How To Get From Strategy To Results
Copyright © 2007Paul Schnabel
Used with permission of the author
Author: Paul Schnabel
20 November 2007
How does an organisation remain focussed, driven and safely on track in times of change? Business leaders worldwide share massive changes in technology, strategic direction, culture clashes, change in ownership and shareholding etc. What worked yesterday doesn’t work today. Major trends that drive change and present undreamed of challenges include:
From new product and/or service development to delivery of customer service. Cycle times that used to be measured in years are now measured in months or even days.
Massive change in technology.
The rate of technological change has accelerated beyond the capability of most companies to use it or even understand the possibilities.
The good news about globalisation is easier access to foreign markets. The bad news is that it’s easier for foreign competitors to steal a client that is just down the street from you.
Business Model obsolescence.
The Internet is transforming the world of traditional trading and virtually dissolving national boundaries in business.
Not only is the competition smarter - it’s also coming from unexpected places. It wasn’t too long ago that the name Amazon.com would have been meaningless to the bookseller industry.
The signs of failed strategy execution are easy to decipher if you take the time to listen to your employees. Ask them about their commitment to and confidence in the company’s strategy. If you hear things like “It’s not worth it,” “It’s not real,” or worse yet, “It’s not possible,” your strategy implementation efforts needs immediate resuscitation.
How then do you get your staff committed to your strategic direction and to doing their work differently in an environment of massive change and chaos?
Remember that people are your bridge to the future. Without commitment of everyone in the organisation, the best strategy in the world will fail. The more employees understand the strategy and believe in it enough to be willing to change how they work, the more they can continue to be successful in terns of personal productivity, pride and profit – and ensure those same rewards for the organisation.
There are steps that an organisation needs to take to gain employees commitment and build employee competence:
- The first challenge is getting employees to buy-in to the organisations strategy. To know and clearly understand where the organisation is going and why. Employees won’t believe it until they know their leaders are clearly committed and aligned with the strategic direction.
- Make a compelling – and urgent case for change. If it is not seen as urgent, it’s not important. If it’s not important it won’t get done. The key is to build an honest, strong case for urgency (job security, for example) then people will respond.
- Identify key roles. Do the middle managers and supervisors understand their roles in making the new strategy a reality? If they get on board early, resistance to change quickly erodes and commitment builds.
- Implement a solid communication plan. An occasional email or memo to management is not enough. Be creative and persistent. Use all avenues, people and methods to get your message across.
- Get your employees to “own” the strategy. Why is ownership so crucial? Buy-in to a strategy gives people an academic or theoretical interest in it, but stop short of passionate commitment. Often, one person with passion can do more than a thousand who are merely interested or aware.
- Communicate the strategy in terms that are meaningful to each employee. This is best accomplished in direct conversation between management / supervisor and staff.
- Show staff where they fit in. For maximum commitment, connect staff to the organisation’s vision.
- Involved your staff in planning. The best way to get people to take ownership of the future is to give them a say in it and to allow them to redesign the work.
- Learn and deal with competency gaps. Do you know what your staff’s current levels of competence are versus competencies they will need in the future? Do you have a plan for closing the gaps?
In this era, success will be predicted on your ability to execute new strategies more effectively and efficiently than your competitors. It requires providing your employees with the information, skills and support they need to translate strategies into results.
Paul Schnabel is a dynamic speaker, consultant, executive coach and author who works with organizations to create breakthrough performance in the areas of sales and leadership and to help individuals and teams develop qualities required for impact and success. Paul has empowered individuals and organizations to succeed in a rapidly changing environment for the past 20 years. Paul completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts and is an alumni of Outward Bound, where he completed a 28-day wilderness skills and leadership course in the Maine wilderness. He is the 2001 Arizona Public Speaking Champion for Toastmasters International and has written many articles for Arizona business publications. Paul has delivered keynote addresses and workshops to many of the world’s leading organizations including UPS, Juniper Networks, Palm, SAP, Lexus, American Express and Toyota. In addition, Paul provides one to one coaching to executives, and leaders, using a variety of tools and assessments to uncover opportunities for improved individual and team performance.
Paul is a managing partner in the Advantage Performance Group, a leading performance training and consulting organization. In this role, Paul provides best in class learning solutions to address tough performance challenges in today’s organizations. Prior to his current role, Paul was Vice President of Sales Mastery at The Real Learning Company, a leading developer of innovative learning solutions. In that role he assisted Fortune 500 clients with the diagnosis, design and implementation of robust learning solutions to drive business results. Paul can be contacted at and http://www.advantageperformance.com.
Involve employees in strategic planning and execution in order to manage an effective change strategy.
Keywords and relevant phrases
Accountability, attitude, awareness, business model, buy-in, change management, communication, competence, competition, commitment, confidence, connection, consultation, corporate culture, culture, cycle, delivery, development, globalisation, innovation, interest, involvement, management, networking, online community, ownership, pride, production, productivity, remuneration, resistance, reward, shared vision, skills shortage, stakeholders, strategy, strategy implementation, support, technology, training, transformation, trust, understanding.