Ask every CEO if they want to execute strategy more effectively and the answer is always “Yes!” Next, ask every CEO how to ensure that their strategy is executed well by their people. Now, this question is definitely tougher.
With 20+ years of helping clients execute strategy, we believe the answer lives in key behaviors at three distinct levels in the business – senior leaders, managers, and individual contributors. If each level can consistently model a select set of behaviors, you will execute better and your strategy will have life every day.
So, what are these “magic” behaviors? The behaviors are straightforward and observable. And you can get a sense of how each of the three levels is currently modeling the behaviors using Root Learning’s online diagnostic, Strategy Executions Insights (SEI). The SEI provides a simple and easy way to gather data on how well the behaviors are living in your organization. The diagnostic is confidential and simple to take.
There are approximately 10 behaviors at each of the three levels, and the diagnostic will help you pinpoint the ones that can make the biggest difference in executing strategy more effectively in your organization. The behaviors are derived from our Strategic Engagement Process, based on our experience. We developed the SEI to help our clients identify their specific strengths and opportunities in strategy execution. While all the behaviors are important, we usually find that the top candidates for behavior change are unique to the particular company. For example, the following clients each decided on a different focus area after discussing their SEI results:
Client A – Stronger coordination by Senior Leaders on the overall strategy rather than representing their business line was determined to be a key need holding back effective execution. The SEI was able to draw out for discussion the lack of coordination that managers and senior leaders witnessed at the top of the house. While the CEO sensed that this might have been a problem, the SEI provided new insight to allow a meaningful discussion on this to occur at the senior level and to set in motion a plan and an agreed-upon “contract of behavior” for the senior leaders moving forward.
Client B – Better engagement by Managers in holding constructive group discussions and involving people in team decision making. One of the toughest jobs out there today is in middle management. Managers find themselves struggling to achieve the results that senior leaders want with a group of direct reports they don’t know how to truly engage. The SEI was able to help pinpoint that managers lacked effectiveness in engaging groups in two-way discussions and team decision making. When this is done well, the road bumps of implementing strategy are handled without becoming blocks.
Client C – Individuals weren’t proactively connecting with the data, information, and trends that are important for this client in the marketplace. In this organization, the SEI was able to help identify that individuals had their noses to the grindstone fulfilling their daily tasks, but weren’t staying connected to the broader game for their business. When individuals understand the big picture of their business and how they can personally take action to stay connected and “in the game,” strategy gets the benefit of more mind power and effort to bring it to life.
So, how well are you executing strategy through people? A formal assessment can help you learn the key behaviors that can make a real difference for your organization.