Three Cs of Implementing Strategy
Strategy falls at the top of most organizational leaders' priorities. But how does one implement strategy in the most effective way? No matter how excellent your plans are, if they are not executed correctly, it could lead to disaster. For simplicity and success, begin by focusing on the three Cs of implementing strategy: clarity, communication, and cascade.
Each of these three Cs actually roll into the next. Clarity works to define communication, communication is essential for effectively cascading your strategy, and the cascading will help increase the clarity of the project. Following? Let’s break it down.
Craft your strategy with every player in mind. From the boardroom to production, from sales to customer service, make the roles of every individual involved in the new strategy clear and concise. Make sure everyone understands the changes.
There are a number of ways to do this.
- Define every player’s role. Having clearly written roles allows managers and workers to review their responsibilities as needed. Make everyone’s roles available to the team so there is no breakdown in knowing who is responsible for what.
- Provide immediate feedback, allowing team players to make necessary adjustments as they go. Don’t let mistakes fester. Avoiding difficult conversations will create confusion and stall progress.
- Encourage questions.
- Avoid “corporate speak.”
When communicating, speak to the majority, not the boardroom. Communicate clearly. This takes us to the second C.
Speaking plainly is important in the implementation of any strategy. If those you are leading don’t understand what you are asking of them, you will have failed before you ever began. It is important to know who you are speaking to and then to speak their language. Industry terms go far in the boardroom and even with fellow managers, but you distance yourself from the everyday worker and the customers they interact with directly.
Sit down and have conversations with everyone involved. Outline the goals and the purpose of implementing this new strategy. Encourage questions and feedback in order to clarify any steps that are not understood. Effective communication must occur in both directions.
Don’t worry about over-communicating. You can’t. Put the message on posters, in emails, and on the blog. Make it impossible for someone to say, “I just didn’t know.” Every individual has a responsibility, make sure they know what it is and how to get it done. When you set everyone up for success, you’ll reap the benefits as well. Become the boss they need to thrive!
You will need to determine how much of the implementation belongs in each part of your organization. If you are blessed with additional management, bring them into this conversation. This will further communicate a sense of ownership in the successful implementation.
If everyone in your organization is working toward the same goals, then divide responsibilities evenly. For instance, if you own a small storefront and are looking to raise your sales by 5% over the course of one month, then every employee will be responsible for raising their personal sales by 5%. The responsibility does not fall on one individual but evenly throughout the store.
However, if your goal is to raise sales by 5% but your organization is larger than one storefront, then the responsibilities may be distributed differently. For example, the marketing team will need to come up with new catchy ads to bring in more foot traffic while production will need to increase their workload to anticipate demand.
Employee engagement can be significantly improved when linking cascading goals to employee improvement management. By placing the goals in your employees’ performance reviews, the employee will be able to identify more clearly the company’s focus, how his or her work contributes to the organization’s overall success, and how the team impacts the bottom line.
During team and one-on-one meetings, check-in to make sure you have communicated the cascading strategy clearly at every level. By using these three Cs, you’ll be on your way to implementing a strategy that works!