How to build an organizational strategy
November 16th, 2020
Many companies and organizations, including Asana, have missions to guide their work. Asana’s mission is “to help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.” Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Sony’s is “to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology.”
Yet, as powerful and inspiring as those missions are, how do you, as a leader, help your team implement—and feel—them on a day-to-day basis? It’s a gap that many organizations experience and have difficulty filling.
In our new ebook, Bridging the gap between mission, goals, and work: How to build an organizational strategy, we wanted to explore the space between that lofty mission and the on-the-ground work. How can leaders better connect these disparate layers of the organization to help their employees succeed?
The answer, we think, can be found in organizational strategy.
What is organizational strategy?
A company’s mission acts as a North Star and sets the destination for an organization—but it doesn’t explain how to get there. That relies on something else: organizational strategy. But what is it?
“The textbook definition is: the actions a company takes to achieve long-term results,” explains Lotte Vester, Head of Organizational Strategy at Asana. “If your mission specifies your destination, your strategy spells out how to get there.”
Essentially, organizational strategy is the map for achieving your mission. If the mission is the 50,000 foot view, the organizational strategy is more like the 10,000 foot view—with everyday tasks being the equivalent of “on the ground” work. It is an essential piece of a company’s structure—at least if you want to actually bridge the gap between mission and work.
Now, what does it look like in practice?
Create alignment with the pyramid of clarity
There are a few ways to build out the organizational strategy “map.” For example, Tesla’s mission is to move the world to sustainable energy, but they plan to get there through their famous Master Plan.
At Asana, we use a framework we call the pyramid of clarity. The pyramid of clarity is a framework that connects our mission to the day-to-day work through strategic objectives. It ensures that all Asanas know how their work ladders up to the company’s mission so they never lose sight of their impact. Our Goals feature is a great way of connecting these dots and bridging the gap.
An overarching strategy like the pyramid of clarity or Tesla’s Master Plan doesn’t help just one team or department. When implemented company-wide, these strategies help everyone stay aligned and focused. Instead of working independently towards a shared goal or mission, collaborative leaders help each other design, refine, and track each others’ strategies. They work together to ensure everything they do supports, rather than hinders, their peers’ work.
Ready to create an organizational strategy?
Strategic misalignment can seem like a given—but it’s not. When leaders in an organization recognize the problem and find frameworks to create an iron-clad link between mission, strategy, goals, and work—and you communicate that link to your workers—great things can happen.
Are you ready to create—and implement—an organizational strategy at your company? Download our ebook, Bridging the gap between mission, goals, and work: How to build an organizational strategy, to get started today.