By Mark Morgan, CEO and Founder of StratEx Advisors, Inc.
Part 2: How You Can Rise Above the Rubble
There may be a hundred ways to leave your lover, as the old song goes. But there are only three fundamental things needed to get a strategy executed and prevent strategy-crushing results.
- Take it from the top. First, consider the business purpose. Is there a reason for the business to exist that is bigger thananyone, will last longer than anyone and is a legacy worth leaving? Yes? Cool. No? Dig deeper. Because if the business is not up to something important, the team needs to re-think what the business is about. A team can’t be expected to execute at top form if they don’t have a reason that is bigger than their paycheck. Follow up the purpose check with a check on what longer term goal is served. The question being what ultimate achievement is the business dedicated to that has enduring value? Gaudi started building the Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona that will take another several generations to finish even though he died in 1926. What is the long range achievement that the business I dedicated to? Next, the clarification of who the business is and who it is not must be razor sharp clear. What the organization stands for and what it does not must be vivid in the minds of every member of the team. Lastly, what are the goals? Split them into short, medium and long term. Make them SMART. (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound). If making them SMART fails, count the strategy as a candidate for the dead zone because without clear goals, strategy is meaningless. Having gotten this far, congratulations, the purpose, long range intention, identity and goals are now clear. This is a big step.
- There is much written and even more said these days about the word “alignment”. The question is align what? First, align metrics. Start with the three most important measurements of customer or client delight (more than satisfaction). Trace those back into the business to determine what measurements must be optimized internally to get the client facing measurements to a peak value. Next, align the action plans in priority order based on their contribution to goals and metrics. In other words, lay out the work plans according to the level of contribution to the goals and or the amount they will improve performance to metrics. (Hint: if there is a focus on what matters to clients, the metrics will probably take care of themselves). Next, align the resources in priority order to determine where additional resources are needed to reach your goals and perform to critical metrics. (Hint: if there is a focus on what matters to clients, the metrics will probably take care of themselves). Next, align the resources in priority order to determine where additional resources are needed to reach your goals and perform to critical metrics. Last, align the way the team is organized to make it as easy as possible to focus on the right customer based metrics. Congratulations again. Goals, metrics, strategic initiatives, structure and strategic portfolio are now in alignment. One more giant leap.
- Now the fun begins. The key to executing strategy is to assure that traceability is maintained between the work going on in the business to its payoff at the goal level. To do this, think of the collection of projects you have going as an investment portfolio. There will be projects that are doing well and returning value, and there will be some that sounded good at the beginning but are not paying off. On an ongoing basis, re-evaluate the projects on their own merit. Should some move ahead? Delay? Cancel? Replace with new? Most of the real hard part of execution is gaining clarity and alignment but the diligence of mobilization is where the payoff is generated. Mobilization of a well clarified and aligned portfolio of projects is far easier than diving into mobilizing a strategy that has been poorly clarified and aligned. The critical aspect of mobilization is keeping the eyes on the prize. Always concentrate on reaching goals and use strategy and execution as the means to the end. Nobody ever made a dime executing a strategy per se. Achieving goals as a result of executing a strategy is where the money is.
Conceptualizing strategy may be fun and exciting but realizing your goals is much more satisfying. By concentrating on the three main areas of executing strategy: Clarify, Align, Mobilize, organizations can avoid the six strategy-crushing mistakes. You can lead to being part of the ten percent of businesses that execute effectively.
Now the question is…what part of the six strategy-crushing mistakes ring true for you? Are you ready to get going on what it will take to move our organization from where you are to what your potential has in store for you? If so, we should talk about how we can help you.