Strategies for Executive Teams to Stay Aligned

Strategies for Executive Teams to Stay Aligned
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Do You Need to Implement Strategies for Executive Teams to Stay Aligned?
We know from our organizational alignment research that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.  We also know that even the most coherent strategic plans often do not get fully implemented.  That is why strategies for executive teams to stay aligned are paramount.

What Happens to Strategies When Executive Teams Do Not Stay Aligned
Successfully designing and executing a company strategy is not easy.  Strategies for executive teams to stay aligned matter because misaligned executive teams create misaligned strategies that erode and sabotage strategy execution.  Here is some startling research on the challenge of strategy execution:

  • According to IBM, only one out of ten organizations is able to successfully implement their strategies on a consistent basis.
  • Booz & Company found that 60% of employees rated their companies weak at strategy execution.
  • 74% of executives told McKinsey that they don’t have faith that their company’s strategies will succeed.
  • Harvard business review reported that 61% of executives do not feel prepared for the strategic challenges they face.
  • Our own research found that non-executive team members find their company’s strategy 50% less clear than their boss.

Staying Aligned After the Strategy Retreat
Effective strategy retreat facilitation can align executive teams around why they exist, what matters most, and who does what.  In fact, organizational success often hinges on the seamless synchronization of everyone on the executive team.  While executive team commitment and motivation usually increase once everyone has frank conversations and gets on the same page about where the company is headed, the pressures of the marketplace, organizational change, and workplace politics often derails the best of intentions.

That is why high performing leadership teams are investing more time after strategy retreats to design meaningful mechanisms and strategies for executive teams to stay aligned as things change around them.

3 Strategies for Executive Teams to Stay Aligned
As leadership teams navigate through inevitable challenges and opportunities, maintaining alignment becomes paramount to achieving collective goals and sustaining a high performance culture.  Here are 3 proven strategies for executive teams to stay aligned:

  1. Hold Weekly Accountability and Adjustment Sessions
    While weekly meetings may seem like too much for an executive team, high performing leadership teams have meaningful mechanisms to frequently stay on top of things. Consider holding 15-30 minute leadership team meetings that enable the executive team to share progress, celebrate progress, discuss obstacles, continuously learn, and make the necessary strategic adjustments and commitments to move forward together.  You are trying to create a cadence and willingness of team members to rely on one another and uphold commitments.

    You will know that these weekly meetings are working when there is full participation, progress is being made, everyone knows where things stand, and healthy conflict results in meaningful commitment.

  2. Hold Quarterly Accountability and Adjustment Sessions
    Quarterly reviews help you and your team get out of the weeds and provide the opportunity to discuss key shifts since the initial strategy design (e.g., marketplace, strategy, structure, culture, talent, processes, technology, leadership, mindsets, etc.), check in on overall strategic progress from agreed upon plans, agree upon what is collectively working/not working. formally summarize results, and agree upon next steps.

    Done right, quarterly accountability and adjustment sessions should encourage stakeholder coordination, cooperation, and collaboration while breaking down organizational silos and barriers to success.

    You will know you are headed in the right direction when everyone has a clear line of sight into what matters most, how initiatives are progressing, key barriers to overcome, and strategic assumptions and adjustment required to keep pace.

  3. Hold Annual Strategy Sessions to Stimulate Alignment and High Performance
    While weekly and quarterly reviews keep the executive team focused on the impact of their contributions, a yearly calibration can be used to reinforce the team’s purpose, look farther into the future, and provide an opportunity for reflection and learning as critical inputs to planning for the upcoming year’s strategic priorities.

    Done right, annual strategy sessions establish clear objectives that resonate with each executive team member so they can explicitly orient their teams toward a common destination while minimizing the risk of divergent strategies or resourcing.

    You will know that you are headed in the right direction in terms of strategic clarity facilitation when everyone shares a collective understanding and commitment to the strategic priorities, success metrics, and plans to make it happen.

Some Cultural Requirements to Support Strategies for Executive Teams to Stay Aligned

  • Open Communication
    Central to sustaining organizational and executive team alignment is fostering an environment of open communication and psychological team safety. Executive teams must cultivate a culture where ideas flow freely, concerns are addressed transparently, and feedback is embraced constructively. By nurturing a safe space for dialogue, teams can unearth diverse perspectives, make better decisions, resolve conflicts, and forge consensus with greater agility.
  • Trust and Accountability
    Trust forms the cornerstone of effective leadership teams. High performing leadership teams invest the time to foster trust at work through consistent actions, genuine interactions, and accountability. By honoring commitments and holding each other to high standards, high performing leadership teams cultivate a culture of reliability and integrity that fuels alignment.
  • Diversity of Thought
    Diversity of thought enriches the fabric of teams and infused innovation and change resilience into their collective DNA. By valuing contributions from individuals with varied backgrounds and experiences, leadership teams can unearth unconventional solutions, challenge conventional wisdom, and lift performance.
  • Adaptive Leadership
    High levels of empathy, agility, and a keen sense of situational awareness differentiate high performing leadership teams. Adaptive leaders adeptly navigate through ambiguity, inspire trust, and empower teams to thrive amidst change and uncertainty.

The Bottom Line
If you want to successfully execute your strategy, sustaining leadership team alignment is a strategic imperative. Explicit mechanisms combined with key cultural requirements can help leadership teams to navigate through complexities with confidence, resilience, and unwavering alignment.

To learn more about strategies for executive teams to stay aligned, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

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