My friend Mona Mitchell and I published our book called “The 7 Elements of Strategy Execution” back in 2018. In the process, we interviewed a number of senior executives and leaders on the subject. One of the more interesting meetings was with Rob McLellan, a past board member of the TD Bank and past Chair of YellowPages and Wind Mobile.
When I asked Rob for his keys to successful strategy execution, he suggested that the secret was all about the people and, to him, that meant culture.
Without a culture that supports the execution of your strategic plan, your plan is doomed to fail, he suggested. As many will tell you, culture trumps strategy. Your culture will control all aspects of the outcomes, successful or unsuccessful, of your efforts to realize your vision.
So where does culture start? It is created and defined at the very top. Defined, created, communicated, demonstrated and supported every step of the way.
When we think of a culture supporting strategy execution we could ask ourselves:
- Do we work effectively together to improve our ability to achieve the goals?
- Are we linking all of our key corporate components: people, processes, strategy and the operating plan together for a common goal?
- Are we all in this together?
- Have we empowered our teams to execute on the strategy?
- Are we achieving our goals?
- Are we coaching, mentoring?
- Do we reward performance management?
- Do we pay the consequences for missing support? Do we root out those satisfied with the status quo and other non-performers?
- Are we living well and having fun?
These are not all, but some, of the critical components of a culture that can support and drive a vision to the future.
Strategy Execution is more than creating a plan. It is building a culture around the plan that will drive it to success.