Once your strategy hypothesis has been presented and validated, it’s time to get on to implementation. But implementation in any organization requires buy-in and understanding from a lot of people.
The recommendation phase is the process of establishing common understanding and buy-in, so that implementation can proceed.
The good news is that you have gone through a thorough process already, if you’ve followed the seven steps have a good audit trail of information and ideas all the way from the original problem definition, and you’ve also taken the time to keep others involved along the way. If you’ve done a good job with the earlier phases, the recommendation is easier, because the key people have some exposure to the ideas, and most of the difficult questions have been asked and answered through research and validation follow-up.
The fundamental task of the recommendations phase is to drive action. That means your recommendations need to be clear, simple to explain, and that the value must also be clear. Most strategy processes are followed by a corporate budgeting cycle, in which funds are allocated to new and existing projects. New projects by definition have a harder time, because they are more risky than continuing to invest in projects that already produce revenue. That means that the financial arguments need to be as clear as possible.
Here’s a check-list of the elements of a great recommendation: