Expanding Your Strategy Team
When leaders think about their next strategy retreat, they often think about limiting participation in the strategy design process to make the logistics and discussions easier. We think you should consider expanding your strategy team if you want to create a clear, implementable and agreed-upon strategy that people will fully execute.
It is hard to succeed without a winning plan. Our organizational alignment research found that strategy accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of profitable revenue growth, customer retention, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.
Most Strategies Do Not Get Fully Implemented
Designing an effective business strategy, however, is no small order. Just ask the leaders who have tried and failed to put a strategy in place that actually works. We know from IBM research that less than 10% of even well-formulated strategies are executed effectively.
There are so many things that can derail your business strategy from taking you where you want to go. For example, if your organizational culture or talent management strategies are not aligned with your business strategy, your chances for successful strategy implementation are low. But first things first…
Clear strategies are understood, believable and implementable. We maintain that the benefits of expanding your strategy team greatly outweigh the costs. If you want to get people on board, your strategy team should not be made up of just the few executives in the C-Suite. They may know what their company needs to do to thrive at a high level, but they often underestimate a necessary step — clearly translating big strategies into clear and aligned actions where the work gets done in the trenches.
Three Reasons to Consider Expanding Your Strategy Team
One way to keep the strategy “real” is by expanding your strategy team to include the key players and influencers who will be responsible for the front line implementation. The most effective strategic planning teams are comprised of a broad group of stakeholders with diverse perspectives. This sets your strategy up to be stronger with a broader base of support at the start. Here are three reasons why:
1. A More Realistic Perspective
The more you actively involve those who are closest to your customers, products, partners, and competitors in your strategy design process, the more you can take advantage of immediate and relevant opportunities. Strategic realism also allows you to greatly reduce the risk of stalled implementation or outright failure. A multi-faceted and connected team can better spot new opportunities and highlight meaningful barriers to success that must be addressed.
2. Ability to Avoid Groupthink
Expanding your strategy team with people from different geographies, perspectives, backgrounds, and generations allows you to take advantage of the richness of ideas that come with diversity. This allows your strategy to be built in a way that capitalizes on a variety of suggestions, approaches and techniques. For executive teams with a domineering leader, this approach can help push through the illusions of unanimity that derails too many strategic plans.
3. Increased Stakeholder Engagement
Other than creating strategic clarity, there is nothing more important to successful strategy execution that the active engagement and involvement form those who are responsible for making it happen. With “buy-in” and support from your broader strategy team, you have ready advocates for the plan throughout the company and team leaders who understand what it will take to be successful. Implementation will be far smoother with broad company representation at the start.
The Bottom Line
Strategy documentation and communication does not create stakeholder engagement or buy-in. Employees consistently report having difficulty fully grasping strategic priorities and their role in achieving them. A small group of C-Suite leaders typically spend months creating strategic plans that sound good in the board room but create ambiguity on the front lines. Broaden your strategy design team to go slow to go fast.
To learn more about how to create a clear and compelling strategy that works, download The Top 3 Things to Do After Your Strategy Retreat
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