There is no shortage of business thinkers and authors who will tell us this statement is true:
Anyone can create a good strategy. The most frequent failure is in execution.
Unfortunately, this underestimates the difficulty in creating a “good strategy.” While the statement above is absolutely true, it is not unusual to find companies that don’t have a formal strategy at all, or who fail to share their divisional strategies with all of their employees (a key measurement of strategy adoption in a company is “how many of your employees can recite your company strategy”).
One of the obstacles I’ve come to recognize in Enterprise Architecture is unique to companies that either don’t have a formal strategy or who do not share their strategy with their staff — you cannot align efforts to strategy if there is no consistent understanding of strategy across divisions.
I always knew this was true. I’ve become more and more convinced that it is a hard-and-fast rule. In other words, if you want to be successful as an EA in a company that doesn’t share strategy, this becomes your First Order Problem — how to develop a consistent strategy that everyone at the senior level agrees with and that they are willing to share with their staff.
That’s it in a nutshell. To be successful, your organization must develop a consistent strategy that everyone at the senior level agrees with and that they are willing to share with their staff.
First order problem — In other words, focus on this. Make progress on this. Measure yourself by your progress on this. Associate yourself with the people who “should” own this, and align yourself with the people who actually do own this (rarely the same person). Find ways to be involved. Find ways to contribute. Volunteer. Make things happen. Find ways to support incremental progress, while recognizing that the increment may not be good enough in the long run. For EA to become known for “doing successful Enterprise Architecture,” a clear and communicated company strategy is ground zero.