Components of Strategy: An Exercise in Execution

Components of Strategy: An Exercise in Execution

Strategy is only successful if you have the process, the people and the execution to deliver the results that you plan to achieve. The process, its people and the execution all derive from the culture of your organization and are the engines that drive success.

Strategy exists as the overarching framework of what you want to achieve and how you expect to reach your goals. Its achievement is dependent on the context of Why, Who, When and How – the cultural aspects of your business.

Why?

This is the purpose behind (and in front of) your company and your strategy. It is the lens through which all vision is focused and all decisions are based. Whether you exist to provide the best customer service, or you want to make a lasting impact on your community or you are more financially driven, the purpose is the soul of your organization – its ethical and moral calculus.

Who?

The people who inhabit your company are expressions of the purpose and culture of the company. By their hiring, they have been given a mandate to fulfill the promise that is inherent in the mission and vision of the organization. They become the service and development machines of the company and need to be provided regular maintenance in alignment to the goals and calibrated with the purpose.

When?

Success is often measured by the time in which it is achieved. Set deadlines and manage scope to limit undue extensions and delays in execution.

How?

The processes, execution expectations and accountability serve as the blueprint and maintenance schedule to this project called Organizational Strategy. Clarity of expectations, proper training and metrics are necessary to successful achievement of the strategy. Keep them simple, visible and timely to review and to allow for adjustment and re-alignment.

Developing the Strategy:

In developing your strategy, you need the tools and framework to ensure the greatest probability of achievement. Any strategy, regardless of its scope and perceived possibility, has a certain probability of success. Improving that probability is the role of leadership and can be supported by a defined methodology within the planning process. Having a clear and accurate understanding of the current model will allow you to see what resources are available and how they can be deployed. Having, again, clarity of the achievement goal (vision, plan, etc.) will allow you to see what gaps exist between the current state and the desired state.

Your role as a leader is to properly fill those gaps to achieve the success. What resources are missing? What technological or operational needs are not being met? How does the message and brand need to be adjusted? Your strategy becomes the manner in which you fill these gaps – the accountability method to closing the gaps. What are the steps needed to get from point A to point B? It can be helpful to start at Point B to visualize what this truly looks like from a people, process and revenue perspective and work your way backwards. The steps and decisions will begin to materialize, becoming more corporeal, tightening focus and building belief in the possibility and the probability.

The Myth of the Perfect Employee

The Myth of the Perfect Employee

Perfection is an ideal. It is the goal that we aspire to attain. However, it is not truly attainable – only a construct – like, infinity. We must be clear in defining what this ideal should be and how it should express the behaviors, habits and attitudes that we desire in alignment to the company culture.

Defining the ‘perfect’ employee candidate, just like building a targeted customer persona, is a great way to see how multiple candidates stack up against each other and against the fit of the company culture. But we should not sacrifice the ‘really good’ or ‘excellent’ in the pursuit for the ‘perfect’.

Try to understand what success looks like in your company. Look beyond just financial performance to define success. How people interact, how they lead and how they influence others are key attributes to a successful employee. Who are some of the leaders you admire – in business and in life – and why? Who do you NOT admire – and why? These folks can be a barometer to measure the candidates you review.

Who you place in (or remove from) your organization are true measures of your ability to do what is best for your organization – your leadership.

Hiring and Firing are among the more stressful aspects of leadership within an organization. But the personalities, minds and collective energies become the power of your organization and fuel the success (or failure) of the business. Keep focused on the ideal and strive for the perfect, but use your wisdom to know when the good and great can be even better.

Incremental over Disruption: Innovation in your Daily Enterprise

Incremental over Disruption: Innovation in your Daily Enterprise

In a world of emerging technologies and breakthrough performance, we are often overwhelmed with the magnitude of extreme success and left feeling either jealous (that we didn’t think of that great idea) or impotent (that we are unable to make such significant impact). However, every day presents a new canvas of opportunity to make a difference. The difference doesn’t have to be monumental, but it can be important, valuable and can lead to something amazing.

Success requires change – change in behaviors, attitudes and habits – to achieve this new image of your future. It requires a firm and focused belief in where you want to go that will allow you to make the necessary decisions about resource allocation, money, time and energy that will need to be managed. Each of these resources needs to be invested in the achievement of the goal. They are not expenses, but tools to fulfill the realization of the vision.

Help your team to see, understand and believe in the vision. Their internal acceptance of the goal will improve their decision making and keep them working towards accomplishment in a consistent and collaborative way.

The road to sustainable success is often a circuitous one, but the belief in that success is a key component to achievement. Having a focused and clear vision of your success allows you to recalibrate when you are forced off the original path. Lack of clarity and disciplined approach to the goal can keep you off the pathway and struggling to find the correct decisions to realign. Keeping your actions and behaviors consistent with the goal(s) leads you to proper decision making that moves you forward.

Nothing of value comes easily. There are, at times, difficult decisions to be made that affect the people around you. However, those decisions become clear within the context of the goal. If you (and the people within your enterprise) are truly committed to the goal, the decisions do become easier to make.

Diligence to the process and the goal require (and support) daily affirmation of the vision – one more phone call to the customer to provide visibility and peace of mind – one more capacity option for a new client’s pressing need – one more contact to the A/P department to reconcile that old invoice. Each additional effort ties success to the person making the effort and increases their ownership of the results, the vision and the goal(s).

Each new action, effort or idea is the embryo for an amazing innovative approach to your business success. Foster the energy, talent and mindshare of each team member to express growth in themselves and in their work to build an accretive, sustainable outcome of accomplishment.

Selling Selflessly

Selling Selflessly

As a sales professional (and we are all in sales), each interaction is an opportunity to influence the decision of another. Whether you are trying to close an enterprise deal, enlisting the support of colleagues for a project or, even, getting your child to eat their vegetables. It’s not just about what you want or the outcome that you desire, but a mutually significant and beneficial outcome for everyone involved. It will involve some time, some energy, some negotiation and a lot of listening.

Ultimately, it’s not about you, it’s about them. You are looking to satisfy their needs in conjunction with your own. If you focus on providing the best solutions and outcomes for them, you create deeper relationship equity and positioning for the satisfaction for your needs as well.

Understand your audience and spend time to learn more. Ask questions and listen. The only way to know what they want is to understand their position – from a market perspective to a pain alleviation perspective to a short and long term goals perspective. Clarify their agenda and be empathetic to their struggles to achieve.

Contribute, then sell. The old adage of ‘it is far better to give than to receive’ fits into this methodology. You have much value (in knowledge, expertise and information) that you can share with others to create more value for them. By sharing, you create a deeper step in the relationship that will allow you (both) to find the best solutions.

Get feedback. By learning from the process and eliciting information from the experience, you can improve your approaches in the future – whether with the same person or with others.

Perspective is key to finding success in sale and influence. If you focus only on your own, you will lose out on many opportunities.