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Why Keep Your Strategy A Secret?

Posted June 29, 2012 3:59 PM by Ted Jackson

Is it possible for your organization to achieve its strategy independently? Well, if you think you can go it alone I would like to challenge your thinking – particularly if you operate in the social sector. If you run a homeless shelter, you need other shelters to manage overflow situations. If you run an environmental organization your mission may benefit from cooperation from large corporations. If you run an arts organization you are likely linked with schools to engage young children in the arts. Interdependencies are equally obvious for federal, state and local government organizations. So, if this interdependence is so prevalent then why do most organizations consider their strategy a secret? Who knows, but it is time to change this. I would suggest that if your mission addresses a social challenge then you should establish a strategic partnership with others who can contribute to solutions and will benefit from impact.

First, take a look at your strategy map. That's right; I assume you have a strategy map of some sort that tells the story of your strategy. Then ask these questions with regard to each objective:

Who can help achieve this objective? Who can prevent us from achieving this objective? Who will benefit if we achieve this objective?

The answers will tell you the organizations you should partner with to achieve the strategy. Chances are the same organizations that can contribute to your strategic success can also benefit from your strategic success.

Next, have a strategy sharing meeting with those organizations to talk about your strategy and shared benefits. Brainstorm ways you can contribute to one another's success. Outline shared measures and targets. Formalize a meeting schedule to discuss progress. Remember, there are mutual benefits to be achieved. This is the incentive for cooperation. Too many organizations are competing for resources to achieve a shared outcome. It is time to cooperate by sharing strategies, sharing measures and targets to achieve the shared or related impact.

Filed Under Collaboration