No Strategy, No Leadership

Every now and then you get really amazing insights from one of your clients. I’ve recently become friends with one of our newest. Her first contact with us was when she attended my webinar series on strategic execution. She then took advantage of our free trial. Somewhere along the line, she became my connection on LinkedIn, and we had a fascinating exchange there.

She told me about a company she once worked for that was, by far, her worst professional experience. The only way to survive was to follow your assigned processes exactly. And if that process failed, you, the employee, would be held accountable for the failure. The people who put up with this must have felt that they deserved to be abused. All the good people, including my new client, left as soon as they possibly could.

She said that she had always believed that the company’s problem had everything to do with the toxic personalities of the executive team. They were so unfriendly and pompous that they had a separate entrance into their part of the office (what??). The vice-presidents who actually managed the employees lived in fear of them.

Why Capitalism Works

I’ve heard stories like this many, many times. In fact, I strongly believe that the reason people in capitalist economies start so many businesses is because they know they can run a company and achieve strategic execution better than their employers can.

Here’s what she said that gives me confidence she will be a great success: She told me that she realized the problem with the company wasn’t the executives’ personalities.

The problem was their lack of leadership. No one knew what was going on. No one understood the business. No one saw how their job fit the big picture. And no one, obviously, dared to take initiative.

How To Succeed at Strategic Execution

She’s starting her company in a completely different way. She doesn’t have a lot of capital, but she has a great idea. But great ideas are pretty common.

What makes her special is the fact that she is starting with her strategic plan. She realizes that she will be far more likely to make it if every single person she hires knows what that strategy is and can achieve strategic execution. And she knows that the best way to communicate that strategy is to have a concise, complete, and easily shareable strategic plan.

That’s why she attended the webinars. That’s why she now has a fantastic strategic plan. And that’s why she’s going to be an excellent leader.

Communicating Your Strategic Plan

Where the failed company made every employee slavishly follow a process, she is taking a much higher road. She is going to teach every employee her strategy. Everyone will follow the strategy—not because they are slaves to it, but because they are inspired by it.

That’s business leadership that works. Of course, there will still be processes to follow. But the process will be mapped to the strategy.  Employees won’t be judged by how well they obey the rules. They will be judged by how well they execute the strategy. Initiative will always be channeled and intentional because when someone takes initiative, it will be their best effort at strategic execution.

She will always attract the best employees, and they always will want to stay with her, for years, because she will give them the big picture and she will show them how their job contributes to it. People love to work like that.

True Strategic Execution

Study after study proves that the most successful companies—the ones that become leaders, the ones that grow, the ones that thrive, the ones that are happy—execute a clear strategy.

You cannot be one of those companies without a strategic plan. You cannot be one of those companies unless you teach your strategic plan to your team—that’s strategic execution. And you cannot be one of those companies until each person on your team thinks of their job as part of your strategic execution.

Step one is the plan itself. Step two is using that plan to guide every single meeting, every single stand-up, and every single one-on-one.

If you’re engaged in making that happen for your company, then this year will be transformational. If you’re not, start now, because if you’re not a strategic leader, then you are planning to be miserable, and you are planning to fail.

Here’s step one, free for 14 days, and only about $1 a day after that. Map metrics to your strategic objectives, and use it to show everyone how their job is actually a crucial aspect of your strategic execution. Do it now!