Targeting consistency in executing strategy is the key to your company’s growth, expansion and sustainability. Achieving consistency incorporates three key elements: 1) consistent strategic planning processes, 2) consistently competent leadership, and 3) a consistently well-managed, engaged workforce.
When your team operates in this type of environment, you are productive, profitable and innovative. When in-consistency is the norm, it is anyone’s guess about project outcomes.
The critical element to creating consistency is preparation: your team’s, your management’s and your leadership’s. That type of preparation starts long before a project comes in-house to be created and implemented. That preparation is pro-active and anticipatory. Like painting a room, all the work you do prior to executing strategy adds up to consistency in creating outstanding outcomes on behalf of your clients.
Utilize these three team hacks, consistently, on a per project basis. Evaluate how consistently successful you become in executing strategy.
Team Hack #1 – Has Leadership created a believable and feasible strategy for your team to execute? If your team does not buy into your company’s business strategy in the first place, you will be skeptical about how successful your team will be in executing strategy. Is your team excited and challenged when executing projects or do you collectively have that “Oh boy, here we go again” attitude? How many projects have you been involved in that you consistently had doubts about?
If your leadership is in the habit of creating strategy without, in your team’s eyes, conducting proper due diligence in its evaluation, it is up to you to tell them. Otherwise your team consistently fulfills nothing more than an order-taker role in the eyes of the C-Suite or CEO (in smaller companies).
It’s not so much a matter of whom will address the leadership team. It’s more a question of creating a process for how to address the leadership team to state your case. Start by having a team conversation with your manager to address your concerns. Then build a set of consistent processes around what you learn.
Team Hack #2 – Consistently executing strategy is the key role of your Manager. Is your manager engaged and communicative about company strategy as well as their “spin” on how that strategy applies to your team? Or is your manager focused on ticking off boxes on the KPI chart, managing metrics and blaming people?
Engaging your manager in the preparation work involved in consistently executing strategy is a productive way of yanking everyone out of status quo habits and processes. Otherwise, your team will: a) fall short of achieving excellence in the execution of strategy; or b) continuously work around management in order to pull off stunning outcomes.
If you are going to ask your manager to address the leadership team with your concerns, start a process of consistency in evaluating each project prior to engaging in creating output. Anticipate problem areas, lack of resources, or shortcomings in design specifications. Evaluate the impact that these problems have on productivity and profitability should they occur during a project instead of being identified prior to a project. Make your case in financial and operational terms. Make your case for how your proactive preparation work allows your team to consistently execute business strategy.
Did you realize you are growing your leadership skill set – and your manager’s – in the process?
Team Hack #3 – Engaged team members engage their managers as leaders. When you have that round-table, collaborative conversation with your manager, focus on the leadership value of the solutions you create. Each of you will need to assume professional responsibility and accountability for your role on the team.
You may discover that your manager is having the exact same concerns your team expresses and is equally stalemated in how to discuss with leadership. Work out a strategy, together.
Keep the tone of your round-table non-confrontational. You are collaborating to identify design, process and resource concerns which impede productivity and profitability. Your concerns might also identify key issues impacting employee retention and satisfaction. Grow your own management skill sets in the process (and perhaps your manager’s managerial skill sets).
Utilize these three hacks for executing strategy. Measure how consistently you execute strategy. Compare “before” and “after” you employ these 3 team hacks. Execution of strategy is the best test of whether your team is consistently capable, competent, communicative and collaborative. Keep your team, your management and your leadership consistently focused on how each person targets excellence in all that they do on behalf of your clients.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops target excellence in the execution of strategy. Babette began her career in clinical research where she was asked to bring clarity to stalemated cross-functional conversations. Her Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. She writes for IBM, Penton, and other brands in the technology sector. Contact Babette here.
Photo: Getty Images