Building Commitment to Strategy Execution

Inspiration for my weekly blog comes from many sources. Now, after more than 300 posts, I’m reaching out to another source … you. Are there topics relevant to developing the right focus, creating the right environment, building the right team, or demonstrating the right commitment, that you’d like me to write about? Forward your topic and it may become the focus of a future blog.
This week’s blog topic was proposed by Bob Sinclair, who chairs round-table groups of CEOs and business owners for TEC Canada. Bob suggested I shine a spotlight on execution, and how to build commitment to strategy execution.
Think of building commitment to your strategy, and the execution of that strategy, as taking place in three stages: before, during and after.

Before – Involvement and Input

The single best way to build commitment to a strategy before you even identify it is through involvement and input. At the front end of the strategic process give your people the opportunity to provide input. Input about various aspects of the company, the culture, and how well it meets customers’ needs. This might be done through anonymous surveys, focus group sessions, interviews, or “town hall meetings”. Thank them for their input and let them know it will be seriously considered when the strategy is developed.

During – Feedback

Not every employee plays a role in developing strategy. Yet you build commitment by presenting the strategy as a draft and then giving employees a forum to provide feedback. When we do this – in an all-employee session we call the “One Team Meeting” – we gain valuable insights, including things we may have overlooked. As a result, we sometimes make changes to the strategy. And if we do, we give the employees credit. We let them know their feedback influenced the final version of the strategy.

After – ARRA

To build commitment to the execution of the strategy we institute monthly “Progress Tracking Meetings” with companies’ Strategic Leadership Teams. At every meeting we apply the “ARRA” process: We record agreed-to action-items (A) of who will do what by when to move the strategy forward. Each person assigned an action item then reports-out (R) on their progress the following month. That person is then recognized (R) for completing their action-item, or held constructively accountable (A) if they don’t complete it. Following this process effectively builds commitment to strategy execution.
To execute strategy requires commitment. Commitment on the part of both you and your people. By taking steps before, during, and after the strategy is developed, you go a long way to building that commitment.
Make it happen.
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