Strategy models & frameworks
What is it?
The House of Strategy is a graphic model showing how vision, mission, values and strategy come together for an organisation.
House of Strategy features in Mike’s book ‘The Strategy Manual: A step-by-step guide to the transformational change of anything‘ and is also covered in our Strategy Master Workshops.
How do I use it?
You can use House of Strategy in two ways. Firstly, in creative work, whilst writing a new vision, mission and strategy, House of Strategy can be used to ensure they align and complement each other. Secondly, House of Strategy can be used to audit or validate an existing vision, mission and strategy, to check how well they work together.
Working through the House of Strategy, from the base: your current organisation is the baseline for any strategy. For all but the freshest of start-ups, your organisation’s current state will be derived from its heritage; how the organisation originated and what capabilities it has since acquired. Current state ought to be characterised, to a large extent, by ‘mission’. An organisation’s mission is a statement of core purpose and focus, that normally remains unchanged over time. It answers the question, “Why does our business exist?” . A mission statement communicates the organisation’s purpose to its employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders and creates a sense of identity for its employees.
An organisation’s vision is almost a counter-point to its current state. It defines where we are not currently, but want to be. An organisation’s vision is a picture of its potential, an audacious dream of its future. It should inform, inspire and energise everyone in the organisation. Since vision typically stretches into the future, it is also what gives continuity from one strategy to the next.
It is important to distinguish clearly between mission and vision. It is not your mission to become the market leader in your business sector because that is an aspiration for the future. Your mission is your reason-for-being now. It could be to offer market-leading value for money or to delight customers with your services. If your organisation remains on-mission, you may then be able, in the future, to realise your vision. And that vision could be an aspiration of market leadership.
Strategy is how we move from where we are now to where we want to be by defining the future state we seek to bring about. It is what connects current state (mission) with a picture of our potential (vision).
Strategy is driven by, and constrained by, the organisation’s values. The word ‘values’ literally means principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life; the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person or social group. Values are the ethical ideals of the organisation. They are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.
Strategy is also driven by and constrained by the opportunities and obstacles presented by the organisation’s operating environment. These can include changing customer needs, emerging technologies and new laws or regulations.
In the House of Strategy Framework, strategy is what is needed to fill the hole left by mission, vision and values.
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Author of 'The Strategy Manual' and 'Core Values', Goal Atlas founder and Director, Mike Baxter, is a renowned strategy expert, keynote speaker and thought leader. He publishes regular articles on all aspects of strategy and strategic planning and frequently shares his ideas and expertise via the Strategy Distilled newsletter, LinkedIn and other invited presentations.
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