How we bring strategy to life

In Friday’s post, I talked about the strategy workshops that we run with clients, and how we end those with a plan for the year ahead, broken down into quarterly targets. A few of you asked some really good questions, so I thought I would answer them in today’s post.

1. How do you measure progress?

We recommend that companies hold Board Meetings every month. The Agenda for these meetings will typically be:

  • Minutes of previous meeting
  • Review of Actions
  • Financial performance
  • Strategy review
  • Operations
  • Sales & business development
  • Any other business

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, this agenda should work as it covers all of the core areas of any business. You’ll see that the fourth item on the list is a Strategy Review. This is where we go through the targets that we’ve set and check to see progress. Are we behind schedule? If so, why and what are we doing about it? If we’re on track, then let’s keep focused, and if we’re ahead of schedule then crack out the champagne!

Some of our clients are one-person businesses. We still use this format, as it gives us all focus and one of my jobs in that situation is to hold the owner accountable.

2. How do you create the culture where this approach works?

Achieving the strategy, hitting the targets, is a team game. You can’t do this on your own (unless you’re a one-person business). The plan needs to be shared, your team needs to know what the focus is and more importantly why.

As many of you will know, I’m a fan of Simon Sinek and his principle that people don’t buy What you do, they buy Why you do it. It’s the same internally. You can’t just change the culture of an organisation overnight, however if you take this approach and start with Why you do what you do, then if it’s a compelling enough reason and vision, then I find that people will want to help you deliver that.

Tony Hseih of Zappos is a great example of this, and if you haven’t read his book Delivering Happiness, then I’d certainly recommend it.

How do you manage strategy and performance in your business?

Do you have a documented strategy? Do people know what it is, and more importantly why? Let me know in the comments below.

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