Raising Your Company's "Strategic IQ"

 

Understanding Strategy and Your Company Strategy

Once strategic plans are in place, top management needs to ensure that the organization understands it fully  and can apply it to their respective areas.  Actually, prior to this step, the organization needs a working knowledge of what strategy itself is ... how it relates to the marketplace, the competition and your company position. 

A clear, concise communication process should  be constructed that methodically moves through the rationale and content of the strategy providing employees with a conceptual knowledge as well as the ability to apply the strategy to their respective areas of the enterprise.  Absent this step (which may take multiple sessions in multiple formats) there would be a significant drop off in quality of execution.

Strategy Integration

Long term strategy provides context and direction to annual operating plans.  Annual operating plans involve the process of breaking the strategy down into achievable and measureable projects, programs and tasks that support the strategy while paying attention to shorter term goals and objectives. 

Programs requiring longer time horizons (such as product development, channel development, M&A activity, etc.) may require accomplishment of tasks in year one such that the overall program may be launched in year two or three.  The key point, an obvious one, is the alignment of annual plans to longer term plans ... assigning project priorities in line with the accomplishment of longer term goals. 

Embedding Strategy

A critical element in strategy execution is the identification and definition of company initiatives that are directly supportive of the overall strategic position of your company.  Your leadership at all levels needs to fully understand the connection between the initiative and the strategy in order for the initiative to be executed as a priority.  Clear ownership and accountability for the initiative is critical.  The passion to accomplish the initiative is often fueled by its relevance to the company's strategic direction.

Strategic Objective Setting

Objectives set that are directly tied to the strategy ensure that the strategy has been translated into meaningful goals and objectives. In short, strategic objectives.  The benefits derived from the strategic objectives are clear and attainable and the measurements of success are quantifiable. 

Measuring Progress on Strategy

Measurement systems designed to capture progress on strategic objectives, programs and supporting actions often fall outside of our mainstream measurement systems for an enterprise.  Recognizing this potential gap in measurement is another factor that relies on your company's strategic IQ and the realization that new measures should be created that tie directly to strategic objectives.  Ownership and measurement go hand-in-hand to ensure that strategic objectives are maintained as priorities and are accomplished. 

Structuring for Strategy Execution

The overall structure of your  human resources deployed in the execution of the company business plans provides a basis for clear accountability and resultant assignment of work.  With roles and accountabilities clear, decision-making can be timely and concise ---setting  up the organization for success.  Structure should evolve in response to shifts in business strategy in order to ensure that the right resources are aligned and focused on the right tasks.

Creating and developing an excellent long term strategic plan will only be as effective as your organization's understanding and alignment to its core elements.  A huge factor that bears on a successful outcome is your organization's "Strategic IQ".  Making sure this is as high as possible will advance your plans in a powerful and directed manner.