Government strategy execution office
don't just strategize it, execute it!
DR. JEHAD JACK BAKER
So many books and papers were published about strategy, planning, execution, delivery, and management. This is not just another paper, this is an actual system created to ensure the execution of a strategy; not any strategy, government strategy. We call it the government strategy execution office (GSEO), a set of six processes integrated as a full life cycle of government strategy execution.
Keywords: strategy execution, delivery office, strategy implementation, government strategy
We all should acknowledge the fact that strategy execution is not an easy thing, and most of corporate strategies out there failed partially to be executed or even failed to be executed at all. Government strategy is no different! Actually, government strategy is far more complicated to execute than corporate strategy.
Government strategies are integrated part of our world, society, and daily life. We, as citizens, are the most impacted and yet, the influencers! When it comes to actual execution of activities toward strategy, there are two types of players, known and hidden players. Of course, government agencies are the known players. They're the ones executing the government strategy, and they are the ones accountable to us, the citizens (the most impacted). The hidden player in government execution is the private sector (the companies and contractors that actually do the work). For example, The Ministry of Transport is the known player in executing the strategy activities, like building bridges, but the actual implementers are the contractors in the private sector. Another part of government strategy is the role of the leadership in forming such a strategy (i.e., the orchestrator), as represented in Exhibit 1.
Exhibit 1: Government strategy and complexity within.
Now let us talk about strategy execution. All governments have all sorts of strategies: ten years, five years, two years, and so on; however,
1. Do they really execute what they strategize?
2. Are cascading strategies of the government sectors being aligned?
3. Are strategy and cascading strategies being updated to reflect surrounding changes (financial crisis, security, people demands, etc.)?
4. Where is the spending of hard cash going?
5. What benefits are being realized, and are benefits being maximized to reflect positively on citizens?
6. Do government officials adopt a culture of strategy management and execution?
7. Did they translate the strategy into actionable programs and projects?
8. Do they know what initiatives are being executed?
9. Have they linked programs and projects to initiatives and initiatives to strategy?
10. How do they manage the weight of initiatives, programs, and projects?
I doubt if they can answer all of these questions. Actually, if any government can answer the first five questions, it should remain in power forever!
GSEO was created to help answer all of these questions. It is the link between strategy and initiatives, programs, and projects execution (Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 2: Linking strategy formation to execution.
Government strategy execution office (GSEO) is a set of processes created to ensure the implementation of government strategy. GSEO contains six processes integrated to provide full control over strategy execution. When I created these processes, I was influenced by the A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition style of having inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. For example, the g-smart process is presented, see Exhibit 3:
Exhibit 3: GSEO process example.
The six processes that make the GSEO are represented in Exhibit 4.
Exhibit 4: GSEO six processes.
Here is a short description about what each process covers in the government strategy execution office (GSEO).
The g-smart process is the presentation part of the GSEO and contains dashboards, reports, indicators, and decision support system to help strategy owners in the management of strategy execution. It also provides all stakeholders a view of the current progress of the strategy execution. By stakeholders, I mean all players: the citizens, the government officials, the leadership, and the private sector. All now have the same transparent view of what is going on when it comes to the government strategy execution.
The g-change process is the change management part of the GSEO and contains a set of tools and techniques created to ensure the adoption of the strategy culture in the government. The main purpose of this process is to switch the mindset of the government officials from the traditional daily operational work into strategy execution.
The g-max process is the benefits management and maximization part of the GSEO and covers the analysis of the government strategy and cascading strategies initiatives, expected results, and impacts. It performs analysis for major programs and projects outcomes and compares it with original defined benefits. It also provides for cross analysis of cascading strategies initiatives and major programs and projects in relation to overall government strategy.
The g-align process is the main engine behind the GSEO and focuses on aligning the strategy with external factors like (financial crisis, security, people demands, etc.) and internal factors like government mandates. This process was created to support mapping government strategy with cascading strategies, alignment of cascading strategies with of the overall government strategy, and alignment of initiatives, and megaprograms and projects in cascading strategies in coordination with the g-max process outcome.
The g-spend process is the financial part of the GSEO and it acts as the financial controller of strategy spending. The main objectives of g-spend are the analysis of planned spending and the actual spending in the government strategy and cascading strategies initiatives and megaprograms and projects. The main output of the g-spend is the spending recommendations in the coordination of g-align and g-max.
The g-lab is a process in the GSEO created to ensure that all main stakeholders’ ideas, issues, and expectations are captured, studied and converted into actionable items in the strategy execution office. In the g-lab, innovation meetings to create initiatives and program blue prints for overall government strategy and cascading strategy are initiated; review meetings of the g-smart output (strategy execution output) will take place; analysis of g-smart, g-align, and g-max will be conducted; and issues that need immediate actions will be added into the actual strategy execution plans.
To make GSEO a workable concept, and given that we live in the digital age, it makes perfect sense to utilize technology to run a strategy execution office. Built on the six processes mentioned above, a GSEO web portal is created to integrate the six processes and to be used as an actual execution tool by all stakeholders involved in the execution of the government strategy (Exhibit 5 and Exhibit 6).
Exhibit 5: GSEO web portal example
Exhibit 6: GSEO web portal example
Finally, let us be honest with ourselves, government strategy execution is probably one of the hardest jobs on the planet, and science will help, but it is an art of integrating all stakeholder demands into one strategy that can be executed. Go figure!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jehad Jack Baker, PhD, OPM3, PgMP, PMP, has more than 22 years of executive and hands-on experience in international enterprises in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East; of those, Dr. Baker has over 16 years of hands-on experience in planning and managing mega initiatives, programs, and projects for a variety of sectors, including Government, Nongovernmental Organizations, IT, Construction, Telecommunication, Healthcare, and Finance. Dr. Baker also played an executive role in establishing several start-up internet companies in the Silicon Valley and the Middle East. In addition, he has worked as a consultant for the United Nations, NASA, and the Saudi government. Dr. Baker currently works as Consulting Director in the ELM Company in Saudi Arabia to provide strategy, governance, transformation execution, and business change consultation.
CONNECT WITH ME!
Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK®guide) – Fifth edition. Newtown Square, PA: Author.
© 2016, Dr. Jehad Jack Baker
Originally published as part of the 2016 PMI® Global Congress Proceedings – Barcelona, Spain