Words of Manic Monday by The Bangles and modified by Susan Shaner. Musician: Dan Brodax. Where can you find the magic at work today?
What organization would not have a strategic plan? If they didn’t, they certainly would not admit to it – otherwise – what leadership is running the company?
The bigger question is – what do you do after you have the plan – written, agreed upon – now go execute on it? Here is what I have found: In the best organizations, the CEO writes their goals each year based on the plan and reviews it in a periodic, disciplined way. His goals are communicated and cascaded to his direct reports and to their direct reports, and so on. Then there is also discussion, not only up and down, but across the organization to ensure there is consistency and integration, using a common language. This process takes a lot of work and a lot of discussion – but it can save a lot of time in the long run.
Then there needs to be a clear and consistent way to manage the implementation of these plans. Few plans ever get executed as designed. Life happens. People don’t do what they say. Things take longer. Customers don’t buy in the way you thought they would. New competitors change things. Stuff changes.
This why strategy is a commitment and a disciplined process that must be revisited ongoing throughout the year in a proactive way. The companies who are not that effective do less, or little of what I mention above. They might talk about it, but don’t actually spend the time having the difficult or repetitive discussions to make sure people are on the same page.
There is no shame in what was done or not done in the past. The key is looking toward the future to see how things can improve. I gave a talk on strategy last week and had an executive invite me to her organization today. My first question was – why and why now? Is this part of an ongoing improvement in your process, the beginning of a new cycle, or has something changed dramatically?
This week’s reflection question: It’s great to have a strategy but the bigger question is, now what? How do we make it come to life?
At Sage Leadership Strategies, this is what we do well – facilitate leadership teams to put the structures and discipline in place, and have the difficult conversations that will really enable things to happen in the way that you need to. Please call us for a complimentary discovery session: 203-730-2103.
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