Make Strategy Happen
Watching the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews’ Old Course this year was exciting, particularly watching how players were tested on a very challenging golf course. Each player had his strategy going into the tournament, but to win they needed to execute. To win, they needed remained flexible by adapting to course conditions, changing weather, and the ups and downs of their own personal performance.
Business leaders deal with very similar circumstances. They develop business strategies, translate the strategy to action and then must execute by adapting to challenges from customers, competitors, and unexpected internal disruptions. Consider these four points to ensure you stay focused and make strategy happen in your organization:
Communicate – The most important responsibility of any CEO is to communicate the strategy to the organization. The biggest problem is trying to get people’s attention given modern life’s information overload. Communicating the strategy is a continuous process that requires regular reminders and clarification. When people “get it,” the odds of success go up dramatically.
Create buy-in – According to John Kotter, author of “Buy-in”, 70% of major change efforts either don’t get started or fail, and only the top 5% of business leaders have proven to be very good at winning people over (getting buy-in). Those leaders know how to engage employees, build enthusiasm and energy, and get the results they want.
Invite feedback – Don’t be afraid to be challenged. Invite your employees to ask questions and challenge your strategy and action plans. By causing discussion and debate, your strategic choices can only get better. Worry if your managers and employees don’t ask questions or challenge.
Remain flexible – Be prepared to adapt to a constantly changing business environment. Strategy is about placing bets on the future. Regardless how good you are, something will come up you did not predict. Cost of materials will rise or fall, competitors will disrupt your plans, customer demands will increase, or government regulations will slow processes, and no one predicted the pandemic of 2020. Successful business leaders remain flexible and learn to adapt and thrive.
We are entering another unsettled business environment with rising costs, tight labor market, supply chain challenges and the potential for a recession. Making strategy happen is more important than ever in these turbulent and unpredictable times. How are you staying focused to ensure strategy execution remains on track? Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends and associates as you see fit.
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” —Jack Welch