03 Jan Execution: Getcha’ Boots On
“Strategy without execution is a dream. Execution without strategy is a nightmare.” – Bill Gates
KISS – Keep It Simple Sam(antha)
Assuming you have taken the three steps in last week’s blog, 3 Steps for a Strategic Plan, 1) What is the current state of your business? 2) What is important for the future? 3) What are the objectives and measures for success? You are now in possession of your strategic plan and you are ready for some advice on execution of the plan. First piece of advice is to keep it simple. Don’t over complicate it.
Let’s continue to keep it simple with 4 steps – Plan – Do – Check – Adjust (PDCA). You plan what you want to do. You do it. You check in to see if it produced the results you expected and then you adjust accordingly. Yes it is structured common sense and it is usually forgotten when we throw words like strategic plan or business plan at it.
4 Steps for Execution:
- Plan – Use the strategic plan as the document to guide you. Look at each of the targets set forth in the first year of your strategy. Ask yourself these 5 questions for each target a) What are the customers requirements, measures, and expectations for this target? b) What are the financial requirements, measures, and expectations for this target? c) What are the core internal processes used to obtain this target? d) What are the people resource needs (ie. training, skills, education, certifications, etc.) for this target? e) What structure and visualization will be used to monitor progress & performance?
- Do – Develop a tactical implementation plan. This is a document which links the strategy to operational processes & delivers on the customer expectations. This requires alignment and execution between operations, people, processes and expected outcomes to the strategic and operational activities. People are then connected to delivering on the same goals at the same time.
- Check – To measure the progress on the outcomes you must check the results frequently. In some cases this is weekly and in other cases it is monthly. The frequency, review meetings, and performance measures should be defined in the ‘plan’ step. The purpose of this step is to understand your progress and ensure execution is happening in all areas of the strategic plan.
- Adjust – This is where you make adjustments to your ‘plan/do’ steps based on what you have learned about the performance outcomes. If you have a measure which is over performing – research what is happening. Do you need to adjust your projections? What is the impact to the financials? What is the impact to all of the customers? What is the impact to the internal processes? What is the impact to your people? Ask yourself the same questions with under-performing measures too.
All four of these steps are connected and should help you balance and project the performance of your strategic plans. “Aligning strategy and tactics is not about activities on a project or implementation plan. It’s about ensuring that employees know their roles and what is expected of them to help the organization achieve its strategy.” – Andrew Miller
Alignment and Communication:
Alignment of your people, processes, and performance are the key to strategy execution. However none if it is possible without leadership, communication and change management. If you are a small company this is an easier task because there are less complex organizational structures, however this alignment is just as important. Be clear, be crisp, and be consistent when communicating with your customers, staff, and stakeholders. By building a visual representation of the three year strategy, the annual deployment activities, and then linking the people (what they do, what they are accountable for, and what they will be rewarded with) to the performance expectations helps employees understand why they are important to the company. Stay connected with the staff and understand the performance gaps.
Getcha Boots On:
If your company continues to have perfomance gaps “getcha boots on” (Genchi Genbutsu) meaning go out and see what is happening. Understanding and watching what is happening on the shop floor, or with your internal processes is the best way for you ‘seek to understand’ and your employees will be happy to share what is working and what is not. This is the whole premise behind the television program “Undercover Boss”, but why be ‘undercover’ when you can be front and center ‘learning from those who do the job’. Plato said, “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation.” In the case of ‘go-look-see’ Gail says, “You can learn more about a process in ten minutes, than you can from two hours in a conference room discussing the problem.” So Getcha Boots On and get started on executing your plan.
As always, we are here to help you with your strategic and execution planning. www.LeadingtoUnlock.com