The Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan:
How to Create Shared Consciousness Across Your Company
As a CEO, creating context and alignment for your entire organization is a never-ending task. In the Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan, you summarize the most important information everyone in your company needs to know.
How This Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan is Built
The Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan is comprised of four different sections. Each section of the plan is created by surveying members of your leadership team for their perspectives. The four leadership team surveys each take about 30 minutes to complete. A summary of each survey builds out that section of the 1-Page Plan. The four survey modules of the 1-Page Plan are:
For reference, the plan template below shows where each survey module lands in the 1-Page Plan. Create a summary of each survey, click a button, and the plan is built automatically:
If you don’t like the layout of this particular plan, you can still use the survey answers and corresponding visual maps to create your own plan layout. As the saying goes, the plan itself is useless but the planning process is priceless!
Who Should Complete the Surveys?
A best practice is to have the leadership team members (7 to 15 people) complete each survey one time. However, for one survey in particular, the Entropy Survey, you may want to include more people (up to 25) to get a broader view of the company’s internal strengths and weaknesses.
As individuals complete a survey, you can see their answers and edit/combine them easily in your members area. You’ll synthesize the best answers to create a summary for each section of your Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan. Within reason, don’t worry too much about managing the number of survey participants. The system makes it easy to auto generate PDF reports based on all the survey data as well as to create a summary for each section of the plan.
You may be thinking that it is too much to ask, to have each individual complete four different surveys. And if you tried to do it all in one week, I would agree with you. I recommend that you start the survey process about 4 to 6 weeks before your annual strategic planning sessions. Assign one survey (starting with the Entropy Survey) to be completed each week. This equates to about 30 minutes per week for 4 weeks and is very manageable. The result is that you will have gathered an outstanding cross-functional data set to take into your annual strategic planning process. As a result, you will have the right Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan that summarizes the strategy for all.
Why Survey At All?
Casting a wide net to capture survey inputs from key cross-functional leaders and influencers not only leads to better, lifecycle-dependent answers in your 1-Page Plan, but it also allows people to more effectively contribute to the actual strategy. This is critical.
A key principle behind Organizational Physics is to always “gather the mass,” meaning that you will want to include a critical mass of people who will be impacted downstream by a decision, upstream in the decision-making process itself. Our survey system makes it easy to do just that. In short, we believe that better inputs lead to a better plan, and that greater participation in the planning process itself leads to greater buy-in and faster execution.
Why the Pictures?
You will have noticed that the right hand column of the Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan consists of two visual maps. The top map is called the Entropy Map and it shows where the company needs to focus to improve its organizational velocity (the biggest peaks in the Entropy Map show where the biggest sources of entropy, friction, or obstacles that are harming execution speed are showing up now.) The bottom map is called the Strategy Map and it shows where the business is now in its lifecycle stage development and what its core strategic imperatives (3- to 5-year time horizon) must be to drive to the next lifecycle stage.
Below is an example of each map. See if you can’t intuit why we are communicating these important concepts (operational excellence and lifecycle stage-dependent strategic priorities) to your team using pictures rather than just text….
The Entropy Map shows that, to increase organizational velocity, we must focus on reducing friction in the biggest peaks first:
The Strategy Map shows that, to drive our company to its next lifecycle stage, we must focus on executing these strategic imperatives next:
With a little teaching by you so that your team knows how to interpret them, these two maps allow for the rapid building of shared consciousness and insight across the company. You already know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. True for art. True for business. These two maps can help to create insight about why these are the focus areas of the business. It also allows the entire company to track its progress and improvements (or not) over time.
Where Are the Details?
The 1-Page Plan is a summary document. The objectives and key results (OKRs) and individual accountabilities to execute this plan are contained in another document, the Organizational Physics Cascading Objectives module (requires a coaching program to setup), or you can use your existing OKR management system to track individual level OKRs. If individuals have questions about the details behind the Entropy Map or the Strategy Map, or any other section of the plan, the answers can be found in the survey data.
How Do You Track Progress Over Time?
Tracking progress against plan over time is critical to engagement. People need to understand how the company is performing against its goals and how they can help to move the needle. The Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan itself makes it easy to see how the company is progressing at reducing entropy and improving velocity by running a Comparison Entropy Survey. It makes it easy to see how the company is moving up its lifecycle stage development by running another Top-Level OKRs Strategy Survey. This is another advantage of using visual maps. The team can visually track its progress at driving operational excellence and moving its strategic capabilities forward year by year.
How Does the 1-Page Plan Create Alignment?
By itself, the 1-Page Plan does not create alignment. It must be used, referenced, and reinforced throughout the months, quarters, and years as the touchstone of all-company communications. The plan provides the polestar for all other individual and team activities to point toward. It must come alive in the organization and be at the fingertips of every employee.
If it wasn’t clear, this Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan can be linked electronically to your cascading OKRs system which allows for a clear line of sight to run from the top-level strategy to individual contributions to that strategy, which is critical for ongoing alignment across the organization.
Who Should Not Use This 1-Page Plan?
For this 1-Page Plan to be effective, you must personally be a leader who already understands the core principles behind Organizational Physics and you are passionate about teaching these concepts to others. Thinking and teaching upward from first principles, like those contained within Organizational Physics, isn’t for every type of leader. It requires someone who appreciates systems thinking and who likes to teach principles. If you aren’t that type of leader, there are many other more traditional 1-page plan templates on the market that you can download and use for free.
The main reason for this requirement is obvious. This Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan uses the Organizational Physics Entropy Map and Strategy Maps to create context and communicate key ideas to your entire company. To an untrained eye, these two maps won’t make much sense at all and they won’t be very helpful in creating shared context across the team unless you use them to teach and reinforce key concepts.
With a little bit of study of Organizational Physics (there are books, videos, and downloadables to help you), these two maps become insanely powerful teaching aids. Honestly, all teams would benefit from having a shared understanding of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, how PSIU forces show up in all systems at all levels, and why lifecycle theory is essential to driving business growth. These maps create the impetus to learn and they allow you to reinforce this shared understanding as the company scales up and adds more people. But you must already have bought into the concepts for this 1-Page Plan to help support the company’s evolution and growth.
How Do I Create Our Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan?
Sign up below and start by having your leadership team complete the Entropy Survey. This is always the best place to start. Then, complete the Top-Level OKRs Strategy Survey followed by the Company Core survey. Leave the Targets & KPIs survey for last. Follow the instructions in the members area and the system will auto-populate your Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan for you. Then you can edit it, download it, publish it, or print it as desired.
How Often Do We Need to Update Our 1-Page Plan?
Once the Company Core section is created, it usually won’t need to change very frequently. Once every 3 to 5 years. Repeat the Entropy Survey and the Top-Level OKRs Strategy Survey annually prior to your strategic planning offsite. There’s no need to repeat the Targets & KPIs survey once you have the right categories established. Just manually change the Targets & KPIs section as the actual key performance indicators and numerical targets need to be updated. Easy peasy.
Become Your Company’s Sponsor
When you’re ready to activate your own Strategic Execution 1-Page Plan, sign up below for a free 30-day trial of the Organizational Physics Designed to Scale membership program and become your company’s sponsor. As each survey is completed, you’ll be able to synthesize the best answers into your own plan. Training materials and email support are included in your membership.
Thanks and we look forward to connecting with you in the members area! Click below to begin your free 30-day trial (new customers only). Cancel anytime.