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Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC)

Demystifying the X Matrix-Insights from the ASQ LSS Conference

As I mentioned in my last post, our group just returned from the 2011 ASQ Lean & Six Sigma Conference. For the next few blog posts, I’ll give you a summary of some of the interesting presentations I heard.


The fourth presentation was designed as advanced training on the application of X matrix forms to Strategy Deployment. Companies have many ways to communicate and track their strategic initiatives and the X matrix is just one example. Tony Manos taught a basic class on Strategy Deployment at the 2010 ASQ LSS Conference and in this year’s session he followed up on using the X Matrix format to track performance to the strategic plan.


Tony reviewed the highlights of the strategy deployment process, including:
1. Review of previous year’s results
2. Environmental Scan- business, social, market, and legal trends
3. SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat analysis)
4. Vision, Values, and Mission confirmation
5. Evaluation of top ideas using tools such as: Affinity diagrams, Radar Charts, and drivers/means/outcome analysis.
 
Using the X Matrix

 

Using the information gained from the work above, the leadership team lays out the strategic initiatives for the next 3 to 5 years along the bottom of the X matrix. Along the left side are focused strategies designed to close the gap between current state and the strategic initiatives for the next 1 to 2 years. Across the top of the X are current initiatives and projects that will lead to accomplishing the focused strategies. Along the right side are measures & metrics coupled with the supporting process owners, dates, and resources.


This high level X matrix spawns similar documents as the strategies are cascaded down through the organization. Each subsequent X matrix becomes more focused toward the present activities. For example, The 1 to 2 year actions from the higher level X Matrix become the Strategic Initiatives for the next level.


The X matrix is a tool to create visibility for our strategy. It communicates the strategic direction for the company, department, or unit while tracking progress through the use of metrics. Standards, visibility, and problem solving are the keys to any strategy deployment. If we don’t incorporate problem solving, then the X matrix is only wall paper.


Do you have a structured way to communicate and track your corporate strategy?
david

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