We Don’t Call it “Big-Brained” Because We’re Vain
Once upon a time, in the early days of the web, a client once asked us to join the session because they needed a “big brain on this”. The term stuck. While we don’t think it’s about cerebral bulk, we do know it’s about a “different” kind of brain. One that isn’t embroiled in internal politics; one that isn’t hampered by organizational history. While we absolutely factor these into the equation, we think a fresh perspective is what can make the difference.
“Thanks for the doorstop. NOW what?”
We’ve seen the products of some “strategy engagements” that our clients have paid for in the past. Large, imposing documents, created by teams of people who met once with the organization and then went away for six months, returning with an impressive but often too-high-level view of the organization’s strategic direction. Very smart and often right on the money in terms of overall direction, these strategies often leave the organization wondering – ok, well, WHERE do we start? HOW do we get there? Hodges Consulting approaches strategy as a path of informed actions – driven by strategy, but clear and actionable, practical and tactical.
Key Stakeholders are…well…key.
We think strategy development should be iterative and collaborative. Oftentimes our client team is comprised of top organizational brass as well as department leads who are tasked with shaping a new direction. Sometimes, they have a board committee or even a funder who are keenly interested in the direction of said program. Our process is designed to contain key checkpoints for client review so that at the right times, the core team can review direction and clarify before we move to the next level. What we want to avoid is developing a strategic vision that drives criteria against which we evaluate legacy performance and is the bedrock for the recommendations we make…only to learn “after the fact” that the vision had changed.
Building a Strategic Vision
In addition to allowing the strategic approach to evolve in the right way, another fantastic thing happens as part of the process. Together, we create a story about our clients’ program that enables the client team to share with others the background for certain decisions. If a newly hired department lead or new board member wants to know why we don’t have x or y as the largest feature on the home page, the client can turn to this strategic vision as the bedrock for those decisions.