When we translate strategic objectives into architecture, we blend assets such as people and technology that will work and interact in certain ways to deliver customer value and eventually financial outcomes. This path (Strategy Maps slightly modified) from assets to processes to customer value to financials seems obvious. However, only the last three are measured and therefore known. Financials are seen in the public domain in the case of public companies.\u00a0Customer value is seen in news reports, articles, and in customer complaints and feedback. Process performance may be seen within the organization and in customer complaints and feedback. The contribution of assets is often not known.\nPeople can make strategic contributions\nAssets include people and technology. People can make strategic contributions. People devise processes and also execute processes. For these and the following reasons, it\u2019s important to know the link between people performance and financials: (a) Define roles and profiles needed to drive targeted organizational performance (b) Hire and train people so they will have such profiles (d) Evaluate and reward people in the business context.\nWhy people-financials link is not understood\nPeople can make a strategic contribution, but their performance gets little coverage in the public domain. Here are some reasons:\n\nLink to financials is not known: Balanced Scorecards were introduced to establish the link. Unfortunately, they are often used by departments or divisions that are themselves siloed and disconnected from corporate strategy.\nBelief that only collaboration matters: Collaboration is extremely important and as said earlier it is the blending of multiple factors that makes strategy work. However, performance of people \u2013 whether individual or group \u2013 matter a lot. Depending on the organization\u2019s stage and strategy, even an individual person\u2019s performance could be the key.\nFear of the cost: Fear that too many employees will seek frequent promotions and raises based on their link to organization\u2019s financials.\n\nPeople-financials link: an example\nA technology company was created as a spin-off of a large U.S company. Initially, it had a captive customer base, thanks to its parent, but soon had to (objective) acquire its own customers to survive as a separate company. The challenge was: many established companies offered the same services and had similar strengths and weaknesses. To disallow perception as a me-too coding factory and to get big fast (outcome), the young company must differentiate itself (strategy).\nI am a former employee. And to differentiate the company, I devised three strategic themes:\n\nDifferentiated customer value through software practice innovations\nThought-leadership\nExperiential marketing\n\nTo make these themes work, I set up two practice groups, one following the other. While we focused on the three themes, we recognized the importance of other talent in the company such as smart leadership, motivated customer-facing folks, technology skills and project management expertise. So, multiple factors (even other organizational initiatives) came together as is always the case with strategy execution.\nAssets\nWe had or developed the capability to bring new methods and to use those methods in software projects. I also set up a culture of innovation. I banned best practices and benchmarks. And replaced the \u201cTell-us-what-you-want-us-to-do, we\u2019ll-do-it\u201d mentality with the \u201cHere\u2019s what we believe you need\u201d capability.\nProcesses\nWe differentiated the company through software practice innovations. First we introduced user-centric methods. Then we introduced business-centric methods. We integrated the new methods into the company\u2019s software practice, thus creating new value in the company\u2019s core process.\nTo let prospects and customers experience value, we set up experiential marketing: (a) Usability lab that also doubled as a show-and-tell facility (b) Try-me interactive, which let them to use as-is and improved versions of a software and then computed and showed potential business outcomes (c) Outcomes proof-of-concept, which was a prototype of a prospect\u2019s software that we created, demonstrating potential business outcomes.\nThrough activities such as publishing, hosting conferences, and giving media interviews, we demonstrated thought-leadership.\nCustomer value\nThe new value we bring to customers has to be something that matters but not available at competing companies. Initially, it was great user experience. This was something that customer organizations always wanted, but did not get from the company\u2019s closest competitors at the time. Then, it was new levels of business outcomes. Through our business-centric methods, customers got business process innovation and measurable business outcomes.\nFinancials\nIt started with people having specific capabilities and culture. People designed and executed processes. This delivered differentiation in customer value. Differentiation plus thought-leadership and the resulting positive media coverage elevated the company\u2019s image. Add the experiential marketing and you have competitive advantage. Now it\u2019s easier to grow big, fast \u2013 which is the targeted outcome.\nSo, coming up with people-financials link is not a science project. It\u2019s about making sure you get strategy to drive your initiatives and then capturing the assets-processes-customer-financials path in a strategy map.