is to pose the what-can-we-do question not to leadership but to the team. Specifically, we’ll ask each of our six platforms (i.e., people, learning, innovation, delivery, solutions, and operations) what they can do to help us move forward. We will then seek to distill a theme from their combined answers.

3. Track the Progress

Since 2016 we have used Objectives & Key Results (OKR) to define success and communicate the progress of our various initiatives. That will continue. But the above changes mean the process with which this is done will be flipped on its head. Rather than teams being asked to define tactical and strategic OKRs based on a theme, leadership will now define the theme and strategic OKRs based on ideas from the team. A subtle but important difference. And the end result is, hopefully, that our strategic OKRs are more relatable and engaging than what we currently produce.

So, what do you think?

Do you think these changes might help us to make steady and continuous progress towards our mission “to (literally) change how the world works by providing the technological, procedural, and cultural systems that people need to live more fulfilling lives?” Or do you think our leadership team is shooting itself in the foot by abdicating responsibility for strategic planning?

I’m curious to hear what you think.
Thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

That’s all for this week.
Until next time: make it matter.

/Andreas

How can we build better organizations? That’s the question I’ve been trying to answer for the past 10 years. Each week, I share some of what I’ve learned in a weekly newsletter called WorkMatters. Subscription is free. Back-issues are published to Medium after three months.

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Andreas Holmer

Andreas Holmer

Designer, reader, writer. Sensemaker. Management thinker. CEO at MAQE — a digital consulting firm in Bangkok, Thailand.