“What indicators will you use to let the team know we are moving closer or further away from our goal?”
In Episode 32, which you can find by clicking here, I talked briefly about the concept of using The Balanced Scorecard to help establish and track your strategic objectives. To answer this week’s question, I want to pick up where that episode left off and talk about how you can communicate your strategic progress to your implementation team.
The first thing you need to do is, of course, make sure that you have developed and communicated a formal strategic plan, just as we’ve talked about many times before in this series. Your strategy needs to have clear and measurable objectives, along with an easy to understand plan of action to achieve those objectives. These items will collectively form the baseline against which you can track your progress.
Next, you have to establish your core strategic implementation team. In effect, your strategy is going to be executed by any number of people throughout your company. But your core implementation team will consist of leadership representatives from each function that will play some role in bringing your strategy to life. This is going to be synonymous with what is commonly referred to as your Product Team – provided that each member of that team knows exactly what role they need to play with respect to the overall strategy for your product business.
By the way, assigning roles to your strategic team is a whole blog post in and of itself, and I hope to get into this subject within the context of future questions (that’s a hint to ask me about it, by the way). But if you are interested in exploring this subject of strategic role alignment in greater depth, I talk about it at length in Chapter 7 of my book, Creative Strategy Generation.
The last thing you need to do in order to keep your team abreast of your strategic progress is to meet with them on a regular basis. Now, I know what you’re thinking – nobody needs another meeting. But in this case, you do.
Typically, I recommend that product managers (who I assume I’m mostly talking to here) meet with their product teams on a monthly basis, at a minimum. During that meeting, one of your main agenda items would be a review of your strategy and an update of your progress against your strategic objectives. Simple.
If you think that meeting on a monthly basis to review your strategy is overkill – think again. Your strategy is always in motion as you execute it in the marketplace. Like a game of chess, only some percentage of what you thought would happen will actually happen. And whenever you need to pivot (and you WILL need to pivot), you’ll need the support of your team to make sure that you’re doing so in a way that is still aligned with your overall objectives.
And, trust me, pivoting with your team is going to be a whole lot easier than trying to pivot alone.
Listen to the podcast episode
Dear Strategy: Episode 041