Strategic goals into actions — 2.03
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I have an exciting topic for today! I’m talking about how strategic goals are put into action. A strategic goal is always a high-quality idea. How are high-quality ideas put into practice?
Strategy: High-quality goals
A strategy is all about the helicopter perspective. One must have one’s head in the clouds but also really long legs – this is my motto. Once the entire strategic thinking has been crystallized onto a single strategy page, the Strategy 1Pager, the strategy must be implemented through these goals. These goals are always high-quality, but the actions themselves happen at the grassroots level. A gap very often forms in-between. How is the gap closed so that the strategy becomes concrete and implements faster? That is worth knowing.
Concrete actions with subgoals
Once the strategic goal is broken down into subgoals, it becomes concrete much more easily. This is why subgoals are needed because they are broken down into actions.
The above structure is needed to implement the strategy. It’s a very simple idea, but the work is very often left undone.
People implementing the actions are sometimes very impatient, they want concreteness immediately. Take your time! The upper-level problem needs to be clarified first, and only then can it be broken down into subgoals and concrete actions. I always tell people that now is the time to look at the company from the CEO’s perspective. One must dare to stay on the upper level for a moment so that it becomes clear. This is how better goals and actions are created.
The entire idea is to find more meaningful actions!
Responsibility is needed, of course. Companies are good at giving responsibility, but it can be, that the correct people to hold the responsibilities are found faster if the strategy is clearly divided into subgoals.
The worst-case scenario is that the link is broken and the strategy remains as a PowerPoint slide presentation, which is looked at once a year. Transparency is the key and a practical way to follow–up on everyone and their work.
A company always has a few crucial key persons, who are always up-front working in ever project. If this happens, no one will have the time to do anything. The strategy won’t become concrete and implement.
Team members who begin implementing and planning the goals become easily overloaded with work. A map of resources needs to be made to see directly how people are distributed between projects. An individual must not be involved in too many projects, only in one or two subgoals. If someone has four projects going on simultaneously, it’s not good. Implementation is delayed!
How is the strategy’s higher goals reached? First, one needs to create a road map by prioritizing subgoals: What should be done first, and what comes after that?
Once the road map has been created with the above method, the outcome is that people begin to implement their purpose. Everyone is so happy!
Roadmap in sprints
A sprint takes place over a week or two. When the road map and goals are implemented in sprints, the first thing is to look at the work pile: What has been achieved during the previous sprint and which tasks are chosen for the next one?
In the image above, the blue squares represent the subgoals and the grey squares represent the tasks. When tasks are chosen only for the next week of the two that make up the full spring, people know pretty well their workload situation and how much work they are able to take on during the next week. That’s when they choose a more realistic amount of tasks to complete. Also, everyone is happier when they don’t need to be stressing about the work pile. There’s no need to carry the weight of the whole pile on one’s shoulders, it’s enough to implement the current goals!
Sprints create time pressure! People know that after a week or two they will be asked if they finished their task. This leads to the fact that people put in the effort to finish the task on time. Instead of creating something extra fine around the task, they focus on the core task.
When working in sprints, projects converge, focus on the core. Traditionally, the schedule has been delayed, when extra-fine things have been added during project meetings. When a project’s schedule won’t yield, people prioritize and focus on the core of the tasks.
To run and lead this whole project one needs a strategy board.
I have noticed that bigger companies require two sorts of boards. One is for the management team, which includes the big choices and goals and how to proceed with them. After breaking down the big goals, the subgoals and the tasks are then put onto another board. When the goals and tasks are weekly followed up through the strategy boards, the strategy implements quickly!
The strategy is implemented
Somehow the logic in this is pretty simple. The magic is in the way one puts this into action, how the structure for the required tools and meeting agendas is built.
After working a long time with strategy implementation, every project has brought new ways in how to make the work transparent more efficiently. That’s how people learn to prioritize better and success will follow.
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