‘Vision without execution is Hallucination’
Late last year with a project I had just completed, my client had called me to say they had a major problem with their Monthly Sales figures, that they were down €500k on their targets. With that we arranged a date that I would come in and see what the problem was.
After a little research, the problem became very clear.
Towards the end of the previous year they had sat down with the Senior Directors to develop a strategy for the year coming. Obviously with a growth mindset, they wanted to scale their business so they created forecasts based on the existing years actual figures + 5%.
So where did it go wrong?
In many situations, that would normally be a safe AND conservative bet. They weren’t being overly optimistic and all their previous years had been quite consistent.
However, these were turbulent times and unfortunately creating forecasts was akin to licking your finger and pointing to see which way the wind was blowing.
Also, there were assumptions taken and with that, the forecasts, which subsequently became targets were left to chance.
So how do you ensure that when you develop a strategy you can actually deliver on it, 11 months later?
Enter the 3 Step System to Strategy Success
- Create a Vision
Creating a vision is usually as far as many companies go, however in reality should you truly wish to deliver on that vision, this is only the 1st of 3 a step system. But what is a vision? How far into the future should you be looking? Most people talk about 5 year plans.. however in reality, can you really predict the future in 5 years? These visions need to be realistic and timely, not optimistic and unreachable. When I am working with a client I actually have 2 breakout sessions with them with a least 10 days in between each one. The goal of the 1st session is to walk away with about 7 – 9 possible goals. Then collect data to assess their feasibility before the 2nd session. And the goal of the 2nd session is to narrow these down to 3 at most, and those 3 will be selected based on the data collected over the previous weeks so everything is FACT BASED.
I have developed my own bespoke method of delivering this called the Strategy House of Excellence and what you see is the end result of the process. Please get in touch if you feel this could help you on your journey, however if you have a set process, simply use it!
- Build & Execute A Plan
This is where most visions fall down, either a weak plan or none at all. As stated above, a lot of companies will base their activities on what they always do and expect to get the same results. And yes, that can get you so far, however this should be A PRECISION ACTIVITY. Fail to plan, plan to fail and I can’t stress the importance of breaking this down like you would a detailed project plan. I’m not going to tell you how to manage planning, however with everything, there always is a risk involved. You are Speer heading your business to new heights, transforming the business into something that it hasn’t been or achieved to date. You are going to be doing new things, entering the Stretch Zone of your capabilities, investing time, energy, resources, money and with all that there will be risk.
Therefore, creating a good understanding of all the possible pitfalls and developing plans to either prevent the risk from happening or mitigating it as much as possible. This is an important exercise to conduct before any strategy is deployed. AND also on a regular basis as new potential risks crop up, due to unforeseen circumstances etc, which will happen.
It’s nearly always impossible to cover everything, so constant review is essential and in fact not that difficult, it’s about keeping on top of everything and is a fundamental aspect of any Project Management Process, and if it’s important in Projects, its even more essential in a Strategy Deployment Process.. For example,
- Will there be changes in the market place
- In sector regulation
- New products from competitors
- Internal Staff changes
- Do you have the right people to implement?
So how do you build a plan?
As with projects, projects need REGULAR REVIEWS. So going back to the example at the beginning, it’s not just about setting targets at the end of the year and then leaving things to chance.
And the best way to predict the future is to create it!
Don’t leave your strategy to chance, measure on a regular / weekly basis to assess your adherence to the targets and if you are not achieving what you need to be, like a Captain of a ship would do to get back on course, adjust the sails. Keeping managing and closing the gap between where you are and where you need to be. This is the discipline of business and success. There is nothing complicated or intricate about it, it’s just persistence and discipline.
- Once you build your vision, it needs to be brought down to mini goals.
- Then those goals need to be broken down to Projects
- Those projects need to be broken down into Activities
- And those activities need to be executed by People
and that brings me on to step 3
3. Bring your Team with you
What I am about to say maybe slightly controversial, as most strategies are created by an Executive Board. However, and it’s a big however, who in reality will be executing the Vision? That’s right the people on the ground in your business. So in order for your vision to ACTUALLY be successful, wouldn’t you agree that it’s important for your team to believe in that same Vision? As if they don’t, they may not give 100% during the execution phase.
So how do you ensure they are motivated, like you are, to achieve your business Visions?
Simply put, bring them into the process at the very beginning, let them have their input and make sure they feel important and necessary for it’s success. There is nothing more motivating for a person in their role as to when they are made felt instrumental in a major business process. And the more the feel they are contributing to the process, the more motivated they are to make it happen and make it successful. And should you wish to learn more about building Winning Teams click here
I can’t stress the importance of bringing your team in from the beginning. Can you bring everyone in? probably not, however remember, Visions need Strategies, Strategies need Projects, Projects NEED PEOPLE. So who are the people you believe will be instrumental in managing and executing the plans you are going to create..? They are the people you want involved from the beginning. Remember this is a team effort all the way through..