Albu On Strategy

Strategy + Teamwork = Success

For those regular readers of our monthly newsletter, you know that Harvey Mackay has contributed to our thinking on several occasions. Harvey Mackay is well known for his book, Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. In a newsletter he wrote about teamwork and how it “divides the task and multiplies the success.” This concept is spot on when it comes to managing strategy. Collaboration is a key component of success both during development and execution of strategy, and Mackay states that “Only by working together can the greatest good for all be achieved.”

In our work with clients, we speak often of the need to get down to the specific action steps required to achieve the plan…literally translating strategy to action, because any strategic plan is useless without a specific and actionable execution plan. Which leads us to teamwork and the role it plays toward achieving the results you want. Strategic plans call for activities well beyond anyone’s day-to-day responsibilities and there is no way that the number of strategic projects can be completed without employee collaboration. It requires a team effort from everyone in the organization.

Working with many of our clients, we find departments work independently of other functions. Lacking a clear company strategy, each department sets their own agenda. By following a collaborative strategy management process, department leaders developed and approved a strategy and the path to achieve strategic objectives. As a result, the organization developed teamwork capabilities that encouraged greater departmental and cross-functional collaboration.

The first step to developing a strong team that can work together is to clearly communicate the objectives. The second important step is to clearly state what needs to be done in order to achieve those objectives. Sports teams are a great example, and team members understand that each player on the field has an important role to play. Mackay said, “A true team consists of people who contribute different skills that all work together to achieve a goal that none of them could accomplish on their own.” Shouldn’t that also be the same in your company?

Here are three of Mackay’s reasons why teamwork is important and why we believe it is vital to strategy management:

1. Teamwork can make a project that seems insurmountable achievable by dividing responsibilities. Pull together a team with complementary skills to surround and attack the problem from every angle.

2. Conflicting points of view can cause any company to stall in their work to achieve objectives. Establishing a common purpose can help break down barriers to success.

3. Each employee has unique talents, both functionally and personally. In a team setting people will contribute their respective expertise and a team will always be stronger than any one individual.

Team building is not only done in the office on business projects. Create team opportunities outside the office, such as sports, volunteering and outings. This can help break down organizational barriers and it will translate into better collaboration at the office. Keep in mind that teamwork does not only include employees. It should go further by working collaboratively with vendors, suppliers, distributors, sales reps and customers.

How have you encouraged and created effective departmental and cross-functional teams in your organization to achieve the results you want? We would like to hear about your experiences.

Posted in Leadership, Newsletter, Strategy Execution.