EA styles 3: transforming the strategic paradigm

I’ve briefly covered how an EA team might *react* when faced with a particular dominant strategy formation style in an organisation in some previous posts .

This isn’t good enough for me though: I want it all and I want it to be the way I want it!

So if a particular strategy formation paradigm isn’t to your taste as an EA, what can you do about it? Is there a “preferred style” that EAs should always aspire to on behalf of their organisations? Is this even ethical?

Complex questions, and no clear answers. It may be that an EA team will see trends coming that they feel will negatively impact their organisation if the strategic paradigm isn’t changed. That’s good. But if the EA team aren’t the ones taking the risks in the organisation (for example, putting up the money!), perhaps they don’t have any business making senior management change their approach by fair means or foul.

I think that EAs will always have well thought-out views on the way organisations make strategic decisions – it goes with the job. Each EA will have to decide if and how they agitate for change dependent on their own values and with a mind to their own positions (especially in political organisations). So with that massive caveat, let’s look at the tools EAs have for making changes to strategy formation, based around the services that EA teams provide.

– Architecture Creation: an EA team can create architectural models that emphasise the sovereignty of a particular group or population in the organisation. Such a model could, over a long period of time, transfer decision-making power to different groups and thereby influence the strategy style. This probably comes under the category of “EA black ops” though and is vulnerable to existing powerful stakeholders pulling the plug on the EA team

– EA consulting: can promote particular styles of project delivery, and in the process embed particular ways of thinking in to the organisation

– EA compliance: can block or alter the course of projects that don’t echo the EA team’s preferred style.

– EA communication: this is the biggest way that EAs influence the organisation as a whole. It may be difficult to get into conversations with key stakeholders, however, if the organisation is very hierarchical and EAs will need to use their contacts to leverage themselves into conversations

– EA research: this is where EAs can do the ethical thing by bringing the trends that effect strategy creation styles to the attention of the people who can change them (not always senior management).

Change is always difficult: persuading powerful people that they need to personally change is even more hazardous. Building a momentum and sense of urgency behind the change is therefore always going to be important.

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