For her first blog in this Strategy series, Lee-anne Knight explained what strategy is and why it’s so fundamental in the success of a business. Now, Lee-anne shares how you can start building your own strategy.
Did you know that 74% of executives are concerned that they have not translated their strategy into tangible actions? Did you also know that only 35% of those executives believe their strategy is going to lead them to success?
What’s going on?
While we know having a solid and inspiring strategic vision is great for rallying the troops and stakeholders, it’s not what gets you to your destination. So, how can you create tangible actions and a plan to help you deliver on your strategy?
The answer is with a robust planning framework.
And there is no better framework to start with than Salesforce’s V2MOM, which stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures.
Before we discuss how you can utilise the V2MOM framework, let’s take a look at how the V2MOM method works. To give you some context, V2MOM is the methodology that helped grow Salesforce from a four-person company to one with over 50,000 employees globally. As our Founder and CEO Marc Benioff said: “Success depends on constant communication and complete alignment – we’ve been able to achieve this through V2MOM.”
Has this strange acronym piqued your interest yet?
At Salesforce everyone creates a V2MOM, from Marc Benioff down. It provides transparency and alignment, which in a matrix organisation can be somewhat of a challenge! From an alignment perspective, the V2MOM method allows every employee to clearly communicate what they plan to achieve each year and how. Updated yearly, the V2MOM keeps us all connected as we conquer the year ahead.
From a strategy perspective, the V2MOM framework is just as robust in building a strategic plan. The beauty of the framework is it can span multiple years, and can be an instructive reference and checkpoint to ensure you’re holding your course. That doesn’t mean things can’t change along the way; important changes are discussed, agreed and strategically referenced in the V2MOM.
Let’s be honest: How many of you have read a company’s values and thought they were fluff? Company values are not just ‘nice to have’, they guide us in our everyday decision making and tradeoffs. Values can be what keeps stakeholders engaged, just as they keep us all honest about the intent and impact of the work we’re doing. It’s why it’s so important to be strategic when it comes to determining the values that will help build your strategy. Don’t let them be fluff!
Ask yourself these questions:
What are the top three values that are key to the success of implementing my strategy?
What values are core to my organisation and how we work?
Are your strategy values aligned with your organisational values? Do they work in harmony or are they counter-intuitive?
After answering these questions and you find there is misalignment, you will need to review your strategy values. Remember, be holistic with your approach and allow your values to build on one another.
Here’s where you can outperform those executives who weren’t sure how to turn their strategy into tangible actions. Methods are really where the rubber hits the road, outlining the key ‘chunks’ that start to form the strategy. Or in other words, how you are going to achieve the vision.
For example, if NASA’s vision was “to put the first man person on the moon”, the methods could have included:
Forming a team with the right expertise
Finding the right location for launch
Engaging other countries and teams for knowledge sharing.
Methods allow us to break the work down into manageable pieces, articulating the how and providing clarity on what each of the chunks is focused on delivering. It’s what leads people and strategies to success.
The value of a roadmap is not just knowing where you’re going, it’s having a view on what might stop you getting to your destination. Being able to plan for potential challenges before they arise, means you know how to deal with them when they manifest – saving a lot of future headaches. Although, not every obstacle is identifiable – COVID-19 is a perfect example of that – however, getting into the habit of thinking about and planning your way around obstacles builds the strategic thinking muscle.
Heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s officially known as the Paretto principle, and in this case, it means 20% of obstacles will cause 80% of the roadblocks you’ll encounter on a typical strategy journey. When the unexpected does happen, the muscle built discussing and identifying obstacles provides a fast path to escalate out of the challenge when your strategy strays off the path.
The V2MOM is a great tool to use in a collaborative way, ensuring stakeholder engagement and buy-in right from the start. But executive ownership is key – the executive owner has to and must hold everyone accountable to the final plan.
Just as with Gamestorming’s vision exercise, building out your strategy roadmap is not a singular activity. At Salesforce the V2MOM is a living document. Reviewed on a regular basis, providing a level of accountability that is perfect for the ‘test, revise, deploy’ frameworks necessary to build the roadmap to deliver a successful strategy.
Need help writing your V2MOM? There’s a Trail for that! Take our ‘Write a V2MOM’ trail over on Trailhead.