By Ben Ramsden – Senior Transformation Consultant
A key part of setting strategy is aligning with the business culture, so there is one single direction and approach.
I often have clients say, “We want help with our strategy.” What they actually need help with is getting full and passionate alignment to see the strategy through to execution. I mean consistently aligned actions and behaviours throughout the organisation, not just nods around the Board table.
Some clients recognise up front that they need help with alignment. But for most, it only becomes clear during the engagement.
The trouble is that by then it’s too late.
People who are good at telling you what to do (high IQ functional experts) are often not great at fostering organisational alignment and engagement (high EQ team players). People who can do both well are very rare indeed.
Further, a linear process of setting strategy in isolation from execution often has problems later.
3 steps to success
The approach I recommend for success in any strategic consulting project is to ascertain the following 3 steps at the outset of the project:
In his mega-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests: for sharp direction and approach, you must first know where you’re going.
This involves strategic planning, a full review of the strategic planning process, and design of process fit for your business.
Achieving organisational alignment and confidence creates passion and speed. This stage involves a leadership alignment session to link strategy to execution by ensuring appropriate plans, targets and capabilities are in place. A Management KPI dashboard is also useful, to include leading and lagging indicators.
The final stage is about building an internal change capability to create and sustain desired change, realising planned benefits.
I always develop a change plan to achieve appropriate buy-in, support and behavioural change across the client’s organisation.
Another piece of advice borrowed from Stephen Covey is, “Begin with the end in mind.” Essentially, if you are not clear about the end then you won’t get there – and you certainly won’t get there quickly.
Setting effective strategy is all about clarity of direction and approach. So, I would ask you, how clear is your strategic direction and do you really have the skills internally to correct it?