How can you Link Process with Strategy to significantly improve Performance?

Do the math and the Top Team are as confused as hell. Are we all doomed?

For instance Google searches reveal a plethora of various experts claiming dominion over the process truth. Is it any surprise that the top team are confused. Who should you believe about improving and connecting process, strategy and performance? How can you get it right with so much potential mis information?

Six Sigma – 20.2 Million
Business Process Management – 273 Million
Enterprise Architecture – 25.5 Million
Customer Experience Management – 95.7 Million

And what benefit is all that process based stuff doing for organization performance? Why is there this disconnect between process transformation (whatever your flavor), performance improvement and Strategic Intent?

Is the disconnect something fundamental about how we think of work? 

Think about how we manage and control most organizations. Yes you probably guessed it, with a model of doing business from the industrial revolution. Is it any great surprise that process and strategy are at best disconnected and at worst the cause of todays business issues as our corporate mindsets are simply not geared for the customer/digital age.

We have got to step up and move our thinking and practice into the 21st century.

So let’s scan the horizon and look at a few of the folks who seem to have it…

Some common themes emerge when you research the Zara, Zappos, Emirates, Virgin, Apple, Amazon, Disney type companies.

Their success is defined by ongoing performance improvements despite the ups and downs of economic cycles, terrorism, climate change and industrial disputes. Performance improvements measured by objective and tangible results including shareholder values, profitability, service delivery and cost control separate these guys from the rest. So what is it?

At first glance could it be the improvements in efficiency and effectiveness through classic process approaches such as Lean and Six Sigma. Might it be shaped by removing non value added activities and streamlining activity? Or given the apparent disconnect between process and strategy elsewhere, and interestingly the lack of attention in these leading organisations towards industrial age approaches, where is this performance kick coming from?

Latest Research

Research now suggests the performance benefit is derived directly by connecting the processes with the customer experience and onwards into strategic intent. Can it be so straightforward? So simple others could emulate this approach?

We can trace the origins to a 1997 speech by Steve Jobs “You gotta start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. Not the other way around.” Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon, actually calls their strategic mission as ‘working backwards’. Put the customer first, then figure out what you need to do to align to achieving a successful outcome.

We have distilled this approach into the CEMMethod so as to train others in the deployment, with two lead techniques to create this understanding – The Outside-In Strategic Matrix (OISM), and the Successful Customer Outcome Canvas (SCOC).

Through this mechanism you can link Process to Strategy in a scientific way. Ultimately there shouldn’t be anything that you do as an organization that isn’t linked to the Successful Customer Outcome and the Strategic intent. Disney refer to this alignment as ‘True North’.

Mature Outside-In companies have a Rewards and remuneration system that further reinforces their efforts. People can literally see their day to day contribution.

It might not be rocket science and that is part of its virtue. We can all orientate our thinking and doing in the same way to unify strategy and process.


Steve Jobs talk in 1997 –


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