We’ve all seen it happen. Deadlines for next year’s budget requests drive a mad dash to come up with defensible proposals. Drop everything. All hands-on-deck.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a Business Relationship Management (BRM) Group then at least you’ve had the conversations with your business customers. But conversations don’t always translate to buy-in.

Buy-in requires participation in the decision process. In general the more business participation the better but we’ve all heard the adage of what happens when a committee tries to design a horse–you end up with a camel!

This happens because all suggested ideas are weighted equally. It’s just a mash-up.

But all suggestions are not equal if you factor in how they might influence each other

Some are foundational because doing them first would enable many other suggestions to succeed. Other suggestions are actually outcomes because they are dependent upon other suggestions being completed first. Between these foundational and outcome suggestions sit a web of connections we call your “Issue Architecture(™).

At the center of your Issue Architecture sit 5% of the suggestions we call “Pivotal” because they form natural bottlenecks in improving your overall situation.

Getting them to move requires many prerequisites be completed first. Once these pivotal suggestions move they cause many other downstream suggestions to succeed. 

Having this picture or leverage map enables objective evaluation of all suggestions based on their leverage while maintaining buy-in. It also eliminates having to deliver “tough messages” to upper management if their pet projects don’t prove to have sufficient leverage.

So if you involve business participants throughout the year and keep integrating their suggestions into your evolving leverage map it will accelerate your strategy process to an incremental effort vs  periodic mash-ups!