Disrupt Toolkit

Tools & Techniques


OKRs (Objectives, Goals and Key Results) are critical to the 'Disrupt' offering


I want a flexible, collaborative method that ensures activities are aligned to the strategy across the organisation.
This transparent, non-hierarchical approach helps deliver change by facilitating a shared understanding of the organisation’s goals before directly aligning to them a set of measurable objectives. It is an alternative to the traditional, KPI-driven methods of measuring performance, which have been proven to lack effectiveness for organisations and sectors experiencing change and/or disruption. At the end of the session, a set of objectives will have been mapped and aligned to the goals of the organisation, with key measures, responsibilities, and timescales agreed.
Before you start: Read the OKRs Playbook and use the slides
Duration: Four hours
Who needs to be involved: On the client side, six to eight senior leaders from multiple functions
What you need: Lots of sticky notes, pens, and a whiteboard

Roadmap Radar

The Roadmap Radar visualises how activities align to strategic priorities


I need to visualise the goals and objectives of the organisation, with initiatives plotted on the radar to indicate clusters and gaps in effort.
Once you have the goals and objectives of the organisation affirmed through an OKR session, plot current initiatives against each objective, whilst indicating timeline (in this quarter, in the next quarter, etc.). This visualises the balance of effort and informs you of any robust conversations you need to have with the client about misaligned effort.
Before you start: You first need to run an OKR session
Duration: Allow half a day
Who needs to be involved: The EE team, led by the Strategic Advisory consultant
What you need: Workshop the first iteration of the Roadmap Radar with a flip-chart and sticky notes. The final outcome can be digitised using the template

Strategic Maturity Assessment

The Strategic Maturity Assessment is a great way of understanding an organisation


I want to better understand the strategic characteristics of an organisation, in order to tailor-make my recommendations
Sending out this brief survey in advance of engaging a client can provide valuable insights into the history and context of the organisation. Categorising levels of strategic maturity into five main characteristics (epitomised by animals - 'Adaptability' being a chameleon; 'Intentionality' being an eagle; etc), allows you to quickly focus in on the right tools and techniques to recommend for the best results soonest. The final report is fully customisable, according to the responses from the client.
Before you start: Explain the purpose of the exercise
Duration: Allow a day to analyse the results and create the final report
Who needs to be involved: The relevant Client Principal
What you need: The questionnaire can be found here, and the basis of the final report is available on request from the Strategic Advisory practice

Current & Future Reality Trees

Reality Trees help you distinguish between root causes and intermediate effects


I want to see beyond intermediate effects to understand the root causes of observed undesirable effects and devise injections that will make a lasting difference
The causes of undesirable effects (e.g., ‘Morale is low’) are often misunderstood in organisations. This process allows the team to plot and rank their observations, show how intermediate effects relate to one another, and eventually become root causes. By identifying and isolating root causes, the team can then discuss and agree on hypotheses around concrete interventions to reverse the undesirable effects and measure the impact of the resulting changes.
Before you start: Create the synthesised themes across one-to-one interviews, surveys, observations and extant documents
Duration: Allow half a day for each tree
Who needs to be involved: The EE team, led by the Strategic Advisory consultant
What you need: whiteboard, markers. To digitise the final outcomes, use the template.

Business Evolution Map

The Map intuitively shows organisations their position in the market


I want to help busy executives make strategic planning easier and quicker by giving them an innovative and highly effective tool for visualising opportunities and risks in core and adjacent markets.
In the same way that you navigate the physical world, the map provides a powerful way to visualise the business environment and to help clients identify the best moves to ensure they win while others fail. Based on decades of experience of failure and success with clients of different sectors, countries, and sizes, the tool can be used to substantiate a comprehensive set of recommendations.
Before you start: On the EE side, work is required to accurately categorise and position the client on the map, plot the current position and trajectory of major competitors, and indicate possible journeys
Duration: Allow half a day (including prep work)
Who needs to be involved: Senior leaders on the client’s side, particularly those involved in strategic planning
What you need: A copy of the map – feel free to borrow the hard copy from the Manchester office, if practical. The outcomes, with history, present state, and potential future moves indicated on the map, can be digitised using the soft copy

Customer Journey Mapping

Mapping the journey helps identify inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement


I want to map the customer journey process from end-to-end, starting with the requirements through to an agreed definition of ‘done’, looking for pain points, duplication, and redundancy.
Bringing delivery teams together and having them talk through the customer journey process from beginning to end, indicating hand-offs and delays, helps pinpoint issues in the organisational design, identify potential improvements to ways of working, and interrogate systemic issues (e.g., lack of domain knowledge) – all from a customer-value perspective. The facilitator collects the as-is process and displays each one in the room before compiling all the as-is processes (see diagram above) and before mapping out an optimised, to-be process, highlighting efficiency and efficacy gains.
Before you start: No prep work is required.
Duration: Sessions should last 45–60 minutes; post-session work will take at least the same time.
Who needs to be involved: Delivery teams from the client side
What you need: Pens, sticky notes

Code Reviews


I want to contextualise our technical recommendations by seeing the codebase and observing how the client’s team interacts with it on a daily basis.
Sitting with the client’s development teams and gathering their perspectives as they code is vital to building a thorough and empathetic understanding of the codebase and any infrastructural issues which would affect progress.
Before you start: The client needs to grant EE team access to the relevant systems
Duration: Varies according to need
Who needs to be involved: Developer/Architect (as required)
What you need: No prep work required

Lean Value Tree

LVT ensures progress towards the Vision is achieved through experimentation


I want to organise the bets to make the most effective interventions and measure the results.
Each activity from the teams must aim at (dis)proving a hypothesis through experimentation, which in turn links to an objective and aligns with a strategic goal. The betting language is intentional – how much time and effort are you willing to commit to the exploration of this idea? Some ideas require more investment to prove than others, and some are better understood and therefore require less validation. As a result, not all bets are equal.
Before you start: Running an OKR session is a prerequisite
Duration: Throughout the engagement
Who needs to be involved: All parties
What you need: Sticky notes, pens

Bet canvas

Optimise outcomes by structuring Bets using this simple canvas


I want to create highly structured bets with an outline of how experiments will be designed, measures of success will be defined, and any challenges and risks will be captured.
The canvas is designed to ensure that each bet has a clear and robust structure, and can be displayed for all teams to see and add suggestions, comments, and questions. It will guarantee the consistency of the approach, highlight the unknown, and allow easy and regular reporting of progress.
Before you start: An OKR session and a Lean Value Tree are both prerequisites.
Duration: Allow half a day
Who needs to be involved: All parties
What you need: Brainstorm using sticky notes, then digitise using the template

Team Health Checks

Uncover team strengths and weaknesses, and build morale, using this simple tool


I want to assess all aspects of team health, confirm strengths, and explore issues.
Bring delivery teams into the room, and hand out traffic light cards, showing red, amber, and green. Proceed through a structured set of questions, asking team members to turn over their cards at the same time. Take a tally and discuss the results as a group. Where there are differences of opinion, be sure to vote again, and note if any minds are changed by the discussion.
Before you start: Create traffic light cards for participants to hold up when voting
Duration: Session lasts an hour
Who needs to be involved: Delivery teams
What you need: Use the template deck for the questions

One-to-one interviews

Build relationships and deeply explore issues with stakeholders


I want to run consistent, in-depth interviews with a range of stakeholders to better understand the past, present, and future.
Using a structured interview process to gather information from stakeholders from different functions has proved very effective when capturing a range of feedback. Themes that spontaneously emerge from the process can be used to inform the final playback session with the Exec, as well as provide an evidence base for other activities, such as Current and Future Reality Trees.
Before you start: The interview guidelines need to be created and agreed on with the EE team to ensure consistency and, thus, easier analysis. A spreadsheet with the questions and space for the answers should be created before the first interview. If you would like to record the interview (and the interviewee agrees), download otter.ai onto your phone
Duration: Allow an hour
Who needs to be involved: Any relevant stakeholder
What you need: Refer to, and amend as necessary, these template interview guidelines

Online survey


I want to send out an online survey that gathers useful information whilst allowing everyone to feel they have contributed to the process
Designing a brief but comprehensive online survey allows the EE team to gather information from a much wider universe than is possible through one-to-one interviews, or team-by-team workshops.
Before you start: The questions in the survey should be agreed by the ‘Disrupt’ team, led by the Strategic Advisory consultant
Duration: The online survey should not take more than 10 minutes to complete
Who needs to be involved: The survey should be sent out to the widest possible group at the client
What you need: Use either UX Forms or Google Forms to build your survey. An example of a previous survey can be found here

Pro Tips

If required, co-create engagement with the client (ask them to tell you what they want more, less, different, etc.) – reassure them that the engagement is not on tracks, and the plan can pivot as many times as required. Often the problem we’re asked to address has different root causes than initially predicted
Ask to see any and all documentation to build an evidence-based picture of the history and current state of the project
The key is to remain broad, with a depth of ‘just in time’ and ‘just enough’. You don’t need to understand everything to the nth degree of detail to make effective recommendations
At the start of every session with stakeholders, regardless of level, establish ‘golden rules’ – no devices, one conversation at a time, be respectful, etc.
No homework is required of stakeholders, ever
Trust the process, and don’t rush to judgement – the 'Disrupt' activity is cumulative
Secure and keep a room for the duration of the engagement, where outcomes can be displayed with an open door policy
Perform interim playbacks with the client (especially those involved in the process)
Plan for regular reflection time for the team, away from the client