I was working with the leadership team of an organization recently and we were addressing the gap between strategic planning and strategy execution.
I posed a series of questions to them to help me identify where their strengths and weaknesses lie in this area and one thing became very clear, very early. It became apparent that the executives had done a great job making sure that the senior leadership team were informed and onboard with the strategic plan but that’s where it stopped. When asked about how informed each of THEIR teams were – the response was not so positive.
This leadership team admitted that they were doing a very poor job at communicating the plan to their people and gaining their buy-in and commitment.
This is not unusual. The further down the line we go in any organization, the further away we get from the ‘Why” and that important connection between the plan and the work we do.
In our book “The 7 Elements of Strategy Execution” we capture the essence of this key element with these words…
“Targeted tools, processes and rewards will help you generate and nurture commitment from employees. Team members must believe in the strategy. You want team members who are committed to the strategy, their colleagues and the organization, and who understand what’s in it for them and the company. They come in to work every day energized and focused. This is commitment.”
To gain commitment from your people, they will need 3 key things:
- A clear understanding of the ‘why’ – the why we are doing this and the ‘how’ – how does this fit into the big picture. This means that we need to communicate the strategic plan, or direction, not just from the top down one level, but from every level down to the next level.
- A fair and well thought out rewards and compensation plan. Everyone is incented in different ways and that does not always include money. Time off, shorter work hours, tele-commuting opportunities, equity, more responsibility, more authority and the opportunity to grow professionally – just to name a few.
- Passion and Purpose – we all need to see the passion and purpose from our leaders all the time – so that we can start to feel it as well.
There are many other ways to strengthen the commitment from your people, but if you start here, you will have a good foundation.
Strategy Execution – start working on your organization’s commitment to the plan today. Communicate, reward and show the passion.
David Barrett is a professional speaker and workshop facilitator helping organizations get it done – from strategy to execution.