Execute strategy and drive change provide focus for results

Welcome to the clutter of everyday work. Surrounded by all of those things craving your attention. Constantly battling for your most precious resource – time.

Managers and co-workers alike have the responsibility to execute desired strategy and drive the changes this requires in their businesses. Ensuring daily business while creating the future one. Accountability for this being found at different levels to different extent.

Managers and co-workers alike have the responsibility to execute desired strategy and drive the changes this requires in their businesses.

How can they be supported doing this, how can they be helped to focus on the right results at the right time? There’s a lot of great change management research and managerial theory on how to do this and without picking or excluding any particular one it all comes down to:

  • Communicate a clear end state
    Know where you want to be and when
  • Ensure a sense of urgency for getting there
    Instil a want and need
  • Drive and support desired actions to get there
    Help people through the entire process
  • Follow up and measure progress so you know if you’re getting there
    Know how it’s going and adjust when needed

Executing strategy and driving change is people business and the people need to be supported by adequate tools. Tools being everything from clear expectations and mandates to relevant skills and support to use them all. And maybe most of all; a way to share lessons identified and to learn from each other. Help people focus.

Executing strategy and driving change is people business and the people need to be supported by adequate tools.

The initiative

Let’s look at a real life example from Promote Partner Mindset AB in Sweden. A municipal energy company wanting to strengthen their customer orientated way of working and while doing this ensuring a “one-company-identity”.

After agreeing on “let’s do this” and defining the end state the first step was sitting down and agreeing on and ensuring how to enable the above requirements.

The solution

First it was decided to involve all the managers and all the co-workers without exception. It didn’t matter where in the organization you worked, you were part of the culture and a part of the overall stakeholder map to ensure goal fulfilment. Then the rest fell into placewith the following guidelines:

  • Let managers be managers. Every manager from CEO down to the latest hire in first line management was both responsible and accountable to execute defined actions. Every manager had a personal account in Promote.
  • Follow established line management. No unique organizational set up. First line manger reports to middle manager who reports to business area manager who reports to the CEO. Taking advantage of Promote’s ability to allow participants to be both participant and coach in the same solution created an exact organizational reporting structure.
  • Define report formats. Based on goals and objectives a special report format was established.
    Result reports were sent to own manager only. This enabling a detailed and frank business results reporting. Using the coach functionality in Promote this drove the entire solution in one place ensuring relevant information for the relevant recipients.
  • Work towards a learning organization. Lessons identified and learned were shared for everyone to see and take learning from. This enabling internal stakeholder understanding and shared learning. Public reporting on Promote spread the learning and created many rewarding on- and offline discussions and a library of learning. Everyone saw all of this.
  • Make it action orientated. Manager-led workshops formed the backbone of the solution. Every manager held workshops on the same theme with their submanagers and co-workers within a coordinated time period. The CEO with the senior management team, business area managers with their middle managers who did it with their first line managers who finally did it with their co-workers. Every member of staff took part together with their respective manager. Five one day face-to-face sessions were planned to support them doing this, a half day for lessons learned from what’s been done and half a day preparing them for the next round.

Every member of staff took part together with their respective manager.

  • Create an iterative process. Planning is everything, the plan is nothing. With a clearly defined end state and the major steps in place it was allowed and actually encouraged to get smarter along the way. Continuous follow-up meetings between the senior management team and Mindset ensured a valid and near future design of the solution. Promote’s drag and drop functionality enabled assignments to be adjusted, changed and/or added to.
  • Ensure change and avoid a quick fix. The solution was designed to play out over 8 months with a dedicated face-to-face session for each of the five defined steps. Using Promote in chronological mode created a business almanac based solution with the current assignments always on the start page whenever participants logged in.
  • Create one voice. A “day one, day two” approach. On day one the senior management team went through exactly what was planned for the rest of the managers on day two. This ensured alignment and last minute refinements to content and actions needed. Promote was adjusted accordingly every evening on day one.
  • Ensure daily business. Using Promote as the solution support system, the number of days away from business could be kept to a minimum and daily business integrated into the solution.
  • Make it visible. Promote clearly showed who did what and who didn’t, this creating a sense of urgency in itself and a clear measurement of application.
  • Support, support, support, application and learning! Thanks to Promote all the participants had the job aids, guiding documents, e-learnings, each other’s experiences etc. at their fingertips whenever they might need it.
  • Follow up and evaluate. Level 1 and 2 evaluations at every face-to-face session complemented by Promote’s visual representation of level 3 followed up by a participant subjective level 4 indicators evaluation ensured both relevant in-solution adjustments, extra drive and support efforts where needed and an honest and transparent sign-off between the client and Mindset at the closing of the initiative.

Some stats for you number crunchers out there

The initiative was run over 8 months with 41 managers as participants in Promote having in total 37 preparation and on the job assignments each. The total completion rate of these was 92% and they shared 1094 visible-to-all lessons learned comments and sent 428 private business reports to their managers for review, all on Promote.

The only time away from production for “training” was 5 one day face-to-face sessions capturing lessons learned and preparing for the next phase.

The business plan, organizational strategy documents, e-learnings, workshop agendas and numerous additional resources created along the way were available on Promote for everyone involved to read, reflect and seek support from.

Now we’re just waiting for the employee engagement and client satisfaction survey results to come in. And after that, bottom line correlation anyone?

Then it’s time to analyze, plan and follow up with another initiative, provide more focus to execute strategy and drive change.

How would you do it?