Project Portfolio – High Involvement Strategy Building

North American Oil Sands Corp 2005-07

Objectives

The executive of North American Oil Sands Corp. (NAOSC) wanted full staff involvement in the development of corporate strategy. All staff were to be included in strategy meetings and these were to be held frequently, as pace of growth required frequent strategic shifts and a highly aligned staff.

Fall Line’s Role

Fall Line Systems designed and facilitated NAOSC’s first group strategy meeting in 2005when the full staff complement was 15 people. We then led a series of quarterly strategy meetings with the full staff as it grew to 220 people by 2007.

Results

NAOSC kept its commitment to involve all staff in the strategy development process as the staff complement grew from less than 20 to more than 200. This proved essential to corporate alignment, as the evolution in the strategic position was extremely rapid.

In a fast moving organization it is common for staff to build departmental silos to maintain focus. NAOSC was building a highly integrated project and so participants used the quarterly strategy meetings to counteract the tendency to silo. Key strategic issues were identified in these meetings as were many opportunities to collaborate.

The logistics of the strategy meetings and the investment of staff time became more challenging as the staff size grew. The value of full staff involvement in strategy building was clear so attendance remained high and the quarterly schedule maintained even under intense business pressure.