6 Considerations to Strategically Execute
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How do you progress the strategic plan into something that resembles business action? Here are six very brief steps to closing the performance gap between the strategic vision and what gets done.
Execution is often a payoff between strategic decisions; some work, some don’t, some take way longer than anticipated. Problems occur when we don’t recognise where our performance gap may exist.
While acknowledging this is a complicated topic, I am going to start with an overview. Over a series of posts, I’ll focus on individual areas and delve deeper. You’ll find that these points are often circular and not mutually exclusive. They’re also not in any specific order.
Have you got the right skills and motivations on your team to execute your plan? From the boardroom, CEO, management, supervisors, staff, and consultants?
Agile organisations recognise that it’s hard to get things to happen without the right people. An agile organisation is achievement through others while command and control is about power at the top. To be agile, we’ve got to look at the combination of organisational structure, role and responsibilities, and harness critical thinking and experiences of individuals throughout the entire organisation as there are different kinds of intelligence and know-how at every level.
Using an outdated approach to people organisation, or sticking to a command and control structure, or refusing to challenge and refresh your thinking as a leader will contribute to the performance gap between strategic vision and its execution. Make tough decisions, and get the right team around you… and make sure they’re not the ‘yes’ team, which encourages groupthink.
After the strategic planning sessions, some boards and CEOs are surprised that expenditure needs to be considered to get the strategic changes moving. Strategic execution doesn’t stop at the document.
Strategy is not successful without a change in behaviour, and a lot of that behaviour is the way the board and CEO budget, spend, earn, and disperse money. A classic example is where I was challenged by an older board member over the price of a beer. He exclaimed that they could not see the connection between cheap beer and master planning for the future.
Scoping the cost of strategic activities and their return on investment will help determine strategic priorities.
For my clients, I sketch out a Gantt chart of strategic milestones over one year. There is nothing more motivating than a deadline. It also helps prioritise significant chunks of the strategy, and alerts when critical actions need to be completed in amongst keeping the day-to-day business alive. Establishing a timeline will also help with recruitment, budgeting, and priorities.
Mix up the sticky parts of the plan with the hard-to-stick sections. Depending on priorities and collective comfort zones, some parts of the plan will be straightforward. Other areas, which may require rethinking, relearning, and buying in expertise, may be harder. Timeline the sticky with the non-sticky.
There are the board’s priorities. There are the CEO’s priorities. Sometimes, priorities and stickiness are the same, which make execution and access to funding easier. Sometimes, the CEO’s priorities are the least sticky – think turning a spare bowling green into a revenue-generating business. Great on the resume, and an emotional journey internal to the club.
6. Business Plan
The ability to divide a strategic plan into a business or operational plan can be difficult. It’s a key piece of the communication cycle that needs to be done. Those everyday steps that get you and your team to a shared strategic outcome.
Execution consists of communication, individual goal setting, measurements, tracking through reports and meetings, and performance management. Yes… back to the People thing!
These were insanely brief. Here’s the mind-map version titled, “What do I need to do today?” Is there a topic you want me to elaborate on sooner rather than later? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHAYNE LESLIE | 0412 241 773