And now for something really important...
executing your strategy.
Your strategy is set. Your team is highly supportive of your overall strategic direction and the strategic initiatives are in place. However, not much seems to be happening. People appear to be too busy "running the business" the way they always have. While there is some activity, it's proceeding at a snail’s pace.
Some different tactics are required to get the plan on track. Key questions need to be answered:
- On which strategic priorities are we going to concentrate?
- Who will be accountable for each of these priorities?
- What resources – human and otherwise – do we need to get these priorities moving?
- What does it look like when the strategic priority has been successfully completed?
- What are the critical success factors (CSFs) – what must go right – for each priority to be successful?
- What will we achieve in the next 90 days to move the ball forward?
- How are we going to keep track of our progress, and know when something’s not working so we can make adjustments?
Mapping out an effective approach to executing your strategy
In our experience, especially that of the past few years, establishing a detailed, long-term action plan is no longer useful. Things are changing too quickly to look much beyond the next 90 or possibly 120 days. While it’s essential to keep an eye on major initiatives and the large chunks of work that remain to be done, the focus should be squarely on what can be done in the next 90 days to prepare for, or contribute to, the desired outcome.
This philosophy guides our approach to operationalizing your strategy. Our role is one of facilitator, advisor, educator, and coach. The members of your team take on the ownership of, and accountability for, the execution, and the eventual success of your strategy will be their success. Major steps include:
- Reviewing and reflecting on the strategy you and your team have created.
- Speaking with team members to identify possible roadblocks and any political realities that must be considered.
- Following these conversations, meeting with you and your team to explore how best to proceed. Note: At this meeting, we might address each of the questions stated above for each of strategic priority, laying out the large chunks that must be considered, and crafting a 90-day Action Agenda.
- Returning in 90 days to review progress with your team and facilitate the next 90-day agenda. Far from playing the "blame game," it is important to treat these sessions as active learning experiences during which team members highlight what’s been accomplished, what’s been learned, and what adjustments should be considered. In the interim, we can coach and counsel individual strategy teams as they move their priorities forward.
Normally, after 9 months and three progress meetings your team will be comfortable assuming complete responsibility for execution, and you will then be self-reliant.