One hour a month, that’s all we ask. In a given month, most people work 160 hours, give or take. So, 1/160th is our rule-of-thumb for a commitment to strategy. This is a key component to our approach to strategy at the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. Everyone participating in the strategic thinking also participates in the strategic action. In a strategy workshop a Certified Workshop Leader will address each person asking, “what can you do with one hour of your time, over the next 30 days, to begin moving us forward?” Everyone walks away with a strategic action item, one that includes a clear deliverable and a date by which they will complete it.
They also walk away with a date on their calendar, in about 30 days, when the group will get back together again to discuss what they’ve each learned and decide on their next steps, another strategic action item, another one-hour task, they can complete over the next 30 days.
This becomes a shared discipline, one that can continue indefinitely. Strategy becomes everybody’s job, both the strategic thinking and the strategic action. Of course, there’s more to it than this. In our agile strategy discipline Strategic Doing, this idea is part of Rule 8: Draft a Short-Term Action Plan with Everyone Taking a Small Step. There are 10 rules in total. Following them, using them to guide strategic conversation, gives you all you need for a strategy: a strategic outcome and a strategic pathway.
Everybody is busy and there is much we have to do in our organizations and our communities. We have to put out fires (either literally or figuratively), we have to manage people, we have to take care of customers. All this will take 160 hours per month or more. Redirecting time and energy for one of those hours, however, can be very, well…strategic.
We would be happy to share with you how we think about strategy and think through how you might make strategy part of everybody’s job.