To really know me, you must know that my word is bigsays Whynde Kuehn, community builder, thought leader and author. “I like big goals, big journeys, big adventures and big transformations.”
Kuehn, who lives in Norway, Wisconsin and New York, brings the same spirit to Strategy to reality (Morgan James), an inspirational business book that offers advice for entrepreneurs and leaders. Kuehn recognizes the challenges inherent in both developing a corporate vision and realizing that vision. From strategy to realityY is the culmination of Kuehn’s experiences in a wide range of global business sectors. At the heart of Kuehn’s business philosophy is a focus on what it calls “enterprise architecture.” She defines it this way: “An enterprise architecture is a blueprint that represents, at a high level, what an organization does and how it is structured to deliver value to its customers and support its operations.” By establishing this blueprint, an organization can effectively visualize its structure and collective purpose and better understand its goals and aspirations.
Kuehn traces the roots of Strategy to reality to an enterprise architecture-themed blog series she started called StraightTalk. “The blog was issue-driven, and it connected me deeply to the enterprise architecture community I was writing for,” she says. “We co-created the journey together, through questions, and I always felt we were in an ongoing conversation.” When writing Strategy to reality, she chose to reflect the blog’s emphasis on asking questions. “I believe that questions are magic. They open up a space of possibility, knowledge, dialogue and clarity.
Having a clear idea of an organization’s business architecture can answer key questions about target customers and constituents, how those working within the organization are organized, and how the organization differentiates itself from others. Perhaps most importantly, enterprise architecture can help align and prioritize a company’s mission and goals for the present and the future while anticipating and managing inevitable change. And, especially in the past two years, change has become one of the few constants business leaders can expect.
“Business has indeed reshaped itself significantly, and I think we can assume that continuously navigating and adapting to change will be our norm for years to come,” says Kuehn. “Strategy to reality gives readers the tools to understand the impacts of change and a defined plan for designing those changes so they can be communicated and acted upon.
Kuehn emphasizes that enterprise architecture is not just a theoretical construction. Rather, like a blueprint for a building, it represents a blueprint for construction and an enterprise-wide galvanizing opportunity. It can be helpful to think of enterprise architecture in terms of the building blocks themselves, each essential to building in its own way.
“Enterprise architecture helps us design or redesign our organizations with intention and agility,” says Kuehn. “We can put together capabilities in different ways to deliver new value, products and services. We can also design our organizations with increased efficiency, for example by reducing the number of systems needed to automate the same capacity. »
And there’s no limit to what a comprehensive, consistent, and transparent enterprise architecture can accomplish. Kuehn sees benefits in particular in decision-making around “customer experience, product management, investments, costs, risks, compliance, outsourcing, business and IT alignment, portfolio management of ‘applications, technical debt, cloud strategy and migration, sustainability, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures’, and much more.
Kuehn uses a proven five-step approach to building an enterprise architecture practice:
1. Build the business architecture case.
2. Select one or more initial use scenarios.
3. Build the enterprise architecture foundation or blueprint.
4. Leverage the business architecture for the initial use case and continue to drive value.
5. Create a roadmap to formalize business architecture practice within the organization over time.
Kuehn believes that an effective master plan can inform not only individual businesses, but also networks of businesses working together or for common human goals. And while the model presented in the book is most applicable to organizations, Kuehn notes that much of the content is also relevant to individuals. “You can think about your own life plan,” she says, “and take an intentional approach to personal improvement and change.”
Ultimately, Kuehn hopes Strategy to reality will serve to improve the lives of readers both professionally and personally, individually and collectively. “I work with so many amazing people around the world,” she says, “and it’s my greatest hope that this book finds its way to every single person who’s meant to read it — no more, no less — to help them. with their careers, their organizations or their dreams.
A version of this article originally appeared in the 09/26/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: A Blueprint for Success: Spotlight on Whynde Kuehn