It is not enough to have a strategy. To keep your company competitive, you have to guide, manage, coach and carefully watch over the strategic implementation progress. All employees have to be involved, engaged and true to the company’s long-term goals. A strategy engine secures the realisation of your strategy.
Vision and dialogue
All too often, strategies end up as a tool for only a few people in the management team. If the strategy is to be effective, it must be translated in a way that involves and engages the whole company and its employees. A vision is needed, a clear and down to earth vision, crafted in such a way that everyone can find themselves in it. A story of a better future that everyone can stand behind – workers, managers, suppliers, customers and owners. From that story, strategic focuses can be decided upon, that are easy to understand and prioritise. The strategy story is enriched and comes alive with news from the market, news about what competitors are doing as well as new demands from customers. We call that story the “Strategic Reasoning”.
This provides the foundation for a Strategic Dialogue. When management tells the strategy story, input from employees is also secured, from wherever they are in the organisation. Discussions, questions and answers are all important tools to establish the strategy as something understood and meaningful. As an added benefit, management gets access to wise advice and new perspectives that can make the strategy even better.
A structure for change
Too often, change work is only something focused on during a few weeks, before the pressure of ongoing operative duties takes over. To have a sustainable strategy work, a robust work structure is needed to secure continuity and high priority. By setting aside time for biannual seminars and regular meetings, the strategic dialogue is kept alive, action plans are renewed and the strategy materializes step-by-step.
If a company were a machine it would be very easy to manage. We just pull the right leavers, push the right buttons, put some oil in the machinery and replace some malfunctioned parts. Efficiency will be solid and predicable.
But companies are not machines but complex living systems, where individual and group performance vary immensely. Hard to grasp, networks of technical, social and cultural elements are interacting and influencing what is accomplished. A well formulated strategy is simply not enough. Each leader has to make sure everybody understands, owns and take on responsibility for the strategy. Talk
This is why we always make sure every team and every manager are supported by a coach. Initially by an external professional coach. But, strategy work is demanding and needs long term support and coaching. To secure this all managers are trained in the art of peer-to-peer coaching to help them act as sounding boards for each other. To monitor and support the strategy work managers and coaches get together at a regular Strategy Support Meeting, where they discuss strategic progress and business performance, as well as cultural challenges that must be addressed.
To summarise, the Strategy Engine mobilises employee’s passion, energy and stamina to help the company better meet a world of high complexity and rapid change.