Strategic Doing: Faster Strategy, More Doing

Strategic Doing image highlighting faster strategy and more doing

Strategic Doing is a powerful way to achieve meaningful change and address complex problems.  Complex, or sticky problems have no clear solution. They can absorb a huge quantity of resources – and often little obvious progress is made unravelling the issues or developing a viable way forward. They need a fresh approach to address these challenges. An approach that embraces complexity, drives innovation, engages stakeholders, and delivers measurable and achievable outcomes.  Strategic Doing is an innovative but proven approach that does just that.

Strategic Doing is action orientated and truly collaborative. Existing networks and capabilities are leveraged to generate wider collaborations and to work towards achieving defined and agreed results. Concrete results assure stakeholder buy in and momentum to gather.  Strategic Doing is also a continuous process. As smaller milestones are reached, adjustments to the big goal are determined.

The Framing Question

The first challenge is to develop a framing question. This must be appreciative, not problem and solution focused. For example, rather than ‘How do we fix…’ reframe the question and allow for brainstorming, innovation and wider participation. Try ‘What would it look like if…’

Once the framing question is in place, there are ten Strategic Doing rules, or skills, that lead through a constant loop of four overarching questions. The first two define the outcomes, the second two outline how to get there.

  • What could we do? The strategic outcome has been determined. Now brainstorm the possible actions. Identify the assets, knowledge and resources within the wider team.
  • What should we do? Of all of those possibilities, which make the most sense, are achievable and deliver impact? Use the Big Easy matrix to assess impacts and develop measurable outcomes.
  • What will we do? Start moving the plan into action. What concrete and short-term steps can be taken to move toward the outcome? Define a Pathfinder project, determine guideposts and actions with everyone taking a small step.
  • What’s our 30/30? Decide when to come back together to report on progress. Discuss lessons learned. Make any adjustments, and determine the next steps. Accountability is built in across the team.

The Strategic Doing Process

As the first outcomes are achieved, the iterative process continues. Learning from experience, gaining capability, and building trust within expanding networks drives momentum and achieves more complex milestones.

It is a formal process. While organic, it is also intentional at every step. It fosters engagement and moves away from traditional hierarchies, instead creating strong networks built around trust, where everyone has a role. Strategic Doing is particularly relevant when multiple parties are involved, across sectors, departments, agencies or organisations. It is an exciting way to build capability and develop productive collaborations.

I am a trained Strategic Doing practitioner. Get in touch if you want to have a chat.

Jacquie Hamer, Consultant/Director, Hague Consulting Ltd. © Hague Consulting Ltd 2024