...continued from previous post
"Strategies are approved but poorly communicated. This in
turn, makes the translation of strategy into specific actions and resource
plans all but impossible. Lower levels in the organization don't know what they
need to do, when they need to do it, or what resources will be required to
deliver the performance senior management expects. Consequently, the expected
results never materialize. And because no one is held responsible for the
shortfall, the cycle of underperformance gets repeated, often for many years."1
Let's address the communication problem as it was mentioned
first. When the strategy off-site breaks up, people run for the doors to catch
their planes, cabs, trains, etc. and some unlucky soul who either lives locally
or who is a little slow out of their chair, gets tasked with "consolidating and
documenting the plan."
And where does several days of conversation, debate, wisdom
and guidance provided by the most expensive resources in your enterprise get
captured and distilled? Unfortunately, more times than not the answer is within
an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document. Authored by someone doing the best
they can, but still rushing to get back to their "regular" job.
We're big fans of Excel and Word, so don't get us wrong. But
for their intended purposes; number crunching and word processing. Using these
tools for the purposes of strategy management encourages the filing and
dismissal of this critical information until the end of the quarter arrives, when
people pull them out just long enough to justify why they missed their forgotten
Strategy isn't a once-and-done operation. Targets need to be
rigid, but your supporting actions need to be able to sense and respond to the
current environment. As Mike Tyson is famous for saying, "Yeah, they all got a
plan for how to fight me. Until they get hit!"
Embedding your plan in a static
document almost guarantees that it will be treated as a sometime-thing rather
than an all-the-time thing. Our view is that if you aren't working on something
that is furthering the strategy, exploring emerging opportunities, or listening to customers then you may want to recalibrate.
We'll resist going on a (lengthy) rant here about how this static
document problem multiplies itself as it cascades down each successive layer of
your organization. How every unit develops their own version with their own
required supporting initiatives and actions each abstracted from the abstracted
layer above. Oh, and efficiently rolling-up meaningful activity, relevant
feedback, status and results across the organization? "Forgetaboutit."
...to be continued...