Interim Executive Resources

Archive for November, 2011



The Strategic Cascade Series introduced and described a list of elements that describe a business and how it operates to meet business needs.  The High Performance series discusses requirements to achieve performance in an organization at individual and group levels.  In this Performance Framework series, these two models are merged and relationships established to tie these very different concepts together.  In particular, the use of the Strategic Cascade elements to drive High Performance factors is discussed in depth.

The Strategic Cascade is a six element framework for describing a business.  These six elements are MISSION, OBJECTIVES, STRATEGY, STRUCTURE, PROCESSES, and METRICS.  If a business does a good job of describing each of these framework elements and brings them into alignment with each other, then high performance can be achieved.  The High Performance model is a four element model consisting of PERSPECTIVE, CONNECTION, AUTONOMY, and TONE.  If a business has high levels in each of these performance factors, then high performance can be achieved.

These two models have been introduced as separate concepts, but how do they relate?  Are they truly independent and have no effect upon each other?  Or are they much more connected than the separate boxes imply in the drawing above?

The basic answer is that they are very connected and if you are striving for high performance in your business you can use the elements in the Strategic Cascade to build various aspects of High Performance.  In fact, there is a clear mapping of framework elements to performance elements that is worthy of detailed description.

For example, how can the Strategic Cascade be used to drive PERSPECTIVE in an organization?  If you want your team to have a comprehensive point of view as opposed to an individual or departmental point of view, what actions can be taken that give people inside a business a more whole-organization understanding?  Another example would be driving performance through increased AUTONOMY.  How can you use the Strategic Cascade elements to provide each individual/each team what they need to perform at their highest level independent of the performance of other teams, yet recognizing that business does not succeed only through individual/team heroics? 

The following diagram provides insights into the answers to the previous questions:

In order to drive higher levels of PERSPECTIVE in an organization, it is necessary to provide an overall business context so that a comprehensive point of view can be developed.  This is accomplished by providing a thorough description of MISSION, OBJECTIVES, and STRATEGY. 

Similarly, in order to drive for higher levels of AUTONOMY, it is necessary to provide information regarding the execution of the individual/team role.  The Strategic Cascade elements that drive this are STRATEGY, STRUCTURE, and PROCESSES as indicated in the diagram.

Each of the performance factors are linked to framework elements in cascading fashion.  The arrows missing in the figure above are:  OBJECTIVES, STRATEGY, and STRUCTURE drive higher levels of CONNECTION and STRUCTURE, PROCESSES, and METRICS drive higher levels of TONE.

Note there is not a one to one mapping of framework element to performance factor.  Using the PERSPECTIVE example, it is insufficient to simply discuss MISSION to provide a comprehensive point of view.  A much more thorough PERSPECTIVE is provided when “what the business does” is supported by “goals to be accomplished” and “how we will pursue those goals”; in other words MISSION, OBJECTIVES, and STRATEGY.

Another interesting aspect of this model is that each Strategic Cascade element is tied to multiple High Performance factors.  When you are describing business STRATEGY, you are driving higher performance in PERSPECTIVE, CONNECTION, and AUTONOMY.  When you are detailing PROCESSES for your organization, you are driving higher performance in AUTONOMY and TONE.

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