How to make strategy a living, breathing part of the organisation
An annual review of corporate performance requires valuable time and money. And before you know it – before we’ve seen progress on the issues identified – it’s time for another review … and another?! As a result, too often, this cycle goes on to simply identify the same problems remain within the business, year on year.
As part of the review process, sometimes there is effort spent on the development of a strategic plan to address problems identified. From there: those strategies are handed to team leads, and then passed onto individuals for implementation. This seems logical, right? Define a plan, nominate teams and individuals for execution – you may even put it on a staff member’s yearly performance plan – and the problem will be addressed, …right?
So why do we rarely seem to achieve the corporation’s strategic objective or solve the problem before the next review is upon us?
That’s because too often, the strategic objective simply remains at a senior level; a broad statement. Too often, there is no clear alignment between employee’s tasks, management and departmental goals and the strategic plan.
Without an effort to translate relevant actions into what different levels of the business can contribute, there is very little understanding, or value placed on the every day tasks that can empower broad corporate strategy. Low level tasks can be mistaken for low value; they can be forgotten or shifted lower in a list of priorities.
In an ideal world, everyone in the organisation should understand why certain roles and process have come to be. Unfortunately, it is management level processes that most commonly remain unmapped to strategy. This gap is critical to defining how we translate the strategic objective to execution. But it can be addressed – it begins by:
- Determining the organisation’s strategic direction, and;
- Documenting the highest levels of the business process, then;
- Clearly define and map the links from strategy to the shop floor, and;
- Ensure the understanding of each tasks value and how it will enable the strategic objective.
- Display and manage the completion of the tasks, manage the exceptions.
- Reward the people staying the course, manage the others.
Mapping strategy into the various roles and layers of the organisation requires a robust review of what’s working, and what’s not working you towards your corporate objective.
Such an undertaking can appear quite daunting at first. It is complex to map strategic objectives to the shop floor, across multiple teams, while ensuring understanding of the intent and value of each task and how one enables another.
Many teams will be siloed in their role, failing to see their contribution to a wider process, or end goal; they may also require some coaching and change management skills to drive adoption and buy-in of the new processes.
For this reason, it is best practice to have an independent party facilitate the planning and mapping process to ensure all tasks aren’t competing and continue to align to the strategic plan.
However, thoughtful preparation and careful execution of well-defined work packages will make the strategic objectives eminently achievable. This is, of course, massively important to a healthy organisational culture, progress, and growth.