If you had developed the cure for the common cold, would you keep it to yourself?
Of course not. Your book is useless until it’s published. Your cure is nothing until it gets produced. Yet CEOs and leaders routinely do something similar: They write grand strategies for the next three, five, or ten years but don’t actually help their organization make it a reality.
How do we know that leaders are terrible at this? For one, research:
- Kotter International famously found that 70 percent of large-scale strategic initiatives fail.
- Other estimates put that number closer to 90 percent.
Executing isn’t easy, but following a few simple disciplines can keep your company’s strategy from dying on the vine:
1. Turn strategic abstractions into concrete priorities.
It’s one thing to state that the company’s strategy in the next three years is to grow revenue 7 percent year over year and begin global expansion. It’s another to break that down into a playbook for next quarter, including goals and metrics for the major areas of the business. What exactly needs to be achieved, and how will success be measured? Create this clarity by setting 4-7 specific goals for the organization every 90 days, making sure they align with the long-term strategy.
2. Help the whole team see their part in the strategy.
Share the strategy and company goals with the entire company, down to the frontline-and require that each team and individual set their own supporting goals for the quarter. This keeps everyone strategically aligned even when they face day-to-day distractions. By ensuring that everyone sets well-defined goals each quarter, you also plant the seeds for a culture of accountability and collaboration.
3. Talk about strategy all the time.
Don’t think you can just share the strategy once. Use every chance you get-emails, meetings, town halls, informal chats-to talk about actions, decisions, and goals in the context of strategy. This ongoing articulation of the strategy will help employees act strategically even when you’re not there. Let any fear of repeating yourself go. Talk about strategy, and then talk about it some more.
4. Refresh every quarter.
Finally, close the loop at quarter-end. Sit down with the leadership team and discuss: Do we need to tweak the strategy based on what happened in the past 90 days? Where did we excel, and where did we fall short? Communicate key takeaways from this discussion to the whole company, then set and share goals for next quarter.
In their now famous Fortune article, “Why CEOs Fail,” Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin explain what trips up 70 percent of chief executives: “It’s bad execution. As simple as that: not getting things done, being indecisive, not delivering on commitments.”
At The SOS Group Inc, our mission is to help business leaders and organizations improve their efficiency and effectiveness by helping them develop and implement strategic change that delivers measurable and predictable results, getting them from where they are now to where they want to be-quickly.
We’re now partnering with Khorus, makers of the first enterprise leadership platform. It’s a powerful combination. You get a measurable and predictable strategy that spells success for your business, plus a consistent method for translating the strategy into teamwork and real results.
Remember you cannot manage what you cannot measure. So,if you’re ready to lead your company forward and gain a measurable competitive advantage in today’s market, give me a call today at 713-249-9569. You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain!