This article is the second half of a preview of an upcoming webinar in which I will be discussing how to flawlessly execute your IT strategy. I’d love your feedback on the article and, if you find it interesting, please see the special offers at the end.
My previous article, Flawless Execution – What Good is a Strategy Without it?, discussed the preparation required to execute your strategy. We explored the five obstacles to flawless execution that I see most frequently:
- Action Plans
- Shiny Object Syndrome
- Culture and Talent
While last week’s article focused on preparation, today we focus on communication. And when we do both of those right, we move on to celebration – but I’ll spare you from that write-up because I have the feeling you all know how to celebrate.
Communicating Your Strategy
Let’s look at some best practices to align your entire IT organization with your strategy.
Are you scratching your head wondering why your team wouldn’t be aligned? That one “All Hands” meeting where you highlighted a few key points doesn't cut it. The research says that we have to communicate something seven times, in seven different ways, before our audience hears it.
A Bain study told us that 95% of employees in large companies don’t even know what the company strategy is. Does your team understand the IT strategy? If I sat down with every member of your organization, would they know the IT strategy and what role they play in carrying it out?
We’re really talking about great communication to align your team and drive flawless execution of your strategy.
Think about the WIIFMs (what’s in it for me) that will engage your team and overcome the cynicism of the past. Remember that people are most engaged when they clearly understand their role in the big picture – how they, personally, will contribute to the organization’s success. When you communicate this way, you will drive greater ownership and generate excitement.
Rowing the Boat in the Same Direction
Strategy must be translated to metrics and action plans, and every initiative must be resourced. So, you did all that. Did you remember to communicate across your organization?
If you use strategy maps, goal maps and a balanced scorecard, then you have the key pieces of information in an almost-presentable format.
Take the time to build a slide deck that you can present to every member of your team, no matter how large or geographically dispersed. And reuse those slides throughout the year to communicate progress and changes.
Share your mission, vision and values. Explain who your IT client is and how IT delivers differentiated value. Then show your strategy and goals. Oh, and do these rather quickly because, to most of the team, that’s all going to be management speak.
The magic happens when you transition from strategy to action plans. Describe the key initiatives or projects that are going to be executed in the next one to three years to deliver on the IT and business vision. What business value are we driving? How are we driving revenue, orchestrating a new customer experience, and enabling our company as a disrupter? When you communicate this information, people start relating. They can see the tactics and intuitively understand how they, as individuals, fit in.
But there’s still one key communication element to go. Once people see the strategy and action plans, your IT leadership team should be able to cascade performance objectives down to every member of IT. Managers need to show their staff what projects each of them is working on and how success will be measured.
This small investment of time and energy to communicate, communicate, communicate will deliver a priceless result – a fully aligned IT organization.
Your team should, at that point, understand their journey up the IT Maturity Curve. They will all be rowing the boat in the same direction. That alignment will not only deliver obvious efficiency, but it will dramatically increase the odds that you flawlessly execute your strategy.
Aligned teams simply execute better. And alignment is achieved through communication.
By communicating your strategy, you’re developing organizational understanding and providing insight that helps build your team’s business acumen and strategic focus. In other words, you’re unleashing the power of IT by developing the human side of technology and changing the conversation about IT strategy, culture and talent.
Two Opportunities to Learn More
Offer #1: See how you can drive flawless execution of your strategy. Follow this link to register for the March 14 webinar and use discount code ARTICLE to waive the fee.
Offer #2: Be one of the first 15 people to call O&A at (603) 623-7373 or email Tracy Dinu at TDinu@Ouellette-online.com and choose either an O&A review of your strategy or a 60-minute call with Larry to discuss how you are going to flawlessly execute your strategy in 2017! These are complimentary but limited to the first 15 respondents.
About Larry Wolff
Larry Wolff is President and Chief Operating Officer of Ouellette & Associates (O&A). He served in several CIO roles, as SVP of Corporate Strategy Management, and as a trusted advisor to Boards, CEOs and CIOs. Larry specializes in technology led business transformation and corporate and IT strategy management.
O&A Unleashes the Power of IT by Developing the Human Side of Technology and Changing the Conversation About IT Strategy, Culture and Talent. Strategy, flawless execution, innovation and a service culture are fundamental requirements of every IT organization today. We prepare each member of the IT team to take their game to the next level, to move IT up the maturity curve to become the Strategic Partner and Innovative Anticipator TM that drives the business.