Strategy deployment: from cascade to translation to synchronization.

Strategy deployment as cascade. We have a strategic message and we choose the right words to ensure it can be repeatedly said at all levels of the organization.

“Here’s exactly what I want you to convey.”

This assumes that context and meaning can be interpreted and understood using the same language and perspective in every part and at every level of the organization. This is unlikely.

Strategy deployment as translation. We convey strategic intent and delegate to leaders at each level to translate to their local context.

“This is the intent I want you to translate to your context.”

For example, we share objectives and the local leaders and teams determine key results to achieve those objectives. This is better but still disconnected from reality.

Strategy deployment as simultaneous evolution with synchronization. People’s evolving understanding of context and meaning don’t actually stop while waiting for the next communication from “management”. Instead of a cascade or even a translation, it’s better to think of strategy deployment as regularly synchronizing a constantly evolving context and meaning simultaneously occurring at all levels of the organization.

“Let’s sync our understanding of direction and strategy.”

Senior Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl

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