Align Teams to Execute Strategy
In previous blogs in this series, I have laid out the essential steps for accelerating business growth:
- Build the correct systems infrastructure
- Create a growth strategy
- Develop process and model growth
These are all critical. However, if you don’t take this fourth step, the first three probably won’t make much of a difference. You’ve probably heard about or experienced the case of high-priced strategic consultants coming into your organization and delivering a binder of analysis, diagrams, market sizing, brand elements, segmentation, competitive positioning, basecamps, etc., etc., etc. The binder is usually very heavy – you pay a high price for a lot of stuff. Ok – apologies to all the strategic consultants out there – your strategies are usually brilliant! But the binder, more often than not, sits on a shelf with the executive team wondering what to do next.
The fourth step is to execute the strategy across the entire team. Here are the essential steps to aligning teams and putting your strategy into action.
Communicate the strategy to everyone, repeatedly
I hate to say it execs, but a quarterly town hall doesn’t cut it. An email doesn’t cut it either. Everyone has to clearly understand not only where the company is headed, but how their specific job contributes. When everyone understands how they are contributing to the SAME strategy, you have alignment. Of course, we’ve talked about achieving alignment all throughout this blog series, but sustained alignment comes through the daily execution of a common strategy.
For Strategy Automation, this is specifically why we have a strategy platform that connects plans and tactics and activities to the original strategy. There is clear line of sight for every team member.
Create plans within the strategic context
As teams form their specific plans, always have them start with the strategy in mind. With the modeling we described in Part 3, every team has its goals defined within the strategy context already. If every team hits their goals, the business will achieve their growth target (assuming the model is correct – more on that coming in Part 5).
Every team should create their tactical plans with the understanding of the strategic direction, and with the intent of hitting their team goals. For example, the marketing plan should contain programs and campaigns that target the stakeholders defined in the strategy, present a message that is consistent with the go-to-market plan and brand foundation, and create conversations related to the solutions and industries defined by the executive team. Sales should also target roles and companies defined by the executive team. Obviously, if both teams have the same targets, they are aligned by default.
Focus on the strategy all the time
It is so easy to get caught up in the daily operations of the business. It’s what most businesses spend at least 80% of their time doing. The other 20% or so should be focused on the things the business wants to do differently to change performance – in the context of this blog, we are talking about changing the rate of growth to a higher rate (acceleration).
A signal that you might need some additional strategic focus is if your company tends to create the same strategy over and over, and you never seem to make progress. So, how do you make sure your team holds that strategic 20% sacred?
We call it “managing to the strategy.” The entire executive team should spend the vast majority of their time together collaborating on the achievement of strategic objectives. Weekly leadership team meetings should have an agenda built around the strategy. Each quarter, the leadership team should create what we call “imperatives” that move closer to the achievement of the success indicator for the annual strategic objectives.
Strategy Automation enables this process by automating the strategic process, prompting the leadership team for strategy-related updates and issues each week, and building the weekly leadership team agenda based on strategy. The process is streamlined, and it ensures the leadership team focuses on what matters most.
Check back soon for the final blog in this series to understand how you optimize the entire strategic framework over time, and how you can get to accelerated, predictable, scalable growth.