How a consistent strategy-cascade fosters agility on all levels

Why the strategy cascade is elementary for agile organizations

As the world changes faster and faster, both the environment and the organization itself becomes more and more complex, there is a huge probability that not every employee will work towards the same goal.

If not all work towards the same goal, then the organization pays at best for work that it does not need. In reality, however, this tends to result in high friction losses, which are higher than the individual inefficiencies.

Or illustratively: Let’s assume that a group of people wants to move a big stone from A to B . If now not all work on the same goal, then it is likely that various people move the stone in different directions, others jump on it, others want to lift the stone and another group discusses whether it should be a water jug instead of the stone. The result is that the stone stays in place.

How to derive the Strategy Cascade through all levels

To ensure that the organization as a complex organism moves in the right direction as quickly and agile as possible, a consistent strategy cascade is required. Such a cascade exists when the daily actions at the basis contribute to the vision of the organization as a whole with as little friction loss as possible.

A successful strategy cascade therefore derives over two dimensions

(1) From vision to key actions: The world is changing so fast that it is necessary to regularly adjust what is being worked on to maximize customer value. At the same time, organisations also need a vision so that they do not lose sight of the big picture and are able to assess what will achieve the greatest benefit in the long term. For this reason, we need a strategy cascade of 7 steps from vision to key actions (see also Krapf, 2018). Iterative means that the cycle does not only start regularly from the beginning, but also that feedback from a later stage into an earlier stage is made.

(2) From top management to the basis: In order for the strategy cascade to become action-guiding in the overall organization, it also requires a derivation from top management to the basis. This means that the vision formulated by top management for the overall organization must be derived into the various subunits in order to become effective there. Finally, this applies not only to the vision, but also to all other 6 steps of the strategy cascade

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