Making a List…Checking it Twice

It is the season for lists. Shopping lists, gift lists, to do lists, lists of goals and resolutions for the New Year and maybe even a “naughty or nice” list too! With that in mind, I thought I would add one more log on the fire and provide a set of guidelines to achieve a successful strategy development and execution in 2017.

Here are a few things to ask yourself as you finalize your organization’s strategic intentions.

Is our strategy so full of compromises that are intended to appease everyone that the result is a watered down and un-focused strategy?

  • Are we being reactive based on what the competition is doing versus leveraging our strengths and sources of competitive advantage?
  • Is our messaging around the strategy full of jargon and boastful statements that provide little direction, clarity and guidance for our employees?
  • Have we confused aspirations and outcomes for objectives and strategies?
  • Are we helping our people deal with the ambiguity of an uncertain marketplace?

Successfully Execute Strategies with a “Story”

If you answer the questions above honestly, you will be well on your way to enjoying successful strategy development and execution. But, a good strategy needs to be communicated to your people effectively. In fact, how good you are at communicating your strategy – ensuring people understand it and feel inspired to help carry it out – will directly impact how successful it is. So before you stand up to present or hit “send” on that all company email, make sure the “story” of your strategy does the following:

  • Moves the rhetoric beyond generic statements of intent and provides the organization with an elevating purpose they can rally behind and get inspired by.
  • Establishes a direction…but maintains the fluidity necessary to evolve the goals based on the emergent realities of the marketplace.
  • Starts with a clear identification and definition of the problems or challenges you are looking to address.
  • Defines how the business will leverage its strengths to attack the challenges and opportunities to succeed.
  • Provides clear guidance on where the various initiatives and activities fall on the spectrum between centralized and de-centralized. Often this is based on the complexity and severity of the challenge or obstacle the organization is looking to address and remove. The more complex or challenging – the more cohesion, focus and integration is necessary.
  • Delivers a clear and unambiguous view on what teams and individuals need to do differently to support the strategy.
  • The message around the strategy highlights how the strategic direction builds upon “the culture of competence”(skills and capabilities) that has been honed and nurtured to support the growth of the organization.

Develop Strategies with Shared Meaning in 2017

If you can build a solid strategy based on your specific business goals and are able to communicate it in a way that moves the organization from common words to shared meaning, you’ll find yourself surrounded by engaged people who want to work together to bring your vision to fruition – making your goal of successful strategy development and execution a reality.

Do you have another tip for strategy success in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

December 8, 2016


Heck, yeah! I want to hear how you can help my organization achieve our goals. Call me, today.

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