What are the key things you need to do to ensure your organization successfully executes its strategy? So many organizations and their consultants are concerned with developing the greatest strategic plan that they fail to focus on actually implementing the strategy. The following are the first five of our top 10 ways to ensure you successfully execute your strategy.
Number 1. The first, and perhaps most important, thing to do to ensure successful execution of your organization’s strategy is to put a company star in charge of strategy (e.g., make them the VP of strategy) and make successful execution of the strategy one of their annual performance measures that will determine their overall employee rating and their bonus. Organizations get things done when they hold people accountable for getting things done. Hold a high-performing employee accountable for implementing your strategy.
Include Managers in the Process
Number 2. Include people outside the board room and executive suite in the strategy development process, it will pay enormous dividends come execution time. By this, I don’t just mean heads of business units, but their managers as well. Most likely, these are the people who will be leading strategy execution. And, they can participate at the level of helping develop measures for tracking execution or by identifying the projects required for implementation.
If they feel that they had true input into developing the strategy, they will own it and, therefore, feel more responsible for implementing it because it wasn’t forced on them by executes. And, when staff ask questions about the strategy, they will be able to discuss it in detail because they helped develop it.
Number 3. Learn to say “No”. Strategy is about making choices, and making choices is just as much about declining to do things as it is deciding to do them. It is hard to overestimate an organization’s ability to decline to do things. When your organization can’t say no, it ends up with a laundry list of strategic projects that is too long to actually implement. Plus, they don’t all tend to be strategic because they don’t all align with your strategic objectives. Learn to say “No” and will help you keep your list of strategic initiatives to a more manageable number.
Establish Measurable and Attainable Stretch Goals
Number 4. Make sure your strategic goals are measurable and attainable stretch goals. They need to be measurable because how else will you be able to tell if you executed? They also need to be attainable stretch goals because if goals are too unrealistic, it can discourage people with the feeling that they have no chance of reaching them. However, they must be stretch goals, not easily attainable, because when you aim for mediocre performance, that’s what you are likely to get.
Number 5. Finally, don’t keep your strategy a secret. Share with everyone across your organization. It is their strategy to and they have to help implement it, so they need to know what’s expected of them. Any real advantage to keeping your strategy secret among a few executives at your organization so competitors don’t get their hands on it is outweighed by making sure everyone in your organization knows the strategy so they can help contribute.
These are the first five of the top 10 ways to ensure successful strategy execution. This isn’t rocket science. Some may even seem obvious, but when you use all five of these with the five I will discuss in my next blog, it will really help overcome barriers to strategy execution at your organization.