Where to Start with Vision, Strategy, Structure, and Systems

Whether you’re a startup or reviewing your decades-old organisation, examining the combination of Vision, Strategy, Structures, Systems (not to mention People & Processes) need not be overwhelming.

At the beginning of 2016, I ran my own business through this annual strategy day agenda. What became clear … was how confused I was, and the negative impact this had had on my business, my team, and my family.

A fish rots from the head down, and when the business leader is exhausted the energy of the business (however large or small) will inevitably follow. So I knew my vision and strategy were unclear, and I didn’t have the necessary growth management systems in place to support me. But where to begin?

Layers of Context

Thankfully, Shirlaws Group have an excellent and simple business framework that addresses the relationship between these valuable business elements. It looks like this:

The Layers of Context business framework demonstrates the relationship between Vision, Strategy, Structure, Systems, Processes and People
Layers of Context

In my experience coaching and advising several hundred businesses, when a CEO or owner feels stuck they will almost always dive into the detail at the bottom of this framework – “if we can just recruit / fix / automate XYZ, then we will have more time / money / choices”.

In reality, while it’s possible to work through these items from the bottom-up … it is so much faster and more rewarding to build them from the top down. If your Vision (Culturally- Values and Commercially – Value) isn’t clear, everything else will be murky.

When your Vision is clear, then it becomes obvious what Strategy you need to develop to reach your destination. With the right Strategy, a clearly functional business Structure becomes apparent. And having established a supportive Structure, the details of your Staff, Systems, and Processes – which need reviewing, which are sufficient, and which can perhaps be discarded completely! – becomes a simple and straightforward exercise that your team can complete without needing micro-management.

So I was confused … and my first step was heading straight to the top of this framework and detailing my Vision. Click here to read in detail what I discovered (and how I documented it so prettily for easy communication and reminders).

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Thanks for reading!

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