All you need to know about Organizational Strategy

All you need to know about Organizational Startegy

The Start

Entrepreneurs start a business once they identify a problem that needs addressing, about which they are convinced. They assemble a team of like-minded people and start developing the solution. The solution begins reaching the initial adopters and gradually gains traction if it addresses the problem it set out to solve.

The organization starts gaining insights from the ground on the many requirements and problems that still need to be addressed, and the solution begins evolving. Early customers act as invaluable Subject matter experts(SME) and provide inputs to make the solution more holistic.

By the time the customer base has reached a considerable size, the internal teams also grow, all assembled around the founder(s)’ passion and vision. With the invariable resource constraints that small organizations have, the solution and the team building evolve but are constrained.

Despite the odds, organizations with passionate founders and teams start gaining and growing a presence in their target market. At the same time, similar solutions and competitors would have entered the market and start growing.

At this stage, many companies lose focus of their long-term vision and start composing the solution and the teams based on what is available and what the competition is doing. This leads to slow or stagnated growth, but the expenses have already multiplied. Organizations must juggle retaining existing customers, gaining new ones, and motivating internal teams.

The Impact

At this stage, customer expectations and hence escalations tend to multiply. Internal teams start losing focus as they get pulled in different directions. At once, they are building a new solution while fixing the issues with the existing one. Throw into the mix the rapid advancements in technology, and the entire organization comes to a halt without a clear vision of its future.

Some of the common impacts we see in such organizations include:

  • Less motivated employees
  • Missed revenue opportunities
  • Continuous miss on customer commitments
  • Inefficient use of resources
  • Lack of clarity of the organizational vision

We work with customers to define, implement and monitor the organizational strategy to address this challenge and re-energize organizations. This includes an end-to-end plan encompassing all the functions in the organization, from Marketing, Sales to Engineering/Product teams to customer support and HR.

How do we do it?

Step 1: Understanding the As-Is Stage

To address any problem, understanding the existing situation is the obvious place to start. That’s where we spend a lot of time discussing with the key stakeholders, including founders, functional team leaders, and the execution team.

We understand the founding vision, the organization’s purpose, the journey thus far and the current challenges. This helps us get clarity on the gaps and the opportunities at the same time. This also helps us understand the strengths and valued contributors in the organization. We then understand the founder’s vision for the future and the opportunities they have in mind to realize the vision. Those discussions also include presenting the leadership team with a realistic picture of the organizational capabilities, including that of the leadership, to achieve that goal.

Step 2: The data crunching stage

Once we gain clarity of the current stage of the organization and the trust of the founding team, we gather existing data of all the functional teams, including finance, sales, marketing, engineering, and customer support.

This helps us correlate the understanding from Step 1 to the numbers. As always, numbers bring out the gaps and missed opportunities. This stage typically takes time, as there will be back-and-forth to validate the numbers and collect more supporting metrics.

We slice and dice the numbers to understand the factors contributing to the company’s current numbers and the factors impeding it. The support and openness of the stakeholders, and importantly, the leadership team, is critical throughout these stages.

Once we have all the data and the analysis is complete, we are ready to make recommendations on their breakthrough objectives.

Step 3: Developing the Strategy Deployment Plan

Based on the detailed analysis and the customer’s vision, we started developing the Strategy Deployment Plan (SDP) using the Hoshin Kanri X-matrix as the tool. This includes the breakthrough objectives (for 3-5 years), Annual objectives based on the breakthrough objectives, improvement areas for each business function to achieve these annual objectives, and critical metrics, along with owners for each function.

The SDP document typically takes multiple iterations before it is finalized. Each iteration helps tighten the alignment between breakthrough objectives, annual objectives, function-wise Improvement priorities, and the targets to improve (key metrics). This stage also includes educating the leadership team on effectively using the X-Matrix and how to educate the team.

Once the SDP is baselined, it is ready to be rolled out.

Step 4: Getting the team ready

The most critical stage of the entire activity is to take the change to the teams and get their buy-in. We suggest that the management team set the context for the teams right from the early stages of our engagement. This is to get the teams ready for this stage.

Once we are at this stage, we have multiple rounds of discussion with functional leaders first to explain the strategy deployment process, its importance, and its benefits. We also clearly explain how the organization, their team, and they will benefit from this.

There are typical apprehensions from the stakeholders for fear of change and uncertainty perceived due to the change. To address this, we have multiple rounds of candid discussions with each functional team and explain to them the journey of their organization thus far, the current challenges and their vision for the future. With that as the premise, we make them understand why it’s important to have a clear long-term strategy in place and how they can actively contribute to the transformation of their organization.

Some of these interactions have been very insightful, helping us understand the minds of the leaders and their teams. This allows us to take vital team inputs back to the management and make them understand genuine concerns and inputs. This helps make the SDP and its implementation robust.

The main apprehension that comes to many teams is whether the change will impact their jobs and whether it would entail any reporting changes. This is where we encourage brutally honest discussions between the management and the teams. We facilitate these discussions by bringing objectivity to them.

Step 5: Training the teams

Another significant output from the previous step is identifying the knowledge and skill gaps across teams to adopt the change. This is then fed back into the management planning process, and we facilitate necessary team training.

Nothing is more futile than handing over a powerful tool to an unprepared team. So, we ensure enough time is spent re-training the teams on the necessary domain, process, and tools.

We have seen the initial reservations go off once the team is convinced of the organization’s intentions and has acquired the necessary knowledge and skills. Once that’s achieved, the employees take over ownership of the new strategy.

Step 6: Deploying the Strategy

At this stage, we help teams implement the plan through the help of various mechanisms and tools, including daily accountability meetings, visual display boards, and continuous improvement (kaizen).

The daily accountability meetings are tiered, i.e. the meetings go bottom up. For example, the engineering team members first meet with their lead, followed by the functional leads meeting with their managers, which is followed by the managers meeting with the leadership. This ensures that communication is 2-way, critical issues are immediately bubbled up, and prompt action is taken. Also, it is reiterated to everyone that these accountability meetings are to bring up issues on time and discuss solutions rather than blame anyone.

We recommend that all the meetings have a visual display board that captures the detail of the projects for everyone to see. This promotes openness and accountability. We participate in these meetings initially to facilitate the right adoption and clear any challenges or misconceptions about the new process.

As part of this process, the critical metrics identified in step 3 are tracked meticulously, and corrective actions are implemented to ensure the goals are met.

Step 7: Monitor Progress and Realign

As Peter Drucker said, “Strategy is a commodity, Execution is an art” We continuously monitor the implementation of the SDP and provide feedback to the customer teams. Periodic metrics review is done to course-correct and ensure the teams stay aligned with the goals.

During this stage, there are constant discussions on changing business dynamics, competition landscape, and technology changes to ensure the organization’s strategy is agile and ready to meet its goals.


Having a clear strategy and a robust execution mechanism is critical for the success of any organization, particularly for Startups and SMBs. Neekan Consulting helps with strategy planning and deployment for organizations through a step-by-step process that includes understanding the current state, analyzing existing data, developing the SDP, reviewing and baselining the SDP, training key stakeholders, and implementing and monitoring progress.

We have extensive experience working with organizations of various sizes and lifecycle stages, helping them define, implement, and benefit from a clear strategy.

Do not hesitate to contact us , your growth partner, to define a winning strategy for your organization.