MOST Business Analysis Techniques for Strategic Direction
What is MOST Analysis?
MOST is short for Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. MOST analysis is used to improve internal processes and company culture by analysing the organisation’s internal environment.
MOST analysis is extremely powerful – and often empowers businesses with a new sense of capability and purpose. MOST analysis turns your vision and ambitions into realistic, achievable goals – and helps to build successful businesses.
When you conduct MOST analysis, you give clear targets to meet for every member of your team within your organisation. At its core, it helps you ask the question, “How does this help us get to the next level?”
By doing this, it keeps your strategies relevant, justified, and focused on the goals which matter most. You can use MOST analysis not just in your internal processes but to further your marketing, sales, growth, and human resources.
All businesses are different. There’s no one-size-fits-all mission – and no way to truly know your organisation’s mission unless we ask questions. No matter what your goals are, your mission needs to be ambitious – and designed to help position your business to succeed.
Upon defining your mission, you can move on to the next stage in MOST analysis. When a mission is successful – or has been found to have serious flaws – you should review and re-evaluate it.
Every objective should be defined with the mission in mind. Your objectives should make it easier to achieve your mission, even if it isn’t essential to the mission itself.
Objectives need to be SMART– that is, Specific, Measurable. Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Vague goals are significantly harder to implement and often become almost impossible to complete.
Ideally, your goals will be clear and designed to be met in a relatively short period of time, complementing additional objectives your business has set during the MOST analysis. If your objectives prove not to be helpful, consider changing or disregarding them.
Strategy consists of your options to help you solve your objectives. They can be comprehensive, involving a number of different tactics, and there is often some overlap between strategies.
In business analysis, strategy helps your team to conduct a thorough review of tactics being used to determine how they can best help meet your objectives.
Much like objectives, if a strategy proves to be ineffective or inaccurate, you should determine what isn’t working – and change your strategy.
Tactics are methods employed to realise objectives, carry out strategies, and achieve business goals. These are typically simple, straightforward processes – and can be executed by team members even if they didn’t participate directly in MOST analysis.
Like objectives, tactics must be SMART and effective.
How M.O.S.T. Analysis Helps Businesses
When trying to set business strategy and make plans, many businesses struggle. Here are a number of reasons why:
- Failure to define clear objectives to ensure the success of overall missions
- Failure to define where the business needs to get – and when
- Failure to define timetables, responsibilities, oversight, and control, stopping strategy from being implemented on time
- Failure to bring tactics into alignment with strategies
- Attempting to move directly from objectives to tactics without clear strategy
- Failure to heed objective guidance and external opinions when conducting analysis
- Failure to bring Board of Directors and management into alignment over the mission
- Distractions, such as day-to-day operations, customer service, supplier issues, and competitors
Business analysis techniques, such as MOST analysis, are designed to bring your entire organisation into alignment, move quickly, and have a strong sense of direction across all levels.
Case Study: MOST Analysis in Action
Morning Star, a large food manufacturing company with annual revenue of over $700 million and over 400 employees, was able to create a “manager-free” hierarchy. In this system, there are no bosses and both job responsibilities and compensation can be negotiated.
This was achieved through MOST analysis. Morning Star uses missions in place of bosses. The remaining components of MOST analysis – objectives, strategies, and tactics – are self-implemented by employees, and employee review allows team members to determine successes and failures.
This model isn’t one that every business could adopt. However, it demonstrates the power of a well-defined mission. It helps teams come together through a unified purpose, clear goals, a definition of success, and provides the business with a key differentiator and unique selling point.