Strategy is often thought about near year-end. What was your strategy and is it still valid? Is it effective? Do you have a short-list to think about if you want to ensure your strategy delivers results?
I have found that strategy rarely fails in formulation. Instead, it fails in execution. This would indicate that less time should be spent on formulating strategy and putting it into pretty binders. On the other hand, more time should be spent on how to ensure success. One of the reasons over 80% of my business is repeat business is because I help my clients through the implementation of their strategy and plans — and results follow. Execution requires focus, hard work, persistence, strong people and culture — and more. Is it any wonder we struggle with this topic? A few keys to success:
- Leadership - Since success begins and ends with leadership, this must be #1. Read one of my countless articles on the topic to delve into the details.
- Project management - I find that these skills are often undervalued yet are critical to success. Start asking your executives who have a talent in project management and leverage the expertise.
- Cross-functional view - Strategy cannot be implemented in a silo. Thus, it seems somewhat obvious that a cross-functional and cross-organizational view should be leveraged yet it is easy to fall back into our silo at the sign of the first conflict. Incorporate into your performance expectations, training and mentoring programs and projects to ensure success.
- Collaborative approach - Are all the areas of your organization on the same page with the same game plan? I've spent quite a bit of time helping clients implement SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning programs). The HUGE results come mainly from getting everyone on 1 page. Once you are on 1 page, check in with your customers and suppliers? How successful will your strategy be if they are going in a different direction from you?
- Communicate, communicate and communicate - Since communication is at the root of success, it would be unheard of to overlook it on this list of critical success factors for strategy.
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