Case Stories

Story 1: A Strategy Session

A new Intel Sales and Marketing group had been formed by bringing multiple efforts together under a single umbrella. Each subgroup still had its own KPIs and feature roadmaps. They lacked a shared sense of mission and needed a cohesive, concrete strategy to tie everything together.

I was hired to design a workshop to address this. Leadership from each effort was brought in. I had captured all existing KPIs and placed them up on a wall. Attendees were invited to add any they felt were missing. Leaders were then asked to walk everyone through the KPIs that pertained to their efforts.

After listening to the leaders from each area I had the group cluster like KPIs together. Seven categories emerged, seven “buckets” the dozens of KPIs fell into. Attendees discussed and labeled them. I invited the room to reframe what they were discussing: They didn’t have dozens of KPIs—they had seven actual KPIs and dozens of ideas for how best to measure them.

Next we tackled the feature roadmaps. We talked about chunking up from what they planned to deliver to what they hoped it would achieve: What behavior changes were they wanting to enable in order to create business value? By focusing on these target behaviors, or “outcomes,” they could increase their degrees of freedom and discover ALTERNATIVE ways to achieve them.

I suggested to the group that the features that teams work on are really just BETS. The group needed to get a structure in place so they could tell, with zero ambiguity, whether the bets they were placing were working out. If they aren’t, they shouldn’t focus on making more bets faster; they should focus on making SMARTER bets.

The group spent time capturing what outcomes the planned work was meant to achieve. First, I facilitated the group mapping the outcomes to the higher-level KPIs identified earlier. Second, I put a fresh roadmap on the wall, sans features, and had the group map the outcomes back to the timeline.

To tie it all together, I introduced the group to the North Star Framework. They needed an inspiring, overarching vision that was customer-focused, concise, and measurable, something that would give them a shared sense of mission.

Business value is the ultimate goal, but it’s also a lagging indicator. A North Star ties the group’s vision to the concrete leading indicators they’re trying to move. I then had them choose from their KPI categories which they would like to focus on as inputs to their North Star. From the dozens of captured KPIs, they then selected three for each input.

The outcome roadmap produced in the workshop was digitized and is now used to drive decision making within the group. Capabilities were later mapped to the outcomes as bets, ensuring everything across the new group is tied to a concrete strategy, aimed at achieving their explicit vision.