Berni Moore is Expleo Ireland’s strategy management consultant for business governance, transformation, BI, change, IT, telecoms and utilities. She provides her soundtrack to a better strategy.
Strategy sets the rhythm of your company, right? It provides a baseline that will have your whole business playing in tune. Is yours like the Talking Heads track “Road to Nowhere”? Or “Jump” by Madonna: not afraid where you’ll land? Here are 6 songs for getting “Into the Groove” instead.
1. “Fight for your right to party” – Beastie Boys
As a C-Level Executive, you should be involved in, promote and get buy-in for your organisation’s strategic plan. If you’re not feeling fired up about it, then you probably need to give it another look. After all, your strategy should be the reason you exist in your role. Making it real needs to be your purpose at work. Have you got the eye of the tiger?
It’s up to you to cascade the plan down to team members and then work together to ensure all areas of the business are working towards the right goals. As part of the strategic plan or review, a useful step is to create a strategic profile to better understand your company, your direction, your competitors, your place in the market and how you plan to meet your strategic priorities.
2. “Everybody knows” – Leonard Cohen
Now that the CEO, CIO and CTO are all on the same page, the next task is landing the message across your teams, so that theory turns into action. This means having the right leadership teams with the skills to create the right culture, so that the strategic priorities are being met. These can lead to hard questions. Do you have the best people for driving the business towards achieving your goals? Are those leaders strong enough to encourage their teams to focus their energies in key areas.
There’s a lot to take onboard, including the vision, strategic priorities and goals. Are you communicating them clearly? Buy-in is hard unless you can. Employees will need to learn – and be reminded – of their part in the grand scheme. The strategic plan is not something to look at just once a year to satisfy the board and then put in a drawer until the following year.
3. “One vision” – Queen
Just setting a strategy won’t make it happen. You need to know if your vision is forming and adapt quickly if it’s not. Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) with a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach is essential for monitoring progress. They create metrics, to ensure everyone understands what needs to be achieved. The good thing about balanced scorecards is they’re not just about the money. Financial measures are integrated with performance measures and objectives across the whole organisations. Once the KPIs are mapped onto the strategic priorities, you’ll then have strategic roadmap for achieving success.
Of course, these KPIs must inform your next steps. If one initiative is scoring well, think how this could improve other departments. If no alignment exists, then project should not continue, as it is taking resources, effort, time and money away from achieving the overall strategy.
4. “Let’s stick together” – Bryan Ferry
Your strategy will almost certainly include key IT initiatives, which will align their technology, data and digital initiatives to the roadmap. These initiatives should be enablers to achieve strategic objectives – not IT-only programmes – even if you are an IT company. The biggest mistake of organisations is leaving delivery of key strategic objectives to IT. The business understands how the business runs, IT understand how IT runs, so the business should own the portfolio!
5. “Wind beneath my wings” – Bette Midler
Your supporting departments are the back-up teams for achieving the strategy. They need to adapt accordingly and provide necessary impetus.
Human Resources – the people people. They can refine the organisational design with senior managers, and then gain buy-in and commitment from all employees. By creating performance objectives and writing position descriptions, they will ensure an action plan is in place every time the strategic plan is created, reviewed or changed.
Marketing – the mouthpiece. Marketing is tasked with making your strategy known to your customers, potential customers, competitors and your employees. Challenge them to consistently show evidence of achievements when new technologies are delivered, new products are launched or when new customers show confidence in your organisation’s direction.
Change leaders – the problem solvers. These go-getters work across the organisation to ensure you can transform your business in line with your strategic priorities. Their ability to improve softer skills will achieve valuable buy in and drive employees to want to be part of that change.
6. “Don’t stop believin’” – Journey
A strategy lasts all year round, not just the AGM… You need to make it part of your everyday routine and culture to maintain the right focus. If this concentration wavers, then you may struggle to fully embed your Strategic Plan into your whole organisation.There is a jeopardy factor here. Without a clearly disseminated Strategic Plan, your competitors are likely to be gaining on you or reaching over you to pinch customers or grow their share of new market entrants. Be in no doubt, they are intent on absorbing your business or flushing you out of the market. ABBA were right: “The winner takes it all”.Everyone in the organisation should know the strategy, understand it and be working towards delivering to it. Get it right, and you will align your team, boost performance and better deliver business outcomes. Or, to put it simpler, you’re more likely to turn a decent profit. Now is the time to strengthen your strategy and create your own direction.
All together now: “We are the champions, my friends…”
If you would like to talk to Expleo about your organisational strategy, Contact us today.”