How to Better Cascade Corporate Strategy
In nature, a cascade is a small, steep waterfall that flows in a descending manner from the top to the bottom, from high to low. In business we use the verb “cascading” when we talk about communicating and embedding a corporate strategy throughout the organization.
Effective Strategy Cascading Creates Alignment, Accountability and Meaning
This communication and implementation process occurs in a series of reactions in which one causes another — in which every division, department, and individual are aligned around the overall strategic plan and the important part they play in making it a success. One move flows into another — but not always in a top-down direction.
Strategic Clarity Starts at the Top
Our organizational alignment research found strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.
Once your business strategy has been fully understood and committed to as a leadership team, you should begin the hard work of strategy cascading and execution. At a minimum, you need to be satisfied that the strategy you’ve created is both crystal clear and aligned across six areas:
Cascading Your Strategy
Once your strategy is clear, believable, and implementable enough at the executive team level, you can begin the process of cascading the strategic plan so that it can be successfully executed.
3 Steps to Better Cascade Your Corporate Strategy
Here are three tips on how to better cascade your corporate strategy from the board room to those employees whose day-to-day work will be informed by that strategy.
Be clear on the portion of the strategy that is mandated, guided, or autonomous at the overall, department, team, and individual levels so people know where they are empowered to make it their own.
Each department can take the strategy and decide how to align and accomplish it in their own unique ways. As a rule of thumb, be prepared to spend twice as much time cascading your strategy for each level away from the executive team.
For example, if you spent one month prepping and two days creating your corporate strategy with your executive team, be prepared to spend two months prepping and four days with your direct reports to get the required level of alignment, conviction, and commitment.
Establish consequences for poor performance, adjust goals as necessary, celebrate progress, and reward success. Only if you hold everyone accountable for delivery against the plan will you be able to achieve it.
The Bottom Line
Well executed strategies start with strategic clarity at the top and are supported by heavily investing in cascading strategies, goals, metrics and accountability across the company. Your strategy must go through your people and your culture to get fully implemented – so invest the time it takes to cascade it effectively.
To learn if you are ready to cascade corporate strategy across your organization, download 7 Strategic Clarity Warning Signs to Pay Attention To
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