Strategic Pillars

Strategic Pillars are simply the battlegrounds your company must focus on and win. How to find your Strategic Pillars and operationalise their delivery to ensure there is not a strategy and execution divide is covered in this article. 

ZOKRI allows you to align OKRs and KPIs with Strategic Pillars. Check-in and reporting processes ensure progress and risk levels are current and accurate, and important contextual supporting narratives are captured and shared.

Strategic Pillars

What are Strategic Pillars?

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If pillars are new to you here’s 101 of Strategic Pillars. Strategic Pillars are the three of four areas of focus your business has decided to focus on as a results of a strategic planning process. They are often referred to as the ‘battlegrounds you must win.

Like all forms of strategy the role of Strategic Pillars is simple. To focus and align the people, productivity and resources in the company on the areas that will help the company maximize growth by serving you target customers better than the competition.

You should see Strategic Pillars are an opportunity to clearly articulate your strategy to your teams so that they might create OKRs that support and align with them.

Amazon’s pillars were once described as: Most Products, Best Price, Fasted Delivery. Winning those battles would maximize revenue growth and shareholder value. Which for a company as diverse as Amazon might seem pretty narrow, but it’s amazing how business units can fall under those.

In start-ups it can be hard to know where to focus as you don’t know enough about your customer and the market to zero in. This means that your Strategic Pillars are more like hypotheses on how you propose to compete and win.

Strategic Pillars Examples & Creating Your Own

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How you decide on your pillars is a social process. In and across teams, in the markets you want to play, and for the customers you want to serve in those markets, you need to work out and propose to serve them better than your competition.

These become the battles you need to win, these are your strategic pillars.

To arrive at those pillars you should have considered a range of challenging questions, questions like:

Every company comes up with different Strategic Pillars based on the market, the customers being served, competitors, and resources.

The work done here will not only allow you to get clarity on what your Strategic Pillars are, you will also have found out if you’re a fit for OKR and have laid the foundations for them.

Perhaps your pillars describe a selection of battlegrounds you want to based on:

At the end of the process you should be able to articulate how you’re going to grow revenues and profits, and serve customers in specific markets, better than your competitors.

Strategic Pillars Template & Operationalization Guide

ZOKRI

Mission

To become the world’s leading strategy, goal
and culture management software platform.

Strategic Intent

Grow revenues and Profits x 300% Y on Y

Strategic Pillar

Product
Leadership

Strategic Pillar

Customer
Success & Education

Strategic Pillar

Brand & Solution
Awareness

Strategic Pillar

People
& Culture

KPIs

Sales
Competitiveness

Roadmap
Velocity

OKRs

What We Need To Make Progress On Most

KPIs

Trial Success

Business Impact

Retention

CSAT

Account Growth

OKRs

What We Need To Make Progress On Most

KPIs

Solution
Awareness

Visitors

Leads

Sign-ups

MQL:SQL %

Gartner

OKRs

What We Need To Make Progress On Most

KPIs

Employee SAT

Wellbeing
Score

Culture
Score

Employee
Retention

New Hire
Acceptance

OKRs

What We Need To Make Progress On Most

Once you have your Strategic Pillars, define a set of KPIs that would act as a scoreboard for these Strategic Pillars.

Then plan your OKRs in and across teams. Your OKRs are your battleplan, describing exactly how you are going to win each battleground.

Did you win, or did your OKRs fail? Your aligned OKRs and KPIs will tell you. But you need everyone to focus on them and execute.

Your Strategic Pillars need to become the focus of the entire organization throughout each planning and execution cycle.

pillar overview
Strategic Pillar with each OKR and aligned KPIs

Every quarter Town Halls talk about pillar, OKRs and KPI progress. So do monthly team meetings. And every quarter, you plan the next set of OKRs that you need to make progress on in order to win, answering the same sort of questions.

To win our Strategic Battlegrounds aka Strategic Pillars:

Once this becomes part of your standard business operations and company culture you will have closed the strategy execution gap and mastered OKRs.

ZOKRI - Step-change

Step-Change

Strategy, Goal & Culture Management eBook

A practical guide for C-Levels to optimize strategy, OKRs, people and company culture to create a step-change in performance.