Every company has experienced it:
A beautifully written strategic plan for a critical investment the business is going to make. Blessed by the Board of Directors. Initial execution starts with a bang. A coordinated push, immediate investment, and members of the C-Suite actively watching over their initiative. The flywheel begins to turn and momentum starts to roar.
Most major initiatives start this way. The truly transformative ones continue on successfully.
Sadly, many initiatives peter out and become a painful slog through execution. The bar for the appearance of success is lowered for internal political reasons. Scope and cost reductions occur quarterly.
The organization sighs and says “Good strategy is easy; good execution is hard. We’ll do it better next time.”
To us, good strategy is good execution.
Our clients expect us to deliver on the plans we create and that forces excellence from our team.
We use four ingredients to help organizations set expectations and realize value faster and with less uncertainty:
1. Compassionate strategy
It's the beautiful elixir of compassion with logical, fact-based analysis to help make the right and the most practical decisions.
Adding compassion to strategy means actively incorporating true empathy for the internal factors at play for customers, stakeholders, and investors involved and using that to inform the roadmap of pragmatic actions to improve the situation.
This approach is geared towards winning the hearts and minds of critical stakeholders. It minimizes the all-too-common pocket veto because key team members are truly bought in and the plan is achievable given the constraints (cultural and capability) of the organization.
2. SLAM teams
Successful strategy project teams are Self-Directed, Lean, Autonomous, and Multidisciplinary (SLAM).
They bring together know-how across disciplines to ensure you don’t miss opportunities and make the most of those uncovered. The team members should be comfortable wearing multiple hats to embody the lean approach.
SLAM teams can move quickly and bring forth compassionate strategy recommendations to the executive leadership team.
3. Digitally native mindset
A digitally native mindset is critical for every organization to take when thinking through nearly every strategic problem.
All too often, organizations do not understand the power of contemporary tools to solve their problems in better ways.
A digitally native mindset allows organizations of all shapes and sizes to imagine the art of the possible and surface the full scope of opportunities in front of them and determine how to effectively and efficiently leverage technology to drive towards their desired outcomes.
4. Agile approach to governance and strategic planning
While Agile may have become an overused buzzword, its core tenants are extremely valuable as a decision-making framework.
Incorporating an Agile approach to governance and strategic planning means that the focus is on what strategy decisions have to be made today, and which can be postponed until the organization has more information ‘tomorrow.’
To activate this mentality, leaders should follow these three steps:
- Get the central question right
- Align on good enough detail needed to make the prioritization decisions
- Prioritize team’s commitments around outcomes rather than actions
The combination of these four ingredients should serve as the foundation for leaders and their teams to achieve high-quality and high-speed execution.