Each time I ask the question of who’s owning the strategy, I get various answers like: the shareholders, the CEO, the Board of Directors, but rarely do I hear this answer: I am. Yes, this answer: I am also responsible, I feel I share the ownership.
Want to hear this answer more often?
First, let’s start by agreeing that this is a two-way street: the leader should adopt an open strategizing practice, focusing on building a constant and coherent dialogue with his direct respondents. This means:
1. The leader and the managerial team start co-creating the company’s strategy map (I recommend it to be a visual, one pager – easy to grasp and understand)
Focus area: when co-creating the strategy map, you need to identify the “to be” picture but also the roadmap to get there. And this will cover the planning of all needed key activities and the agreement of the performance objectives and measurement.
Abilities & behaviors: listening, changing perspectives, facilitating dialogue.
Leader’s main role: gets the “buy-in”, namely the engagement and the commitment of the managerial team.
2. For a successful implementation of the strategy, a continuous dialogue between the leader and the team needs to take place.
Being performant while implementing the strategy means that you need to constantly monitor your strategic goals, the past performance and the forecasted outlook, as well as possible deviations from the target.
Abilities & behaviors: identifying risks and opportunities, focusing on creating chances in the given environment, building consistency.
Leader’s main role: keeps “the eye on the prize” and shares the progress towards the target while ensuring that the managerial team has easy access to information in order to take action in due time.
On top of all of the above, I need to highlight the fact that avoiding biases in evaluating the performance of the strategy implementation is a must. Both the leader and the managerial team need to be open to the idea that achieving good short-term results or even meeting the yearly company budget does not always translate into an effective implementation of the strategy. Keeping an objective stand point on this matter will therefore allow the business to innovate and build the needed foundation for growth.
When building the business strategy for 2022, focus your efforts on planning accordingly to your long-term goals but also make sure to check excellence in execution as one of the mandatory boxes for sustainable performance.