The 6 Keys to Successful Strategy Execution

Hello Lean People, this is Cedro Toro with KPI Fire and today, we’re going to do a video on The 6 Keys to Successful Strategy Execution.

What is Strategy Execution? It’s very simple. Phase One of a strategy is to build and define what your strategy is, what do you want to accomplish.

And those goals across most companies are very similar: you want to grow your topline revenue, you want to increase your IBITA, you want to increase market share, you want to improve operations.

So regardless of the strategic plan, the goal setting piece in a lot of companies is fairly straight forward.

Now, the next part is the hard part: How do you actually execute your strategy and do that successfully?

What do I mean by success?

Well, if you set five goals for your executive team for the year, all five of those goals get completed, and on time. That’s critical.

Now, it’s important that you also set measurable goals. I’ve done another video where you talk about your mission statement, and I’m a big believer in making your mission statements a little more tangible and less vague so that there’s something you can actually accomplish.

That cascades down to what we’re going to talk about today which is how do we make sure that strategy is executed across every department and team in the entire company?

So, let’s get to it.

The first key to strategy execution is Alignment. How do we get alignment? Well, what we do is get everyone in the team, or at least the leaders, involved in the strategy.

So instead of doing a pure top-down, where the executive team dictates what the strategy for the company will be, we leave a little bit of room. So, if there’s room for, say, five big initiatives this year, the executive team can check off three of those, but we allow room for middle managers and teams to come up with ideas and fill in the blanks of what they would like to accomplish this year, and what they see as the problems or the opportunities in the business.

So by doing this, we get a combination of top-down, and bottom-up.

What tool do we need to get alignment through our company? Well the tool for this is what we call Catch Ball.

Now what does Catch Ball mean? It’s this simple: You take a ball, which is your strategic objective that you want to accomplish as the Executive, the CEO, the COO, and then you go down to your next manager, your VP level or Director level and you say, “Hey, this is what we want to accomplish, what can your team do to contribute to that?”

So you throw the ball over there, and they say, “Hey, I think I can contribute to that 10 million dollar goal by giving you 5 million dollars in savings from my team’s continuous improvement work.

And they throw the ball back to me. And we negotiate. And I say, “You know what, that 5-million-dollar savings sounds a little low, especially since you did 5 million last year. I think you could do 7 million this year.”

And I throw the ball back. And the negotiation continues until finally we come to an agreement as to what that goal should be.

The difference here is instead of me dictating what my team should do, they’re participating in the process. And when we land on a number that we’re going to hit for the year, we’re both bought in, we both believe we can hit the number.

We know it’s going to be hard, we know it’s going to be hard, but we’re both going to hit it.

And that’s going to lead into one of our other keys which is going the support. And we’ll talk about that in just a bit.

Let’s move on to the next one. The next key is Clarity.

So, how do we get clarity on what we’re supposed to do?

A lot of times companies set goals that are ambiguous. And we want to improve our customer support, or we want to increase our ability to deliver products and services. Those are great things to have at the highest level of your mission, vision, values; but when it comes to your annual strategy, you need to have something much more tangible.

So the way we’re going to get this is we’re going to have people take those goals and we’re going to break them down into smaller sub-goals, and then we’re going to break those smaller, sub-goals down into projects, or specific bodies of work that people are going to complete, assign actions, individuals, give them due dates, and get things done.

You’ll recognize this from the KPI Fire software system where we set goals as dark blue and we set projects as orange.

And the way this works is as a team I have clarity that if I get these three projects done, it’s going to help me achieve my short term goal, which is going to help the company achieve the bigger goal that we both worked on at the beginning of the year.

That alignment of goals gives complete clarity to how every team member and leader contributes to the overall strategy.

So what tools can we use to get this done?

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