Leaders at companies around the globe, both large and small, are seizing this moment in time to reset their strategy, reinvest in their teams and sharpen communication habits staff-wide.
For example, many organizations are in the midst of making the permanent shift to hybrid work and investing in more effective communication. Clearly defining company culture will be imperative in this new paradigm. While strategizing change is an essential first step, a focus on real action must come next, and, with that, some level of culture transformation must usually occur as well.
I started thinking closely about these themes when we were first building my company back in the summer of 2020, right in the midst of the pandemic when change was happening fast and drastically around the globe. I came across a Linkedin course that caught my attention, “Creating a Culture of Strategy Execution,” led by Mike Figliuolo. The takeaways from this course made me think more about how we employ strategy, culture and execution organically in my business, as well as how we can become more aware of our company’s culture in order to further improve upon how we strategize and execute flawlessly for our clients (one of our core goals).
Identifying And Tackling Execution Challenges
So, you have an idea of where you want your business to go right now. Perhaps your goal is implementing a hybrid work model, or it could be something else entirely. The important thing is to have a plan for execution. Determine your strategic vision, set goals and make sure those goals ladder up to corporate strategy. Use key metrics to gauge success where you can. Review your strategy at least once a year or whenever the market shifts to stay on track.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? It can be, but there are often road bumps along the way. We’ve already established that communication is critical, but it is also important to clearly identify any challenges that might ensue during your journey. During his course, Figliuolo identifies some common tasks that pop up with strategy execution. Here’s my take, along with some tips on how to have the right mindset to address them head-on:
• Implementing new processes requires confidence. In most industries, deadlines are tight and competition is fierce. Extensively test new processes so when your new strategy is implemented, it is tried and ready. This will help give your entire team confidence in the new approach because they’ve seen it in action and that it works.
• Identifying top goals requires prioritization and focus. For example, our primary focus is on our clients and our clients’ projects. We clearly communicate this among our entire team and it keeps us from getting distracted or sidetracked. In a high-performing workplace, it can be tough to decide what to tackle first, and you must prioritize constantly with a key focus in mind.
• Executing any strategy requires investment in your team. Your team is what makes your culture strong and sustainable. Make investments in your team’s knowledge, your workflow and your daily processes so everyone has the tools they need to execute the goals you’ve identified. Involve your HR department to incentivize the completion of initiatives, priorities and goals to help boost buy-in and ensure alignment.
Culture is what drives results.
I believe strongly that a company’s culture is what actually drives results; culture is what fulfills your strategy and enables you to meet the goals you set. In my own company, for example, these goals center on everything from how we treat one another to how we treat our clients. Every day, we work hard on our culture using a few simple approaches, some of which were pinpointed during Figliuolo’s LinkedIn course, that can be applied to any business.
• Transparency: Put your strategic directions out there so everyone feels a part of the mission, drives engagement and sparks new ideas. Transparency drives real results across an organization.
• Communication: Here it is again. The importance of communication cannot be overestimated. When strategy is part of the day-to-day, it becomes conversational and part of the fabric of culture. The more you talk about it, the more accountability grows. This ultimately helps with the all-important execution piece.
• Tools: Take advantage of the amazing innovations that are out there to help keep the information highway flowing in your business. For example, my team uses a project management software to socialize our initiatives, goals and tasks, as well as share information. This helps us create dashboards and workflows to support teamwork, even when team members are on different continents, time zones and work hours.
The business world is transforming—and fast. It requires a close look at the details of how strategy, execution and company culture intersect. While knowledge is nothing without action—as was Hamlet’s big predicament—the challenge for many business leaders centers around the fact that strategy is nothing without execution. And how can you execute? Create an active, dynamic and vibrant culture that fosters strategy.