The ‘strategy maps’ that are generated can often become very complex with a large number of statements linked together in many different ways. Strategy development is inherently complex so accepting this and managing the complexity creates a much more robust and effective strategic plan.
To make sense of the data, we use a software package that has been specifically developed for the purpose. It is used to identify patterns in the causal maps. These patterns help to identify the basic building blocks of the strategy model – Goals, Objectives, Issues and Activities, thus helping to build the strategy model.
There are three basic patterns or structures that we are looking for within the strategic data, each of which are shown below:
The above diagrams show how we identify the key concepts (shown in red). The shape of the pattern in the data, along with the context in which the statement is made determines where it fits in the strategy model. The tear-drop shape on the left will tend to be an outcome of some type (e.g. objective or goal) with lots of other elements supporting it. The shape in the middle is a pivot point and will tend to be an activity or an issue. The inverted tear-drop shape on the right is most likely to be a key activity (e.g. a project) that will have an impact on a lot of other elements.
While this may look simple it actually takes a great deal of expertise to analyse the strategic data to create the strategy model. This is where our experience and knowledge comes into its own as we are able to interpret the information in a way that extracts the most important elements of the strategic data to build a strong strategy for your business.