It is Not Easy to Execute a Winning Strategy
If you really want your company to make its way into the winner’s circle, you have to put together (and stick to) a plan to execute a winning strategy. It is not enough to just design a winning plan; you have to actually execute your strategy work throughout the entire organization.
Strategy Execution is the Most Difficult Part
On an individual level, just think of all the New Year’s resolutions and diets that start with solid plans and good intentions but fail. Individual change is difficult enough. Organizational change, especially when it comes to strategy execution, is more complex and has more at stake for more people.
Four Experience-based Tips to Ensure You Fully Execute a Winning Strategy
After twenty plus years of helping clients create strategic clarity and execute bold plans for success, we can offer four experience-based tips to help ensure you execute a winning strategy and follow through on your strategic plans:
1. Ruthlessly Focus Your Strategy Only On the Most Important
Most of our clients can successfully implement two to three big strategic initiatives at a time. Unfortunately, too many leadership teams try to do too much too fast by setting up too many goals with too many work streams. And without clear choices, employees lose focus and struggle to make decisions based upon what really matters.
The lack of relevance and urgency can defeat the best intended strategic plans. If you want to fully implement your strategy, figure out what really matters and only define goals that are worth the effort. In essence, it must matter enough to gain full commitment and focus.
2. Ensure That Your Strategic Plan is “Just Possible”
Make sure that all key stakeholders believe that the strategy is possible enough in your marketplace and within your organizational culture. It should not be easy, and it should not be a pipe dream. It should be a stretch that takes the best from all to pull it off.
You will know you are on the right track when everyone agrees with the strategic direction you are heading in and believes your company has the right mindset and talent to see the plan through to fruition.
3. Look Boldly Toward the Future
Give employees a crystal clear picture of what the new future looks like, why it is of benefit to all, the plan to get there and their specific part in the plan. And be wary of letting past failures or old ways of thinking limit you from achieving your goals. With the current Olympic Games as a great example of a high performance environment, think of those Olympic athletes who come back again and again, hopeful and triumphant.
Michael Phelps certainly faced downturns in his life. Somehow he redirected his energies on the next opportunity for Olympic greatness and now he’s the most decorated Olympian athlete of all time. He did not let his failures define him. He renegotiated his future and planned anew. Do the same for your employees?
4. Explicitly Identify and Remove Barriers
Some advocate not wasting energy on change resisters. While it is true that people who don’t believe in the strategic vision can quickly hamper strategy execution, we recommend working with everyone to explicitly identify and proactively remove the top strategic barriers during the strategy execution phase.
The key is to keep the conversation, engagement and the momentum going forward.
The Bottom Line
If you want to fully execute a winning strategy, decide what matters, leverage your uniqueness, focus on the future and eliminate potential barriers. Then go for it and be prepared to learn and adjust.
If you want to learn if your strategy is clear enough to implement, download 7 Ways to Stress Test Your Strategy
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