Is your strategy getting enough traction? Accelerate your organization’s ability to reach and exceed your strategic objectives.
The three most persistent problems preventing executives from delivering their strategic promises are that:
- Strategy remains abstract and is not translated so that all levels of the organization can act on it – it’s expected to happen ‘somehow’. People are briefed on the strategy but don’t seem to be able to translate it into action. Strategy is an abstract activity done on retreats, rather than a company-wide understanding that guides daily decision-making.
- Day-to-day demands are used as an excuse for lack of progress on new initiatives. Good operators stick to what they know best. People don’t think strategically, claiming that it’s not their job. Consequently, you have to do all that yourself, and you start to wonder who will ever be able to succeed you and the members of your management team.
- Numbers-oriented managers fail to engage people, while people-oriented managers are too relaxed about holding their teams accountable. The numbers people think culture is touchy-feely so they ignore it and then wonder why they are getting bogged down, and their people-people don’t really understand what makes the commercial side tick, so they hope that they can do it all with “Ra-Ra” sessions.
There is an alternative
Imagine the power of a business where everyone in the organization understands how their daily activities and decisions line up with the overall intent. Strategy needs to be concrete, tangible and alive so that it determines the daily actions that will bring the envisioned results. It need to both engage people and shape coordinated action.
The tantalising promise that resides in strategy documents and presentations needs to move out of the boardroom and throughout the organization so that it makes a difference where it matters.
In other words, that means:
- The people closest to the customer understand what the business is trying to do, so they do the best for both.
- People at all levels understand the strategy in terms they can act upon. The are driven by a clearer sense of direction than that provided by an email in-box!
- Managers are able and willing to run today’s business and build tomorrow’s at the same time. ‘The day job’ can’t be an excuse for lack of progress.
- An end to lip-service commitments. No more “we’ve been talking about this for a year now, why hasn’t it moved forward?”
- An orientation towards the customer, and away from internal politics and turf battles.
- Better local decision making that improves responsiveness to the customer, but without being led away from the main intentions of the strategy.
- A brighter more compelling future that excites investors. They will be very excited if you can demonstrate exactly how you are bringing your the strategic promises to fruition, so that they will pay off faster and with more certainty.
These objectives are perfectly reachable when you have an approach that balances and coordinates business rigour with human nature.
A Strategic Accelerator project enables executives to bring their strategic intent to fruition. Working in collaboration, we translate strategy into the form required by all of the groups who must use it to create results. We involve those groups in the translation, so that they feel ownership for what they are doing, and we provides the ability to track and adjust progress as you go. It creates a huge boost in clarity, confidence and commitment.
The key elements include:
- Attention to both the technical sequence and the cultural sequence of implementation. Most managers gravitate towards one sequence and often neglect the other. The best ensure that both are given attention and are held in balance.
- Establishing the conditions for strategically aligned action: Direction, Wherewithall and Volition. All three are needed.
- Rapid-cycle ‘snowball projects’. Instead of the endless pursuit of prerequisites to change, it’s far more productive to pursue real results in a carefully scoped area, then spread the lessons once they are proven.
- Feedback-based implementation monitoring and control. Too many plans are executed exactly as designed, regardless of whether conditions are changing. But conditions always change! We help you design implementation schemes that take that into account.
Why is this different?
A Strategic Accelerator project is a collaboration between us designed so that:
- The approach explicitly and rigorously balances technical and cultural – top managers must do this but it’s hard.
- It is a true personal collaboration – you leverage your own investments and transfer is maximal.
- You are never be pushed through a standardised force-fitted methodology.
- While always being ambitious for your organization, we will always design systems, processes and activities real people can do. We can’t rely on having an organization of robot-like peak performers who must always be at top of their game (even Formula One drivers and top ranking tennis players have their off-days.)
- Although people are central and crucial to the approach, it’s not touchy-feely, just pragmatic.
What does this look like in practice?
A typical project involves a close 1:1 collaboration with the lead executive. We will jointly design and conduct a process with three broad characteristics:
1) Leverage – utilising and building on the skills and resources you already have:
- Creation of an internally-staffed ‘Project Office’. This helps gain commitment and ownership, makes use of the talent you are already paying for, and maximises the transfer of know-how to your organization. I will typically provide education, facilitation, monitoring and coaching on their progress.
- Your people will get ‘homework’ which drives ownership and builds skills.
- Bottom-up implementation activities such as rapid cycle “Snowball” projects.
2) Realism – facing facts and changing circumstances
- Careful stakeholder engagement planning – whose support is crucial and who might derail things?
- Diagnosing organizational readiness for the change, and identifying areas of potential conflict and resistance.
- Making sure communication is comprehensible to the people who actually need it.
- Unlike many plans, assuming that things will inevitable go wrong, but having very good mechanisms in place to detect and respond before they become serious.
3) Driven by rapid self-corrective feedback
- We’ll have a long term objective but we will have short term action plans with feedback monitoring which will enable us to move much faster.
- Building in multiple feedback paths to keep you informed of what is really going on.
- Local planning-into-action sessions.
Is this a good fit for you?
Strategic Accelerator projects are for executives with responsibility not just running today’s business, but at the same time building tomorrow’s. They are general managers with P&L (and ideally ROI and strategic positioning) responsibility.
- They know that the potential is there but recognise the need for an extra injection of support to make it happen.
- They may be frustrated or under pressure because of the lack of progress.
- They may lack a strong enough supporting team.
- They may be doing fine, but what to do it faster!
- They may be new to a CEO/MD role.
- They may have taken over recently.
- They may have a substantially changed operation, due for example to a merger.
- Their management team may be good operators but not strategic enough.
- They may be concerned about the legacy they are going to leave.
To explore this further…
If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in taking the next step. If so, please do contact me for what I’m sure you will find to be a valuable discussion.
When we talk, we’ll explore what challenges you or your managers face, what kind of results you’d like to see instead, and whether this approach may be of help or not. Whatever the outcome, you’ll leave the conversation clear about the issues you’re facing and excited about what’s possible.
Contact me and we can decide together whether it’s something worth pursuing further.