Strategic SnapShots©: What REALLY Matters? Part 2: Factor Weightings

Recap of Part 1

The first stage in the process as described in Part 1 is to:

  • formulate a Focus Question,
  • brainstorm the answers to the Focus Question,
  • each delegate privately develops seven Critical Factors, and then
  • collaboratively synthesize seven composite factors that include all inputs from all
  • Summarize these factors into concise, positive headings which are carried forward in the rest of the analysis. This process by design extracts those factors that are most important, and which relate to the essence of the business.

This process can be undertaken in-house using a spreadsheet or you can purchase our set of reasonably sophisticated spreadsheets and training videos to aid with the process or you can contract us to facilitate for you.

Determine Relative Importance (Weighting)

The next step in the process is for each delegate to privately determine the relative importance of each of the seven factors to achieving the strategic objectives of the organization.

This is achieved by allocating 100% across the seven factors such that the most important factor scores between 20% and 50% and the least important scores between 0% and 10%.  I have a series of slides that lead delegates through this process.

Most delegates find this a highly constructive and challenging process that requires some critical thinking to arrive at their numbers.  To aid in this process we first rank the factors on a scale of 1 to 7 where the most important factor is allocated 1 and the least important factor is allocated 7.

Delegates first weight the most important factor, then the least important factor and then spread the remainder of the 100% across the remaining five factors.  This again focuses attention on the essence of the organization and how it thrives so, effectively, a Pareto (20:80) process.

We then capture the weights starting with the sponsor.

The captured weights are then displayed in a table as shown below:

Factor Weighting Sheet

The Mountain

Typically, each delegate will have a very different view of the relative importance of the different factors.  This is completely acceptable, Finance, Marketing, Logistics, IT, etc DO see things differently.  This is made “OK” by reference to the reality that if we regard the organization as a mountain and the strategic objective as being to get to the top of the mountain, it is so that mountains look different depending on the direction from which you approach them – see the contour map below.

Different Views of the Mountain

Choosing ONE way up the Mountain

It is then pointed out that it is not helpful for each team to try and climb the mountain their own route and that we should select a single route up the mountain, see below:

Everyone sees the mountain differently

There is then a discussion as to whether to use the numeric average of the weights, or use the weights of the sponsor, or to agree some other selection of weights.

Once the weights are chosen all further planning continues based on these weights.

In Part 3…

In part 3 I will discuss scoring of historic, current, forecast and objective performance, discussion of those scores, development of the Strategic Trajectory and interpretation of that graph and discussion of the Weighted Gaps in terms of prioritizing the plan. 

In the article that follows we will look at the Strategic Gap Analysis and thereafter the Strategic Map, the Strategic Action Plan and other elements of a comprehensive planning process.  Experience my process through our High-Impact-Low-Cost Decision Making Workshop. See below.

Our “High-Impact-Low-Cost Decision Making” workshops take 4 to 5 hours for mid-size business with up to 7 delegates. In just a morning with your team, analyze an aspect of your business that is keeping you awake at night. Surface differences of opinion without conflict. End the Zoom call with consensus on where to focus your efforts. Click here for more information and a time-limited offer.

How the workshops work