We've documented a series of key success factors (KSFs) concerning the deployment of Strategy Planning and Portfolio Modeling Systems.
Align process with maturity level.Assess the maturity level of the organization, deploy only what they can absorb. We assess organizational readiness to accept change on a 1-5 scale, with five being a mature "learning-organization." Don't jump from 1 to 4, most organizations can only handle incremental improvements. Manage the "rate of digestion."
Keep it very simple. Good strategy execution systems should not be complex. It should be flexible.
Adapt in real time, rather than force fit. Be willing to toss-out core principles in order to advance the process forward. More important to engage executive team members, than stand on principle. It is more important to get them to "play the game" than it is to "get it right" the first time. Their ongoing participation will improve the quality of the information over time. See "roughly-right" postbelow.
Avoid "static" strategic planning. Get something in-place, then set up frequent refresh-cycles. We refresh the portfolio models at least once a month. The refresh process will continually refine the information and keep it current with the realities of the changing environment. See "do-it, try-it, fix-it..." postbelow.
Do it top-down first...from Vision, to Goals, to Strategies with senior management, then do it bottom-up with line managers from the program level up to the strategies. Then compare top-down with the bottom-up. There is a lot to be learned about communication through looking at the problem from both perspectives.
Make it theirs.Once the executive team puts their own "stuff" in the models (based on their own assumptions) they will be hooked! Effective process deployment should not need ongoing external support, it should integrate and become the standard operating procedure for the executive team. Bad systems require ongoing support.
Understand the real objections, versus push-back due to fear of "exposure." Often times the process of defining, mapping, and modeling strategy highlights deficiencies in the organization. Sometimes objections to the process are a result of an unwitting attempt by some to hide these... so they can "fix" them in private. Sort out real objections from these "fear-based" ones...
Create change in "triads."For some reason it always takes three people to create change. Get three senior people on-board and they will have critical mass to move others in the direction needed to deploy a more disciplined process.