Digital strategy execution – what do you want to accomplish in the next 90 days?
To succeed in making the execution of strategy in this fast paced digital age, you need to have the mindset, methodologies and tools to enable you to develop, communicate, implement and adapt your strategy, and deliver results rapidly. Spoiler alert – we are not talking about more PowerPoints or Town Halls. Detecon and Workboard have developed a digital solution which helps your organization to a) execute faster b) ensure everyone is rapidly aligned c) make contributions transparent so everyone sees the impact of their work and d) implement a structured quarterly process to precisely define organizational goals.
Why is strategic development, communication and execution the least digital organizational process?
In the traditional strategy cycle–, the first step to develop a strategy typically involves CEOs spending significant amounts of time setting their strategic direction. This approach, if not out of date by the time the annual strategic cycle session has finished, results in a ‘set and forget’ result where less than 7% of people in an organization understand their company’s strategy. Ultimately, the strategy is documented and communicated through PowerPoint, emails and Town Halls. However, these don’t create more strategic agility – they don’t motivate employees to understand what is expected of their team, what they need to change, and what success looks like.
In addition, traditional performance management systems do not deliver the strategic performance improvement required. Management By Objectives (MBOs) encourage employees to deliver consistent Business As Usual performance, reward consistency, efficiency and exploitation and actively inhibit the creation of a risk taking culture which fosters innovation and exploration. Secondly, success is driven through team work, not individual performance, and while staff want to go above and beyond to ensure that their organization is moving forward, they are often unable to achieve alignment vertically and horizontally within the organization, making removing the necessary roadblocks extremely challenging. Finally, transformational shifts don’t happen overnight, they require consistent and persistent work by staff to enable them to deliver strategic success. However, often staff are consumed by day-to-day fire-drills, which make focusing on strategic endeavors impossible.
What do great strategies look like?
If you are like most companies, your strategy involves data, digital and agility. However, the implementation is often far from that. It is time to rethink this – making it complementary with the strategic intent of the organization. Specifically, implementing strategy should focus on:
- Digital in nature: Focused on digital opportunities and implemented using the latest tech which enables people to update, track and share their progress with their peers
- Data driven: Data should inform every decision that an organization makes. When certain goals are not on track, people should be able to easily identify this and rally to remove the roadblock
- Agile: The strategy of an organization can rapidly change and so should your implementation. Setting “strategy sprints” for your organization are critical to driving your strategy forward.
Developing the strategic mindset
Great strategies unite through mindset, transparency, engagement and delivery and there are three founding elements which are crucial for any leader to consider when implementing a target orientated approach to strategic execution. Firstly, the leader must be able to unite the organization with a growth mindset where the organization aspires to greatness. A growth mindset is a specific mindset which focuses the organization on the best possible outcome. The best possible outcome is what the team determines as the definition of success. Secondly, the strategy must be transparent and provide clarity and transparency on everyone’s goals. In short, relying on hope and luck is not going to be enough. Everyone needs to be able to see how they contribute to the strategic goals of the company. Finally, great business leaders engage the organization so that everyone supports the delivery of results quickly. While taking time to plan is valuable, the true value comes from the results delivered when the plan has been implemented.
OKR – the strategic methodology for success
However, mindsets are not something which can be developed overnight, they require a methodology to drive adoption and an application to ensure that progress can be viewed by all. The Objectives and Key Results Methodology is a methodology developed by Intel and popularized by Google which focuses the organization on greatness – driving the organization towards its objectives. Essentially the methodology focuses on describing success through the use of Objectives (single sentence qualitative and aspirational statements), and then developing the set of Key Results (the important quantitative metrics) which measure progress towards those objectives for a team. The process starts at the top of the organization with the Executive Team defining their OKRs and then each team underneath defines their OKRs to align up with the team above them, with the process continuing as you move down the organization. The process recommences every 90 days with review and reset sessions, where the organization reviews their progress against each OKR and then updates their OKRs for the next quarter. This enables the company to measure continuous progress towards their objectives over 90 day increments as well as its ability to drive the implementation of the growth mindset.
Making it digital
The final lever to strategic success is the use of technology to underpin the mindset and the methodology – digital strategies should be implemented digitally. The technology, coupled with appropriate workshops, should facilitate the development and communication the organization’s strategy. The tool should then help the organization drive the implementation of the strategy through visualizing the progress, highlighting success and flagging the potential roadblocks. Additionally, the tool should integrate with the organization’s digital ecosystem, helping manage work, meetings and tasks.
Detecon and Workboard
Detecon and Workboard have partnered to provide a solution which improves the strategic success of our clients, enabling them to fully leverage the power of OKRs. Specifically, Workboard has developed an app which enables you to visualization the implementation of your strategy. Detecon’s clients can take advantage of the Workboard platform which tracks the implementation of an existing strategy that has been designed internally or with the help of Detecon, measuring the results of the strategy. Detecon provides workshops and mentoring to ensure that the strategy is correctly reflected inside the app at all levels of the organization and the results are delivered. Detecon can also assist the organization with broader strategic issues as necessary. This enables you to come out of the magical dark ages and ensure strategic alignment across organization divisions and levels, tracking each and every team’s goals, identifying areas of overlap, and encouraging collaboration, all in real time. Coupling this solution with expert-led OKR workshops enables the you to deliver rapid improvement in results in 90 days.
The only question remains…
 Harvard Business School Press, “The Strategy Focused Organization”