For Strategic Speed Create Strategic Clarity “Game-by-Game”

A business man stands at a board where he is drawing a game plan to illustrate Strategic Speed

Strategic Speed Often Equals Strategic Success
The strategic speed at which companies execute their strategic plans and deliver on their product road maps can make all the difference between success and failure.  A recent CEO described their role as the organization’s leader in charge of strategic clarity and implementation. The CEO believes, as do we, that CEOs should work with the executive team and other key stakeholders to:

  1. Craft a business strategy to stay ahead of the game
  2. Ensure the strategy is understood, believable and implementable enough to take coordinated action
  3. Oversee and adjust the strategy as it is implemented across the organization

Strategic Speed Needs Strategic Change
Successful companies thrive on change and disruption. Successful leaders learn from strategic implementation and improve with each iteration to increase the strategic speed of change.

Strategic Speed During High Growth
Often as  organizations grow, so do the potential problems. For example, during high growth, some CEOs mistakenly become too entangled with internal issues.  While processes, practices and technology must keep pace with growth in order for companies to scale gracefully,  beware of losing focus on your market and your target customers.

Small Changes Are Faster Than Big Changes
Regarding strategic speed, there is a school of thought that goes beyond achieving basic strategic clarity.

  • The idea is that, just as large ships are less maneuverable than a smaller boat and require more time for changes in direction, strategic speed for a larger organization is typically slower.
  • According to my sailing friend, it takes approximately 15 minutes to safely turn a large cruise ship 180 degrees but only 3 minutes to turn a battleship 180 degrees.  This makes sense as cruise ships are built for comfort and battleships are built for war.

What is Your Strategy Built For?
How can you protect your bigger (and perhaps built for comfort) organization from these competitive insurgents who innovate, adapt and deliver faster because they are built for strategic speed to swoop in and quickly win under-served markets or opportunities?

Use Mini-game Plans to Create Strategic Speed
If you want to increase your strategic speed, create mini-game plans within your overall business strategy by:

1.  Defining Narrow Goals 
The idea is to more narrowly define specific goals for well-chosen, discrete, cross-functional teams. They can operate just the way a small boat or battleship would to dash here and there to clear obstacles in the path of the larger cruise ship.  Whereas corporate goals are typically general in nature, such as increasing revenues by 5% over the coming year, a mini-goal would target increasing revenues of a specific product sold through a specific channel.

2.  Being Customer Centric
Pursuing the overall strategy “game-by-game” typically brings the focus back on the customer. Instead of being consumed by the internal issues that loom large in bigger corporations, the voice of the customer comes back into the executive office.

3.  Empowering the Front Line
When you move forward game-by-game to increase strategic speed, the front line has more sway as decisions need to be made and the speed to innovate is back where it belongs…in the forefront.  It also makes good business sense to empower the front line.  Oracle found up to 20% of revenue is at risk unless customer experiences are consistently positive and aligned with your brand promise.

4.  Acting Cross-Functionally
You will need experts of all kinds…from marketing, front-line sales, manufacturing, operations, finance, customer service and those who understand customer preferences. Give the team the resources and support it needs and then let them loose to do their work using a leadership action learning approach that includes:

  • An accountable leader with the authority and influence to get the job done
  • A process to align and coordinate priorities, rewards, stakeholders and strategies with senior leadership
  • Clear goals, priorities, roles, responsibilities, budgets, deliverables, success metrics and deadlines

The Bottom Line
Businesses that increase strategic speed will outperform their peers by quickly learning what works, understanding what does not work and capitalizing upon those lessons better and faster than their competition.  The mini-game approach allows for the best of both worlds…the maneuverability of small teams and the learning power of big teams.

To learn more about the elements required to create strategic speed, download, The 7 Warning Signs that Your Strategy is Not Ready for Increased Strategic Speed

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