Over the years I have experimented with the construction and delivery of strategy. In the fast changing world we live in, we must always be prepared to revisit or evolve our strategies.
Here are the 5 steps to setting a strategy and delivering a strategy:
- Seek Feedback. Seek feedback from your peers, boss, Prospects, Customers and Suppliers: What do you need to focus on? What is the CEO’s vision for the business in the years ahead? How are others responding to the vision? Seek out their inputs into what you need to be focused on. What are the priorities by stakeholder? Where is the overlap? Distil into 3 to 4 key areas. If you can note a couple of key activities required for each.
- Run a strategy session: Go to the widest audience possible to share the key areas and flush out the detail. I sent a note to hundreds of employees across the business on the basis only 40% would turn up. That was true, but even better the spread across the business and the delight of being invited to participate was overwhelming. I was told I was mad to invite so many, but my strategy was validated with externals who knew the value of engagement early. The input and energy in the room was incredible and my Strategic plan when I walked away, had been challenged in way not possible if you are limited to your immediate peers and team. The credit team had never been involved in this way before in building strategy and felt they could influence the direction and support what was happening.
- Develop plan on the page. You have now got enough on your 3-4 pillars of strategy to have a high level plan and what you expect to achieve. This is not a final version, because has you navigate each pillar you will continue to learn and develop the strategy.
- Check in with stakeholders (peers, boss, Customers, Suppliers) Check in with the plan on the page, understand from them data points, potential risks, so that you go to the next stage which is putting the plan into action. Continue to check in quarterly with stakeholders to ensure you are on the right track and also get feedback on progress.
- Monthly bulletin/ Webinar Once you are underway, you need to communicate, communicate communicate. How your team is progressing? What are the insights? What help you need? Go far and wide, as people in large corporate are so removed from what is happening in other areas, they are keen to know and often keen to support. Don’t limit your thinking, as the inputs and support can come from far and wide. Continually reference the 3-4 pillars. It helps people understand where the activity and insights fit into your strategy. The structure helps everyone understand what your team is doing and how it fits into the overall plan.
- Your Team The most important part of delivering the strategy. Working closely on their plan how it aligns to the pillars of the strategy. Empower them to lead initiatives in the strategy, including evolving with peers. This is a great stretch for your team.
Remember no one expects you to have all the answers, the reason for sharing strategy far and wide is for it to be challenged and it to evolve into a highly successful vehicle for delivering a key strategy to the business. Sharing as you learn with your wider audience takes everyone on the journey, easy to digest in small chuncks of learning, as opposed to brain dump when you have worked on a pillar of strategy for over 6 months.
Being able to develop and delivery strategy to a business is a key leadership skill.