Strategies that do not get implemented are frustrating for leaders and their stakeholders. To move forward, you need a clear, believable and implementable plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. It must be meaningful; challenging but achievable and worthwhile; and clear and simple enough to communicate effectively across the organization.
The way to achieve the goals of a well-crafted business strategy is to break it down into measurable objectives. Sounds easy…but this is where so many leadership teams fall short. They don’t know how to craft good strategic objectives. Without them, there is no true guide to follow and no way to assign enough accountability.
1. First you need to agree upon where you are. Do you have a common understanding of what “Point A” represents? What is the current situation? What are the key complications that the company faces? How would you describe the critical few implications of not successfully executing your strategic vision?
2. Then you need to agree upon where you are going. What does “Point B” represent? Are you hoping to enter a new market to diversify your offerings? Grow your revenues by 20% and your margins by 15%? More fully engage your workforce to decrease attrition? Whatever your ultimate goal, a successful strategy sets up your organization to succeed; it helps you perform beyond the sum of its parts.
3. Lastly, you need to break up the overall strategy into concise objectives that align with and drive toward each strategic goal. Strategic objectives should be specific, have one clear owner, a specific date for completion and be measurable. The best strategic objectives are communicated in a single sentence that begin with a verb, include an object, a measurable unit and timeline. Recent client examples include:
• Increase our executive sales team by two members in the next six months.
• Improve employee engagement from 76.5 to 82.3 in twelve months.
• Decrease attrition of A Players by 50% in six months.
• Hire and onboard 250 new employees in the next 18 months.
• Grow our top 5 accounts by 18% by Q4.
• Improve average client satisfaction ratings by 3% by the next quarter.
From an approach perspective:
• Just make sure you don’t create too many strategic objectives. In our work over the last twenty years in helping clients craft workable strategic objectives, we have found that between 2 and 4 is the ideal number. You can focus on the few critical moves that will make a difference. Too many and your efforts will be spread too thin and meaningful success is unlikely.
• Design the strategic objectives as a team. When you co-create the strategies with your key stakeholders, you engage them in the process and gain their commitment to succeed. This is not the time to work in an ivory tower. Involve the team and they will feel ownership for the outcome. And with their work on the front end, it will be easier to delegate some of the responsibility for results.
• Have one owner accountable for each objective. Unless you do, little will get done. It is human nature to work on tasks that have one’s name attached to them. Though you as leader will be held accountable for the entire project, you should assign responsibility for the implementation of each objective. Do not have “two in a box.” While multiple people will most likely be responsible for completing the task, only have one executive team member accountable for the final results.
• Create an effective exposure mechanism. There should be regular meetings to monitor, report on and assess progress. Be as transparent with the organization-at-large as you can. Every single employee should have a clear understanding of the company’s strategy and where you stand in achieving it.
With clear, believable and implementable strategic objectives, you will know where to play and what actions to take. This is how a company strategy comes to life.
4 Steps to Create Strategic Alignment
I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.
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Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.
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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.
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Director, Software Engineering, EPG
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We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.
Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region
LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.
Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology
I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.
Human Resource Manager
Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.
VP Human Resources
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Firmware Engineering Manager
SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.
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Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance
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