Some of the most brilliant strategies developed are only worth the paper they are printed on if they aren’t executed well, specifically by your front line employees who are interacting with your customers daily. Nowadays, employees are being asked to execute strategies which are unfamiliar to them having been curated by top management.
A study by Robert Kaplan and David Norton shows that 95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand, its strategy.
So how can you help frontline employees understand and drive your company’s strategy?
If employees are involved in the curation of the strategy, then they have already bought into it which allows for a simpler and smoother execution. If this has not been achieved nor is possible, the strategy then needs to be communicated internally across the organisation and all team members. Having your manager/s relay the strategy to their employees creates engagement and allows for the belief of a real, achievable and applicable strategy to the company.
When relaying communications, ensure that your message is two-fold: this is what we are trying to achieve and this is how we will measure its effectiveness.
Leaders and managers can set the vision and targets within the strategy but should never dictate how employees achieve them. Having specificity eliminates their needs to think and diminish their sense of ownership. Considering asking your employees, how can we achieve our objectives? More than likely, this will uncover new approaches to execution which were not apparent to senior managers previously. Remember, the frontline can be a pool of ideas.
You must rely on your company’s values to help drive your employees’ decisions and actions. Multiple execution decisions are being made daily in any given organisation. Having an executive create a strategy that dictates all the decisions is near impossible. Values help guide actions but also help employees make difficult choices, more precisely, when the choice to be made pits the employee, customer and stakeholder interests against each other.
Points to remember:
A great strategy may put your business on the competitive arena but only successful execution will keep you there. Solid execution relies heavily on the people who are accountable for the actions that drive your strategy.
Successful people know that the key to getting things done is to ensure that your team are geared to make your strategy happen. If 80% of your revenue had to come from 3 things you could improve today, what would they be?