First of all, invest in strategy communication!
Understanding the company strategy is a prerequisite for executing it − 95% of all employees do not understand their organisation’s strategy!
Here are some tips:
- Start with an inspiring vision to really capture the imagination. There is a big difference between explaining and ensuring that people understand. Summarise the vision in an elevator pitch, enabling everyone to re-phrase it and to tell the story to friends and family. An inspiring vision will create a sense of ownership, commitment and energy among your people.
- Continue to communicate in a systematic way and use a blend of communication methods. Organise bottom-up feedback. Personal communication has the most impact!
- Make sure all management levels participate in the communication process. 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour a month discussing and communicating strategy!
- Communicate progress on a continuous basis. Connect with reality. Share best practices, but do not mask bad messages.
Make the vision a reality at all levels of the organisation. Unlock strategic potential.
- Ensure that employees know what is expected of them by translating overall strategy into concrete objectives and actions for their business unit.
- Invite participation and create involvement. Strategy Execution is based on a process of empowering and creating ownership throughout the organisation. Make sure people get real development opportunities. Stimulate learning and enable people to grow when executing strategy. Encourage initiatives and allow people to make mistakes.
- Make sure that everyone understands his/her contribution. Show how individual work contributes to the execution of the strategy. There must be a fit between organisational goals and personal goals. Here comes the question: what’s in it for me? No answer, no action.
Managing strategy is managing change.
- Define the new behaviour required for executing the strategy.
- Define not only “what” needs to be done but also “how” it needs to be done.
- Make the new behaviour real by illustrating what kind of behaviour is “out” and what is new.
- Behaviour counts − and it starts with the management! Disengaged leaders can never inspire their people − be aware of the impact of the management’s level of commitment.
Appreciate people, but dare to make the difference.
- Fix personal and stretched objectives linked to the strategy. Work the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ (include the learning objectives!). Challenging goals are more mobilising than goals within easy reach. Make sure that people understand the specific link to the strategy!
- Make sure you have an effective performance management process based on 3 major steps: the set-up of individual objectives, the mid-year review, and the evaluation at the end of the year. Make sure your management has the required skills to manage this process properly.
- Acknowledge success − individual performance must be monitored and managed. Praise those who out-perform their objectives, and make a clear distinction between high-performers and low-performers! Make sure your reward system truly differentiates between good and poor performance! Ensure transparency!