A strategic intent is the north star or ambition of the organization over the next 3 years. These statements help bring clarity to the overall direction and can serve to energize and rally your organization around. Questions to consider:
- Who do we want to be? What do we want to be known for?
- How will we serve our customers in a unique way?
- How will we win in the market? What differentiates us?
We recommend using the Objective and Key Results (OKR) format for writing these so they are more measurable.
Example Strategic Intent:
- Modernize and innovate on our Small Business Insurance Products so that we are able to compete in this digital age.
- Key Result: Increase market share by 5% in 3 years (“5 by 3”)
- Key Result: All products are at or above 8% ROE in 3 years (“Success over 8”)
- Establish AgilityHealth as the leading enterprise teams platform for measurement and growth for larger enterprises transforming towards business agility.
- Key Result: 100+ large enterprises have adopted AgilityHealth as their source of truth for teams, measurement and growth by 2020. (“100+ by 2020”)
- Key Result: Customer retention is above 90% and NPS is above 9+. (“Success is 90 plus 9”)
Strategic themes align and drive the outcomes of the portfolios to the intent and strategy the company wishes to execute. They are typically 1 year objectives that answer the question:
- Where should we focus this year and why?
- What results do we aim to achieve by the end of this year?
- What goals do we want the portfolios to align their outcomes and work around?
The typical challenges we’ve seen here are companies creating the objectives that are inspirational and not measurable. Almost everything could align to them. We’ve also seen companies create these as a list of Initiatives (think Top 10 Initiatives for this year).
Remember, we’re focusing on Column 1 ‘Strategy’ in the Enterprise Alignment model below not Column 4 ‘Work’.
Example Strategic Themes (aligned to intent):
Intent: Modernize and innovate on our Small Business Insurance Products so that we are able to compete in this digital age.
Strategic Theme: We believe that providing a targeted suite of innovative insurance offerings to small business employers will improve access, ease benefit administration and increase SB market share. We succeed when:
- Key Result: Increase sales by $2.5M
- Key Result: We improve our customer NPS score by 5%
Intent: Establish AgilityHealth as the leading enterprise teams platform for measurement and growth for larger enterprises transforming towards business agility.
Strategic Theme: We believe that by building strong enterprise capabilities for managing teams and metrics, enabling growth, aligning teams to business outcomes we will serve the needs of our enterprise customers and increase our customer base. We succeed when:
- Key Result: On-board and enable 15 large enterprises by end of year
- Key Result: Achieve a customer NPS score above 9+
Business Outcome Alignment involves breaking down our Strategic Intent and Themes into smaller increments of Outcome Increments that can be achieved within a quarter or less. The value of doing this is ensuring the work is aligned and measured by the achievement of real results instead of the current focus on deliverables and measurement of outputs. “Impact over Effort”
These Outcomes may deliver an increment of business value to customers (Business Outcome) or internal transformation/improvement value to the organization (Transformation Outcome). All of the ‘work’ at each level is aligned back to the desired outcome that we intend to achieve.
By Sally Elatta, CEO of Agile Transformation and founder of AgilityHealth.