How to use a T-map as part of your strategic planning process

You’ve made the decision: your organisation (or an area of your organisation) needs to transform. To ensure you’re not simply window dressing or swinging for the trees and hoping for the best, you need to decide on the best way to create and execute your transformation strategy. In other words, you need a strategic planning process that drives successful transformation by bringing together all the elements that will drive and support your initiative. One of the best ways to do this is by using a Transformation Map.

What is a Transformation Map?

A Transformation Map (or T-Map, for short) is a visual representation of the goal and strategic planning process. T-Maps include all of the important elements of successful strategic change: actions, milestones, timelines, results and impact. Think of a T-Map as a tool to present your way from strategy to execution, while at the same time ensuring organisational and leadership orientation. T-Maps turn the usual fear of change and reorganisation into motivation to achieve clear and defined goals, with outcomes that also guide future decision making. And, as an added bonus, they’re easy to create: literally get the template and get going. An example T-Map template is provided below:

BusinessOptix Transformation Map Blog

Using T-Maps in the strategic planning process

T-Maps are useful when you want to agree on, communicate and track the multiple (and often complicated!) components of your strategic planning process with stakeholders.

As with other high-level and large-scale change initiatives, the planning process is best completed in a workshop setting. Involving the appropriate stakeholders in the progression of the process – workshopping, evaluating and refining the T-Map – is as important as the T-Map itself. This is because to achieve the positive outcomes you define in the T-Map requires buy-in and ownership of the change process, something which will not be realised without stakeholder input and engagement. Thus the T-Map functions as a great way to kick off and reach agreement on the strategic planning process, and as a valuable reference tool for those times when the waters get muddy (as we all know they tend to do).

In the T-Map example below (source: BusinessOptix.com), the transformation of the information technology department is mapped into workstreams around the perimeter of the map, while the timeline is marked across the top and broken into significant milestones. The ‘current’ and ‘future’ states are clearly marked, as are the key decisions that need to be made along the way:

BusinessOptix T-Map Strategic Planning Blog

Maximising the value of your T-Map

Once you’ve agreed on and visually described all the elements of your strategic change process, your T-Map becomes a valuable asset to your business. T-Maps eliminate uncertainty in the change and transformation process and provide the boundaries for successful strategy execution. They support alignment of your leadership team and allow the transmission of key ideas and goals throughout the organisation. Finally, they provide a solid anchor for progress meetings.

Ultimately, having all the right ideas about where you want to go is only the first step in successful strategic business transformation. You also need to know the details of every step you’re going to take along the way. At BusinessOptix we like to pull together the change for all to see, and a T-Map does this job perfectly.