The Strategy Model is the name given to the structure on which the plans are built within Cascade. The hierarchy of the Strategy Model cannot be modified!
An understanding of the hierarchy of the Strategy Model and the terms used will equip you and your organization to use Cascade to successfully execute your strategy.
It’s important to have your Strategy Model structure in place before you start adding content to your strategic plan.
See The Cascade Glossary to understand what each of these terms mean!
What constitutes a plan?
Plans will be built according to a structure consisting of Focus Areas, Objectives, and Success Criteria.
- Focus Areas: High-level categories to focus on as you strive to your Vision, and vary across teams. At the end of the day, Focus Areas let you group your key objectives/outcomes to keep them organized. You can name them after anything, such as "Key Responsibility Area or KRA", "Balanced Scorecard", "Departments", "Your team members' names", "High/medium/low priority", or you can literally delete all but one, and call it "Company Goals"...just don't let the concept of "Focus Area" take away from your ability to add your objectives. These should have no metrics or deadlines.
- Objectives: These are the outcomes that you wish for. They are ambitious outcomes with specific timelines, and should clearly articulate a "future truth" you and your team can strive for. They are the highest level items inside the Focus Areas. All of your Actions and Measures will be children of Objectives.
- Success Criteria: You can evaluate success of each objective using Actions, Measures and Contributing Objectives. The #1 reason you will immediately get value from Cascade is because it turns “rough” timelines into more meaningful journeys to success. It ALL comes from Success Criteria!
- Measures: Metrics or measures of success that explicitly measure whether or not you actually achieved the Objectives. These are specific numbers we track in order to prove an Objective has been achieved. It's one thing to complete a bunch of Actions in trying to achieve the Objective, but how can we prove it's been achieved?
- Actions: These are the specific and tangible things we're doing to achieve an Objective. Actions are typically the most relatable "goals" to your everyday employee. Objectives help employees connect what they're doing (Actions) to why they're doing it (Objective). This will contain tasks, which break down a larger action, that will help transform an Objective into a truth about your organization. Tasks, and their relationship to other parts of the plan, help show the value of everyday work.
- Contributing Objectives: These are linked objectives that impact the success. These are also objectives and can be defined anywhere in your plan or a different plan. If its outcomes impact the success of an other objective, then they can be linked, and together make an impact on the success.
- Projects: These are a group of "actions" executed to achieve a desired outcome. These're basically breaking down a large piece of work into small, executionable tasks!
Overall, with this setup:
- Objectives are simple, clear and have a specific outcome. These are defined by an ambitious outcome linked to future identity.
- Actions are specific tasks that help you get there, and Measures are quantitative, time-bound metrics.
- Objectives can only be "Complete" or "realized" if you complete your associated Actions, and you hit your Measure targets.
It's hard to argue with those results at that point!
Let's try understanding the strategy model with an example:
I want to create the best supply chain in the southern hemisphere. My strategy model will be:
Can I rename the parts of the Strategy Model?
Yes! We're providing you with a more flexible strategy model. Check out this article - Flexible Strategy Model for details!
Can I rearrange aspects of the Strategy Model?
Currently, the aspects of the Strategy Model are arranged for the most streamlined strategy building experience and cannot be rearranged.
Is there a way to add fields that I want?
Yes, you can create custom fields and save them as templates which can later be added to plan(s). Data populated in these fields can be pulled into reports to get insights on your outcomes! See Create Templates and Custom Fields and Populate Data against Custom Fields for details.
How many Focus Areas can I have?
Ideally, not more than 4 to 5 focus areas!
Where can I enter the mission statement and values?
Earlier, we had a Plan Principles area in the Planner page where the vision, mission, and the values were defined. However, you can add these now in the Teams pages for your whole company. Navigate to Plans and Teams > Teams page, and add the vision, mission and values!
Can I customize the colors I see on areas of the Strategy Model?
Currently, the Planner does not support color changes and will come equipped with Cascade’s classic colors (which are pretty nice, let’s be honest).
Are plans time-bound?
No, there's no timelines on a plan. Once created, it'll stay forever in your workspace unless you delete them! Only objectives and its associated success criteria (actions, projects, measures) are time-bound! Even a focus area under which these are defined are not time-bound!