Identify Strategic Priorities
It’s one thing to draft a corporate strategy at a strategy retreat; it’s another to successfully and consistently execute your strategy across an organization. And the more ambitious your goals, the more strategic clarity, focus, and perseverance you will need to get there.
While strategic priorities certainly change over time, top leaders ensure that they and their teams identify strategic priorities designed to win. Based upon leadership simulation assessment data, that means:
When you want to maximize the impact of achieving your strategy, the importance of prioritization cannot be overestimated to best accelerate decision making, allocate resources, and maximize trade-offs. While it may seem counterintuitive that fewer strategic initiatives can create more value, the key is for leaders to identify and agree upon what really matters above all else in helping you get to where you want to go. This allows everyone to set clear priorities, manage scarce resources, and have clear action plans.
First Things First — Use Strategic Drivers to Set the Context
Before you identify strategic priorities for the next 12-36 months, you need to have a solid the foundational context of five strategic drivers:
Most Leaders Underestimate the Need for Strategic Context
Although many leaders believe that their strategic drivers are clear enough to begin to identify strategic priorities, our organizational alignment research found that employees believe that these strategic drivers are 50% less clear to them than to the executive team.
Without clear and agreed upon vision, mission, values, target clients, and unique value proposition definitions, managers and employees report that they are missing the guiding principles required to know what matters most — especially when things inevitably change.
Next, Define High Performance Success Metrics to Set the Bar
Once you have established your strategic drivers, it is time to define what high performance goals look like over the next 12-36 months.
We recommend selecting two or three leading or lagging metrics that carry fifty percent or more of the weight regarding what matters most.
For example, one client looking to enter a new market selected (1) new client acquisition and (2) new client satisfaction as their two main strategic success metrics. While they had many things on their plate, they knew that these two metrics mattered most to achieve their vision.
Another client striving to scale selected (1) profitable growth rate and (2) client renewals as their overall strategic measures of high performance. While they also needed to realign some teams and divest some products, they knew that growing their current client base profitably was the key to higher performance.
The Bottom Line
Getting these strategic drivers right is harder than it may seem. We found that only 30% of companies have enough strategic clarity to effectively identify strategic priorities. Once you have aligned the top team on the strategic drivers, you can then begin to actively involve your teams to identify priorities required to make it happen in a way that makes sense for your unique situation.
When the priorities become clear, it is time to act and hold people accountable for consistently living by the new priorities.
To see if you have the strategic clarity required to better set priorities, download 7 Proven Ways to Stress Test Your Strategic Priorities Now
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