Albu On Strategy

5 Building Blocks to Successful Strategy Execution

The legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant retired with 323 wins over 38 seasons.  He was one of the most successful college football coaches, taking 29 teams to bowl games.  He would often say that players on winning teams ask for five things:

  1. Tell me what you expect of me
  2. Give me an opportunity to perform
  3. Let me know how I’m doing
  4. Give me guidance when I need it
  5. Reward me according to my contributions

What struck me most about this simple, yet insightful advice is its application to strategy management and in particular strategy execution.  I you ever coached youth sports, planning game strategy and managing execution by adjusting to the situation on the field was an important part of the job.  Of much greater importance, however, was to provide the players all they needed to be successful.  In the same way, business leaders need to communicate the strategy to their employees, provide them the skill and resources to perform, hold them accountable for results and provide them with continuous feedback. 

At Albu Consulting we place a high value on developing robust strategic plans. But strategy is useless if strategy execution is not managed properly, and every employee plays an important role in that process.    Our systematic approach to managing strategy execution requires discipline and commitment.  If you strip away everything, the most important driver of successful strategy execution comes down to these five things:

  1. Tell employees what you expect from them: Involve your direct reports (and in turn their direct reports) in creating specific and detailed goals with metrics that will support and drive the company’s strategic initiatives.
  2. Create a winning environment: Once strategy is set, hold employees accountable for delivering results, and give them the resources and support needed to succeed.
  3. Let employees know how they and the company are doing: Follow up in a consistent and predictable manner with employees, both individually and as a group, to check in on progress and invite discussion around important strategy issues and opportunities.
  4. Provide guidance when needed: Coaching is one of the most important roles of a leader. Giving guidance when needed leads to continuous improvements over the long term.
  5. Reward performance: Recognize and reward employee successes, and deal with employee issues quickly.

Business is a lot like any team sport and Bear Bryant has some great advice on managing individuals and teams to execute at the highest level.  We hope this advice will help you improve performance, increase effectiveness and create a culture of accountability focused on results. 

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Posted in Leadership, Newsletter, Strategy Execution.