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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

78. Perform your strategies like jazz

We don't like to talk about strategy making do we?

I don't mean the stuff that the strategies are about, we love talking about that, I mean the business of making strategies; the mechanics of how they actually work. That stuff is boring isn't it? But not thinking about that stuff might be a problem if it means those strategies don't do what we want them to do.

Often strategy making is just 'common sense'. You know, vision is followed by aims is followed by objectives that are followed by an action plan.

Sometimes we have a method. Results Based Accountability and Balanced Scorecards have been popular of late. Driver diagrams are something I've come across recently. You might even try something more bottom up like Appreciative Inquiry.

Of course we never have a methodology (despite chronic misuse of the word) but that's another story.

So where Am I going with this?

As someone involved the writing of community strategies and other partnership plans I think it would be great if, in a given locality at least, we could all use the same approach.

Health plans are made differently to police plans which are made differently to council plans etc etc. This makes it really hard to fit plans together - to make them talk to each other.

Having worked on Single Integrated Plans (the Welsh upgrade of community strategies) I've seen how hard it is to incorporate everything into one strategy. Rather than the tricky task of making 'one plan to rule them all' perhaps it would be more productive if everyone simply worked to the same strategy making principles?

Hence the jazz metaphor.

Jazz musicians improvise, yes, but within a shared key, shared time signature and shared tempo (probably).

In the same way wouldn't it be groovy if partners in a given area could agree to work within a common structure including:
  • Shared definitions (things like aims, outcomes etc)
  • Shared method
  • Shared outcomes
Strategies would be made separately but within a shared framework. The result would hopefully be harmonious.

That would be cool man.

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/6wtNC

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