See If It Sticks

A tool to measure strategy deployment

by Ramon Perdigao

Most organizations deploy strategies top-down. However, managers often don’t know if the approaches they use to deploy strategies are effective. The strategy deployment intention-perception matrix (SDIPM) is a tool to help management gauge how the workforce—the individuals who are responsible for getting the work done—perceive and respond to organizational strategies.

The SDIPM measures strategic intention—management’s efforts in deploying strategies—and strategic perception—how employees understand and respond to strategic intention. To conduct this analysis, staff and leadership should answer a set of questions shown in Table 1 on a scale from one to five (low to high).

Table 1

These questions are designed to clarify what leadership thinks it is doing and what is really happening at the operational level. This approach is akin to asking two different audiences the same question and cross referencing their answers.

After the questions are answered through an organizationwide survey or a series of interviews, an intersect point is plotted on the SDIPM, shown in Figure 1. The SDIPM is comprised of four quadrants:

Figure 1

  1. Strategy not deployed (top-left) represents an organization in which efforts from leadership in deploying the strategy are evident, but the workforce’s perception is poor.
  2. Strategy illusion (bottom-left) reflects an organization that does not make efforts to properly deploy its strategy and its workforce does not perceive the strategy.
  3. Strategy confusion (bottom-right) shows an organization is not effectively deploying its strategy, yet its workforce’s perception ranks high. This could mean each employee in the organization may have his or her own understanding of a strategy that likely does not even formally exist.
  4. Strategy alignment (top-right) is the category all organizations strive to be in. It indicates a strong top-down strategy deployment approach and a workforce that clearly understands the strategy.

The importance of aligning strategic intention and perception cannot be overstated. Employees who understand their organization’s goals and objectives are more engaged in their daily activities because priorities are clearly defined. The organization benefits from mitigating confusion at the ground level and focusing everyone’s efforts on what really matters.

Ramon Perdigao is a senior member of ASQ and a certified quality improvement associate. He earned an MBA from Athabasca University in Canada and works for a large steel manufacturer as a management systems manager.

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