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5 Steps to Execute a Strategy Exceptionally Well

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Strategy-executionWhat really matters is execution.

How many times have you heard about companies having great strategies but poor execution? The common reasons cited for failing to execute well are lack of leadership, not following through effectively, change of priorities, resistance to change and many others.

In realizing the strategy for the organization, managers play very critical role. They need to influence their team members to operate in alignment with the strategy of the organization. They must ensure that their team members are clear about what they need to do in order to fulfil the strategy aspirations. They have to create a healthy and rewarding environment to sustain the motivation of their team members to achieve what they are set out to do.

How can you prepare your team members to execute exceptionally well?

Here are 5 steps worth considering:

Dialogue with your team members.

Once strategies are set (most organizations have a top-down approach in setting strategies in which only the leadership team and/or the strategic planning team are involved), you should get together with all your team members and have an open dialogue to discuss about the strategies. Share the strategies with your team members. Discuss about what the strategies mean to your department. Highlight the key priorities of your department. Have an open discussion on what each team member needs to do. Encourage questions and spend time to address all concerns that your team members may have regarding their roles and actions that they need to take to realize the strategy aspirations. Make sure that your team members are fully involved.

Set realistic goals.

Realizing a strategy is about taking actions to make things happen. The prerequisite to taking impactful actions is to set realistic goals. Following the guidelines of setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals are a good place to start. It is extremely important for you to discuss with your team members on what you expect them to achieve, elaborate on how best to work together in order to provide the best support for them and the method on how to assess progress from the beginning until the end completion of a project or an initiative.

Constant feedback.

Many large companies such as Accenture, Adobe, Gap and Medtronic have ditched their performance ranking system, and switched to providing employees constant feedback on performance in a timely manner throughout their assignments. Such method will result in a much better outcomes as employees will have the opportunity to know exactly where they stand and what they need to improve on quickly, rather than waiting until the end of the year. The most critical point is that they are able to learn and take the relevant actions instantly to further improve their performance on an ongoing basis. This approach augurs well in realizing the organization’s strategy aspirations as you can proactively work with your team members to either stay on course or take remedial actions as you see fit to ensure that you are in alignment with the strategy of the organization.

Embrace change.

Be mindful about specific changes that need to occur in translating the strategies of your organization. You have to actively communicate the benefits of such changes to your team members. For instance, your headquarters might come up with a new approach of selling which requires resources with new skill sets in the form of vertical industry knowledge – banking, healthcare and education – which your team members are currently lacking. In such scenario, you would actively communicate the benefits of needing to have the industry knowledge, “our customers and potential customers demand that we understand their business”, “we must be able to speak the same lingo as our customers”, “we can only consult our customers effectively if we can translate the benefits that our product brings to them in terms of profit and/or service improvement that matters to them” and so on. To make it easy for your team members to embrace the new way of selling, you deliberately opt for a 3 prong approach – (1) enrol your team members in their respective vertical industries sales training (2) get your team members to prioritize their top 3 key opportunities that require deep vertical industry knowledge in order to win the business (3) develop strong partnership with your Regional Office in preparation to secure their support in providing the vertical industry knowledge needed in your key opportunities. Openly communicate the changes you expected from your team members and your approach in supporting them to succeed.

Be accountable.

Accountability is about being committed to your goal and carrying it out until you achieve the expected result. It calls for a strong sense of ownership – taking full responsibility in understanding your goals, executing them, addressing obstacles, solving problems and seeing them through until completion; while avoiding the blame game. It is imperative that you demonstrate accountability to your team members. Search for a story on accountability and tell the story to your team members every time you have the opportunity to do so – say in your weekly or monthly staff meeting. You must continually convey the message that you expect full accountability from them.

The  five  steps  above  will help  you  in turning your  strategy  into  a reality.

 

What  type  of  actions  have you taken to turn your strategy into a  reality?

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