Getting Frontline Managers Aligned with Strategy
For a corporate strategy to be successful, it must be understood, believable, and implementable enough. And that means getting frontline managers aligned with strategy. While each executive leader has the responsibility of fully understanding and committing to the business strategy, frontline managers must make it actionable and meaningful for their teams.
Only then can activities and behaviors on every level be focused on successfully implementing the strategy across the company.
Why the Focus on Frontline Managers?
From our perspective, the most difficult thing about corporate strategy is consistent execution across an organization. When push comes to shove, the people most responsible for a company’s ability to execute their strategic plans are the managers on the frontline who must get the work done through their teams. Typically making up more than half of an organization’s leadership and supervising more than three-quarters of the workforce, frontline managers hold the keys to bringing a strategy to life.
The best leaders ruthlessly seek strategic clarity so that the clear and compelling choices about where to play and what big bets to make are clear to the frontline. But strategic clarity is neither simple nor easy.
Unless you and your frontline managers are crystal clear on the business goals and priorities and how to execute against them, your strategic initiatives will suffer. If the strategy is not clear enough, not agreed to, not perceived to be equal to the challenge, or not supported by adequate resources, it will not be successfully implemented.
Frontline Management Strategic Clarity Warning Signs
Signs that you have work to do before you’ve reached the point where you and your frontline managers are headed in the same direction:
How to Get Frontline Managers Aligned with Strategy
Frontline managers usually have their fingers on the pulse of what matters most to your employees and your customers. Frontline managers must be clear on where the business is heading. If your managers are at all confused or unsure about the organization’s business goals, you will need to set the conditions so that they:
If you are going to push strategies down through an organization, make sure that you do the same with decision making.
Make sure that your leaders view questions and feedback not as personal criticism but as an opportunity to align and grow their frontline managers.
The Bottom Line
With flatter organizational structures, we believe that frontline managers hold the key to connecting the overall strategic priorities with the tactical actions required to accomplish them. To get frontline managers aligned with strategy, companies must devote the time required to ensure that their frontline managers understand the company’s direction and its implications for them and their teams. Are your frontline managers aligned?
To learn more about improving strategy execution, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy
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