There’s no shortage of strategic thinkers in the world. With over 22,000 titles on strategy available on Amazon, nearly every business school offering something on strategic thinking, strategic management, or strategic leadership, you’d think that most companies are capable and satisfied with the way their leaders run and profit from their strategy.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Here are statistics on strategy from a variety of studies:
- Only 10% of formulated strategy actually gets executed successfully
- 20% of managers belief that their organization do a good job when it comes to shifting people across units to support strategic initiatives
- 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour a month on strategy issues
- 40% of organizations clearly link budgets to strategy
- Only 5% of employees understand their corporate strategy
Today let’s look at three things you can do to improve your strategic effectiveness. Let’s call them your strategic seeds2lead.
First, start driving your strategy like you’d drive a Tesla. When you get into your Tesla, you know that you’ve got enough electric power to move you about 300-500 kilometers, depending on your speed, road grade and weather conditions. Unlike driving a fossil fueled vehicle, where service stations are everywhere, Tesla owners that I know plan where they are going to stop along the way of their journey. They build in breaks to recharge their power source.
Most strategic initiatives don’t work this way. There is a huge amount of effort on the front end, often the outcome of the strategic exercise is a document that is provided to someone and then the builders of said strategy retire the document to a bottom drawer.
If you’ll look at your strategic journey through a Tesla windshield, you’ll be looking ahead and already planning where you’re going to stop and recharge.
Here are three effective strategic exercises that you can use at your future strategic recharging stops:
- Core Activities to Strategic Priorities – after your new strategy launch, it’s important to circle back around to the key functional leaders and let them describe how their core activities are linked to strategic priorities. Functional leaders should be able to explain clear links between their core activities and strategic priorities. If this isn’t the case, some retuning is needed.
- Uncertainty Mapping – nothing slows a strategy faster that people that have their windshield blocked by uncertainty. In your pit stop sessions ask leaders to come forward and share what’s unclear or uncertain about the strategy that they are undertaking. (Some might think this should be done before starting, but its only after leaving on your strategic journey you really notice what’s missing or not clear. Some point you can clear up right away, others will roll into action plans to see that clarity is created and uncertainty is eliminated.
- Feedback loops from key customers – over the course of your strategy rollout you’ll want to learn how customers are experiencing your new strategic direction. Is it working for them? Are they getting better or more value as a result of this strategy? A recent client came to the realization that due to integrations and internal realignment, their customers had become less of a priority than they intended and my client suffered from this. Now they have re-energized their strategy with the customer in front and it’s resetting the strategic expectations of everyone in their business.
Strategic success is more than simply following the numbers. While every leader needs to know their business (and their numbers), looking at strategy as a process, rather than a one off event is already a positive start for many leadership teams.
You may or may not decide to drive a Tesla, but when you drive your strategy like a Tesla, you’ll surely improve the likelihood of a successful strategic journey.
If you’d like to supercharge your strategy and improve your strategic execution, let’s talk and see if working together you can create more strategic breakthroughs.
Dan Norenberg helps senior leadership teams reown their executive agenda. As a trusted advisor, consultant and professional speaker, Dan’s mission is to enable executives and their organizations to play at their best. He serves as managing director and senior partner at N Vision Learning Solutions, a leadership consultancy based in Munich, Germany.
Image Source www.tesla.com