“Strategy without execution is meaningless. Execution without engagement is impossible.”—Me
Admit it, this statement has got you thinking, right? When you read the words, and look closely at their meaning, they’re so true. Just think about it. If you have a strategy, but don’t execute on it, who cares that you even had a strategy to begin with? And if you try to execute but your people are not on board, do you even have a shot at success?
So, if you want to be one of the few companies that is actually able to create a strategy and get your people on board to execute it, you want to check out the list below—10 things great leaders do to ensure their people are engaging around their organization’s strategy.
- Build a leadership team with a consistent view and interpretation of the strategy. If your plan doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone sitting at the strategy table, you might as well just call it quits now. You need your top execs to be on the same page about what you want to do with the organization. Period.
- Never execute blindly. You first must be sure your people are ready, willing, and able to execute your strategy. Your employees need to be on board with what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Ensure the behaviors of the leadership team support the strategy. The way the top tier acts is going to set the pace and tone for how everyone else follows. Leaders have to model the behavior they want the rest of the company to emulate.
- Put the good of the company ahead of their functions. They also make sure all other department heads and C-suite execs do the same. This is where we talk of “owning the whole” before any individual piece. Are the people at the helm looking out for the big picture before their individual departments or functions? If not, work it out.
- Help managers communicate the strategy clearly and consistently. Your managers are your connection to your people. They need to understand the strategy and feel very knowledgeable of their role in it, to be able to disseminate the message to the greater employee base.
- Expect managers to be great team leaders—not just excellent individual contributors. So ensure your managers are doing what they need to do to inspire, motivate, and coach their teams. Do managers review progress on goals with their people? You have to check in along the way? Otherwise, there is no way for employees to see how they’re doing and if they’re contributing to the company’s ability to execute on the strategy.
- Check in with the frontline. Let everyone in your organization know your name and your face. Yes, your managers need to be intimately involved with each and every team member, but you need to keep tabs to ensure your front line understands the marketplace and the strategy. The people closest to your customers really need a firm grasp on what the playing field looks like and how you’re intending to win.
- Ensure the front line can connect their contributions to company goals. Having your front line understand the strategy is a great first step, but they also need to understand how their daily work—and each customer interaction—impacts the bigger picture. If they get this, that’s when you’ll start to see discretionary effort because people feel validated that their specific role has a very important impact.
- Invest in learning and development. If you’re not focused on giving everyone in your organization the chance to learn relevant skills, you’re missing a golden opportunity to show your commitment to your people and deepen their expertise. When asking people to do new things, take on different responsibilities, or participate in a way they aren’t used to, you also have to make sure they’re prepared with the tools and skills needed to do this successfully. Without the right resources and training, they won’t be able to deliver and the blame will be on you.
- Feel confident and committed to the end goal. You need to know what winning looks like and your people need to know this too. If you have the strategy, the execution, and the people on board, how will the end of your story go? What does it look like when you win? Be sure to share this picture with your people so they can visualize as well and understand what it is they’re working to help achieve.
If you already follow most (or all) of these behaviors, then you’re in good shape—your people must get it when it comes to your strategy. More often, however, leaders are only committing to a few these and that’s why so many companies struggle year after year. But if you’re honest about your actions and are ready to make the changes necessary, you’re likely to get on the right track to executing your strategy through your people. And success is sure to follow.
This article was written by Jim Haudan from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.