How to Improve Strategy Execution
Creating a strategy is challenging, but executing a strategy is even more challenging. An inventive and bold strategy can put you on the way to success, but only copper-bottomed and relentless execution can make you accomplish your strategic goals.
Can you execute your strategy? Can you make your team execute a strategy that you created?
If you want to become a top performer as a leader and make your team deliver on your intent, you need to learn to execute more effectively. Follow these 4 tips and you will find your team executing your strategy more impressively than ever before.
Facts are hard to stomach. According to Harvard Business Review, three out of five companies rate themselves as weak at execution. Most employees think strategic decisions aren’t quickly translated into action. It says a lot about the executive skills of C-Suite. A lot of leaders struggle with execution. Despite having a brilliant strategy, they can’t deliver satisfactory results. This is very common, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you know how to execute your strategy, your team will deliver extraordinary results.
Today we’re going to give you 4 proven practices that will help you deliver extraordinary results.Back to top
1. Focus on the Key Thing
Isn’t it true, the more you have on the plate, the less you can chew? Generally, everybody wants to deliver more results, be more productive, and follow through with more ideas. But our time is limited and we have only 24 hours in a day. It is just impossible to carry out all ideas. Basically, the opposite approach is more effective. When we do less and we are laser-focused, we can accomplish more. You should focus only on the most important ideas and goals. When you make a decision and get onto the project, you need to neglect all other ideas no matter how great they are. Then there is a chance you will execute this project and deliver amazing results. The worst thing is to stop the project when another brilliant idea comes up and start a new project. Then it is highly likely you will finish neither of them. Keeping your focus undistracted and undisturbed is the key to outstanding execution.
Choose One Goal and Ignore the Rest.
As a leader, you are hard-wired to constantly achieve more and more, but in terms of execution focusing on fewer objectives means more end-results. You should always remember that your team can execute only a certain number of projects so your responsibility comes down to deciding on which ideas or goals are worth executing and which ones aren’t.
Instead of working on a big number of goals, it is better to concentrate on one or at the most two significant goals. When you direct your team’s attention to one clear goal, they know what is a top priority and what is less important. Then their effectiveness is much higher than when they have ten or fifteen projects on the plate. Their biggest distractions are the urgencies of daily work life. When you don’t narrow your focus, various distractors take control and stand in the way of your long-term goals. By setting one or two achievable targets for your team, you will highly increase their execution and become much more effective as a company.
According to Stephen R. Covey “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically—to say no to other things.”Back to top
2. Identify the Most Meaningful Actions and Act on Them
When you finally set a goal that is worth achieving, you need to write down all actions necessary to accomplish it. In this initial stage, any idea is good, you don’t need to limit yourself. You can organize a brainstorming session and let your ideas flow. Later when you have a bunch of various actions which will lead to the goal. Now it is time to analyze each action and figure out how important it is in terms of goal attainment and what leverage it provides. By identifying them and acting on them your progress will be much faster. You should choose actions that have the highest impact on your goal achievement. Determining the shortest and most effective path to your goal is an important stage of successful execution.
Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
To determine how effectively your team is accomplishing key business goals, select the key performance indicators (KPIs). By using them, you will measure specific parts of the business and keep track of how well your team is performing. Choosing the right KPIs will help you focus on the critical metrics which play a vital part in overall success. To make educated and data-driven decisions you need proper KPIs which are directly related to your business objectives.
For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, your KPIs will include conversion rate, the number of daily sales, and site traffic. You can measure absolutely everything, however, you should monitor a few key critical indicators. By selecting too many business metrics, you can lose sight of the big picture. Generally, tracking too many KPIs takes your attention, energy, and time, so instead of dozens of metrics, try to identify between three and seven KPIs. Less is more.Back to top
3. Keep a Scoreboard
The key to success in business is an engaged and motivated team. The interdependence between employees’ engagement and the company’s performance is massive. According to a Hay Group study, employees with high engagement bring in 2.5x more revenue for their companies than those with lower levels of involvement. So how can you boost your team’s engagement? You need data and you need to know how to use them to inspire your employees. You can use a scoreboard. According to the Aberdeen Group, this simple tool has a substantial impact on performance. Generally, people who know their score are much more determined to perform better than those who don’t realize how well they are doing. When employees have access to data, they become actively committed to key performance indicators and feel accountable for them. They develop a sense of ownership and take responsibility for results that lead to better overall performance.
By using a scoreboard, your team will keep score and focus on KPIs. Noticing that they are driving the company forward will give them a sense of purpose. People who see that their work influences key metrics such as sales leads, or customer conversion are more focused and engaged. A scoreboard not only affects team unity and passion but also increases employees’ accountability for company results. Your team should regularly write down their results on a simple scoreboard to know immediately if they are winning or losing. It will give them an additional boost of energy, massively drive their performance up, and put them on the gateway to success.Back to top
4. Organize Regular Meetings
Verne Harnish, the author of the book Scaling Up and founder of Growth Institute, emphasizes in one of his articles four types of meetings every organization should regularly have. Their goal is to address communication challenges and facilitate making important decisions for scaling up the organization.
What are the four essential types of meetings?
- The daily huddle – a meeting, designed to last between 5 to 15 minutes, covers tactical issues and provides updates.
- The weekly meeting – a meeting designed to last from 60 to 90 minutes. Its major purpose is to review progress on the quarterly objectives and address one or two primary subjects.
- The monthly management meeting – a meeting which covers half a day or a full day. All senior, middle, and frontline managers take part in it to learn and address one or two big goals.
- The quarterly and annual planning meetings – a meeting which takes place offsite and lasts from 1 to 3 days. All leaders not only set quarterly objectives but also establish and review annual goals.
Effective execution is not possible without regular meetings.
Why should you set up regular meetings?
They provide cohesiveness between team members.
Well-organized team meetings help you make sure that all team members concentrate on the right priorities and relate to company goals and values. Instead of being productivity killers, regular meetings can help your team prioritize their goals, projects, or tasks and eventually get more done.
They help team members do the review of the previous day/week/month/year.
The team usually concentrates on the day-to-day running of the business, but reviewing progress regularly can help you make the most of the data you gathered. When you review key metrics and analyze the data together with your team, you can be sure that all of you are on the same page.
They help exchange feedback about work in progress.
An all-hands-on-deck meeting gives you the chance to get feedback from each member of the team and make the right decisions. When all of you agree on the next steps, you can be sure the whole team is focused on significant priorities and realizes what steps need to be taken to achieve the expected results.
They let people stay updated.
To make staff meetings effective and action-oriented, you need to get all team members on the same page by updating them on what is currently happening at the company. Maybe you are launching a new marketing campaign? Or maybe there is a new hire starting next week? When you keep your team up-to-date, they feel valued and respected, and eventually, they are more productive.
They help you achieve more goals.
Holding regular meetings can help you prevent, identify, and overcome any bottlenecks that arise to keep your company on track. By making your business run smoothly, you can achieve your goals faster and more effectively.
They hold your team accountable.
When you organize regular meetings, your team members are forced to hold each other accountable systematically. The key question is “What is the one important thing you can do in the next week that will have the greatest influence on the scoreboard?” Each member answers this question and commits to deliver the results. Next week everybody reports on results they managed to achieve and how much they contribute to key metrics on the scoreboard.
When your team members make their own commitments, they feel more responsible and more committed to their own ideas. By committing themselves not only to you but to their team members, they perceive their commitments as personal promises what significantly increases their effectiveness and eventually execution.
Even the greatest strategy is worthless if you cannot execute it. According to John Spence, the author, keynote speaker, and university professor at Wharton School of Business, “most organizations only execute about 10-15% of their strategy.” That astonishingly low number shows that a lot of revenues and profits are left on the table. This article can be a wake-up call for you to analyze how effectively you execute your strategy and what you can do to improve that number. The game is worth the candle because consistent and persistent execution may bring amazing results. How do you execute your ideas? Maybe it would be good to set a goal to execute 100% of your strategy?Back to top