For senior leaders, a big part of their job centers around executing their company’s strategy and bringing their company’s vision to life. But what happens when leaders over-complicate their understanding of a strategy? For instance, it’s easy to get bogged down with “detailed spreadsheets that project costs and revenue quite far into the future,” says leadership speaker, consultant, and author, Scott Edinger. Perhaps that approach is missing the mark.
In his work, Scott is no stranger to helping senior leaders articulate and execute their corporate vision and strategy. Companies like Lenovo and AT&T, among others, hire him to work with their company’s leadership to achieve measurable results. Scott recently shared some of his best advice when he sat down with The Speakers Group’s founder, Shawn Ellis, on an episode of The Better Life/Better Business Podcast.
Here are his three simple steps to make your strategy a success:
1. Define what a strategy is (and is not).
Neil Rackham, one of Scott’s mentors, once said that “If words could sue for defamation of character, strategy would be first in the courtroom,” because “it has so many different meanings to different people.”
To clarify, Scott is quick to point out what strategy is not, stating “I’ve seen leaders–very senior leaders–talk about their strategy and pull out slide decks of 200 slides. That’s not a strategy.”
Scott’s leadership philosophy is all about simplicity, and recognizing that strategy relies on having a very concrete, “clear objective” of what the company is going to do. Your strategy should make clear “the scope of that objective and that company’s advantage in achieving those objectives.”
2) Explain your strategy.
Effective leadership, Scott explains, is “a means to an end.” If you are seeking to improve morale, increase productivity, attract and retain top talent and improve revenue growth, then you need to clearly define your expectations and your vision as a leader.
When it comes to your strategy, you need to be clear about its objective, scope and potential benefits to your company. This is not the place for lengthy boardroom table discussions and financial documents.
Instead, you should be able to explain your strategy in a very short timeframe (under two minutes). “If you can’t do it as the leader,” Scott said, “then the odds that your people being able to execute that strategy are slim to none.”
For Scott, the ability to succinctly articulate that strategy is incredibly important in terms of making sure your team is on board and can see how their work fits into this vision.
3) Execute your strategy.
Obviously, no strategy can succeed without execution.
When it comes to executing your strategy, you need to be able to paint a clear picture of where your organization is headed and describe a clear path to getting there. Scott recommends that, rather than relying on “neat and tidy” boardroom projections, leaders should have a “very clear implementation plan [and] be able to very quickly articulate…the critical issues we’re going to address.”
Leaders should also communicate the initiatives that they are committed to funding organization-wide in order to see the strategy through.
By following this three-pronged approach, you can make make your strategy a success in 2016 and keep your resources allocated to the truly valuable activities, avoiding the common resource black holes.
Want more help from Scott Edinger? Hire him to speak at your company’s next meeting, conference, or leadership retreat.