For the last few years, I’ve been working with companies and non-profit organizations on installing strategic and operating systems that lead to growth and effectiveness. I chose to become a facilitator of StratOp (which uses the Paterson StratOp Process) over other systems. I was recently asked, “Why StratOp over EOS, Gazelles, CEO Advantage, etc.?” Great question!
First let me say that I’ve had experience with many of the other systems, most of which are helpful in moving companies forward. Yet for my money, I believe StratOp to be superior. Here are nine of reasons why:
Manage the Whole
StratOp is a strategic process that moves leaders to think like “the owner of the store”. Doing so allows them to look at the business as an entirety, instead of viewing things from their own departmental or team perspective. When they take off their functional cap and put on the owner’s cap, they think differently.
Breakthrough Is Horizontal
There are vertical silos in every enterprise. In a business, these might include sales, HR, engineering, etc. In a non-profit, they might include development, communications, volunteer coordination, etc. Under the StratOp process, individuals come together and think together as a team, thinking cross-functionally. Sales has freedom to speak into engineering. Customer service has freedom to speak into HR. This non-silo approach brings breakthrough.
The Truth Sets Us Free
We must be able to speak truthfully about issues. StratOp cultivates an environment where people are free to be truthful without being fearful or personal. StratOp conversations put truth on the table. It is the truth that will lead through the process of planning, and the process will enable us to reach breakthrough.
Perspective before Planning
Tom Paterson, the creator of the StratOp plan, says it over and over again: “Perspective before planning. Perspective before planning.” One of the fatal flaws of most strategic planning systems is premature planning without full clarity of perspective. If you are in right perspective, the core plan almost writes itself. Perspective is seeing things without distortion, correctly reading the signals of what is unfolding. It’s a matter of squarely facing existing truths.
Make the Vision Clear
We know that where there is no vision, people grow weary and lose hope. StratOp is designed to leverage perspective gained in order to clarify vision (where we are headed). But it’s not enough to only clarify the vision. It must also be communicated downstream. StratOp is designed to do just that, so the entire organization knows where it’s headed.
Focus on the W.I.N.s
Once a team recognizes the issues and knows where to move forward as a group, they can together focus on the most important issues, or “What’s Important Now”. Under the StratOp process, there is no more “we vs. they.” The team-developed core plan makes a unified action plan possible.
Form Follows Function
In the StratOp process, form must follow function. Another fatal flaw of other strategic planning systems is premature restructuring. In the Paterson StratOp process, we only talk about structure after we are clear on the vision, plan, and the actions that must take place. The overriding purpose of structure is to ensure that the right decisions get made in a timely way. You won’t get timely accomplishments in the context of the wrong structure.
If you plan your work and work your plan, your plan will work.
Assuming you have the right StratOp plan, and the discipline, cadence, and rhythm in your system, your plan will work. “We have to know where we stand at all times,” says Paterson. “The plan must be managed to ensure that in the end we accomplished what we said we would accomplish. The accomplishment is not the plan. The accomplishment is in managing the plan to get the results we set out to accomplish.”
Healthy things grow and adapt. It’s no different for companies and organizations. StratOp does not hold the organization to a rigid set of rules and standards. Instead, it provides a framework, one that gives the organization freedom to adapt to their ever changing environment.
If you’d like to talk with me more about how StratOp can move your company or organization forward, feel free to set up a time to chat.