Is Your Strategy Being Executed Successfully Across the Company?
How to simplify corporate strategy? This is a question we are getting asked by more and more leaders seeking to lift performance in an ever-changing competitive landscape. Many leaders feel the frustration of their team not fully executing the previously agreed to plans.
Executives Are Disappointed in the Strategic Planning Process
McKinsey recently reported that only 45% of executives are satisfied with their strategic planning process and that only 23% felt that important strategic decisions were made during the strategic planning process itself. Our take…Most leaders are convinced about the importance of a workable, clear and agreed-upon strategic direction for moving forward…but the majority seem bewildered about where to begin and how to create lasting buy-in and commitment.
How to Simplify Corporate Strategy for Success
Here is a simple strategy framework to help leaders learn how to simplify corporate strategy that can get you started and help you craft a working document that can clarify and guide your strategic actions into the future:
1. Begin at the Beginning – Mission and Vision
The first step in teaching leaders how to simplify corporate strategy is to articulate your business purpose. What is your corporate vision and mission? What outcomes matter most to your organization?
Well written, your mission statement should outline your organization’s business and fundamental purpose. Done right, it should provide a true north for all stakeholders. Your vision statement should illuminate what you hope to become if you successfully achieve your mission and outline the business you will be in tomorrow. Done right, it can provide inspiration for your workforce to achieve more.
Here is Amazon’s vision statement as an example: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
2. Add your Corporate Values
Too many companies spend too little time on developing meaningful and impactful corporate values. Do not be satisfied with universal and generic values that simply look good on the company web site. Instead, we believe you should be ruthlessly honest with the way you want your employees to fundamentally think and behave.
Identify the values that truly matter to your employees and enable the achievement of your strategy in a way that sets you apart. Remember that corporate values should give a common purpose to your team and provide behavioral boundaries to how that purpose should be achieved and how big and small decisions should be made.
At LSA, for instance, one of our core values is “to strive to build something special together.” This translates into us acting as co-owners with a sense of pride in what we build, going above and beyond and succeeding and sacrificing together.
3. Be Clear about What Sets You Apart
Whether you call it a value proposition or a differentiation statement, leading companies are crystal clear about what sets them apart from the competition in the eyes of their target buyers. Done well, this creates a compelling brand promise that resonates with target clients in a way that you can proudly support and deliver upon.
Are you clear about what sets you apart from the pack?
4. Identify Focus Areas
Strategic focus areas help break down and clarify how to get from where you are to where you want to be to achieve your mission and vision while living your corporate values. We have found that the best strategies have no more than four major areas of focus. Hone your list to the critical few priorities that matter most in the next twelve to twenty four months.
5. Create Clear and Compelling Goals
It doesn’t matter what you call the next stage of your strategic planning, it just matters that the objectives that fit under each focus area are clear, specific, relevant, measurable, actionable and just possible. Each goal should have a clear outcome and a direct link to a focus area. When it comes to strategic objectives, less is more; keep your list to three or less.
6. Agree Upon Actions
This is where the rubber meets the road. These action steps need to drive directly toward the strategic objectives you have set. Each action should have an owner and the assignment of ownership should be transparent throughout the company. Without accountability, you are likely to fall far short of your overall goal.
The Bottom Line
Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. Strategic planning does not need to be an expensive or time consuming process. Bring the right people together, Identify what matters most and commit to simplify corporate strategy for success.
If you would like to learn more about how to simplify corporate strategy, download 7 Ways to Stress Test Your Sales Strategy
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