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STRINT - The Art of Strategy

Strategy has become a buzz word that is used for anything and everything. Reflecting on the meaning of strategy, the image of a conductor and an orchestra came to mind, but this is too “formal” as strategy is messier. As an artist, or wanna be van Gogh, a recent painting I did caught my eye. Strategy is like painting, STRINT was born – The art of Strategy, Strategic Organisational Design.

A painting starts with an artist that has a vision of what (s)he wants to create. The vision is influenced by internal factors such as the artist own artistic desires as well as external factors such as the requirements by a client for a commissioned piece. To produce the artwork, the artist makes a series of coherent decisions that is continually assessed and adjusted. A range of decisions are made about tools, techniques, colours etc. that all influence the final piece. It is a deliberate creative process where the artist uses various tools to transform a blank canvas into a piece of art that is unique to the artist. An artist uses multiple tools during the creative process such as palette knives, canvas, various brushes, various mediums, multiple colours, framing etc. The type of tools, the quality of tools and combination of tools the artist selects combined with the artistic ability of the artist contributes to the overall creative process and the final art piece. The choice making of tools and the use of these tools during the creative process is what makes art unique. It differentiates one artist from another. Painting is doing and creating, it takes work and effort to transform a canvas.

It is a multi layered approach. The artist reviews each layer of paint and adapt techniques and tools as needed moving through the various layers, painting is not a static process. Learning takes place throughout the transformative process as the artist learn about his/her own technique and tools of the trade. Through the years the artist also continuously learns new methods, new techniques, use new and improved tools and transforms not only the canvas but also enhancing his/her own ability to create art.

Similarly, to a painting, strategy starts with vision that is influenced by the internal and the external environment. Environmental influences impacts on the strategic process and vice versa. Multiple stakeholders take part in the strategic process that brings their own skills, experiences, thoughts, beliefs and biases to the process. This combined with various strategic tools and methods such as SWOT analysis, Blue Ocean thinking, scenario planning etc. makes up what I refer to as the strategy palette, like an artist palette. The quality and fit for purpose of tools used during the strategic process must be carefully considered and selected in the same way that the artist makes decisions about which tools to use for a particular vision (s)he is trying to achieve. The availability and the quality of the strategy palette combined with the artistic ability to combine and use the strategy palette impacts on the overall strategic process.

Strategy is also not a static once off event either. It is a continuous, deliberate, multiple layered, inclusive and creative adaptive process that has temporal nature and evolves into something that is part implicit and part explicit. It requires regular time spent on strategic conversations, monitoring of execution and reflecting on lessons learned for the organisation to adapt to the world within and around it. Strategy is hence also a learning and transformational process as the organisation learn from within and from its environment and vice versa.

Through a process of continues learning and adaption throughout the strategy process, it strengthens and build the strategic capability in the organisation. This enables the organisation to respond to and anticipate environmental and organisational influences timeously and effectively. All organisational members learn, grow and develop shared understanding throughout.

Strategy is an inclusive system that should encourage and value multiple perspectives. It positively feeds off, reinforces, and build a company culture of inclusivity, participation, learning, shared understanding, strong relationships, and accountability.

STRINT use a continuous, multiple layered and inclusive process involving stakeholders working together to create an image of where the organisation wants to go influenced by the organisation itself as well as the environment in which it operates. We enable organisations to make sense of complexity and use the strategy palette effectively and efficiently. We understand the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of organisational elements and enable strategy through organisational design. Through a process of continuous reflection, adaption and alignment, organisations build strategic capability from within. It requires skill and practice. Building the strategic capability through a continuous process of learning will enable the organisation to respond quicker to environmental influences.

Strategy is a practice; it requires conscious effort and requires action.

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