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StrategyOct 30, 2019

5 Things All Strategy Executives Should Be Thinking About

Sarah Bruner

The best leaders know they don’t know it all.

Finding ways to learn from executives who have faced similar challenges is crucial for arming yourself for the unknown. And it’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s why we created the Strategic Forum Program. These groups bring together executives from across industries to learn from each other in an environment built on deep relationships and shared challenges.

Our executive strategy group gathers leaders from a wide variety of industries to share their experiences around common challenges. During the last 18 months we’ve talked through a variety of topics from leading teams to when to communicate your strategy (hint—it’s often).

Here are five topics and strategic questions that led to compelling and beneficial discussions:

1. Avoiding the Magnetic Pull of Strategic Drift

Developing, prioritizing, and aligning with a corporate or business unit strategy is only part of the work to achieve success. Strategic drift often starts to creep in after just a few weeks. It can leave the executive team far off course or in disagreement about how to implement and measure the strategy.

One effective way of increasing the likelihood of strategic success is through measuring, monitoring, and meeting.

Question: How can strategy executives implement the structure needed to help their companies meet their strategic goals?

2. The Art of Sticking to a Daunting Strategy

Sometimes an executive team is aligned on the same strategic direction and know how to get there but are terrified of the disruption that is a part of the journey. Finding the right incentives, communication strategies, and general grit to move forward with a difficult strategy can be tougher than expected.

Question: With CEO tenure around five years on average and organizations incentivizing growth, how do leadership teams make the choice to stick to a difficult but necessary strategy?

3. How to Prioritize and Wind Down Projects

Many well-intentioned organizations struggle with prioritizing projects to align with the organization’s strategy. Strategic analysis is key to finding the right places to invest. A Credera whitepaper shares a simple framework to help find the best next project.

Question: Once an organization finds the right projects, how does it stop or wind down projects that are no longer successful, do not align with current business objectives, or are a drain on necessary resources?

4. Effectively Communicating Your Strategy

Communicating an organization’s strategy is necessary to gain alignment and grow. However, a study of 20 corporations conducted by Timothy Devinney and his University of Technology Sydney colleagues found only 29% of employees were able to choose their company’s publicly articulated strategy from a list of six choices. Clearly there is a disconnect between the ideas that are being communicated and what employees are absorbing.

Increasing an organization’s understanding of strategy is important to promoting buy-in from employees and external stakeholders.

Question: As leaders, how do you grow employees’ and external stakeholders’ understanding of strategy?

5. A Day in the Life of a Strategy Executive

Strategy can hold many different roles depending on the organization. This role can change based on leadership, company growth, and a variety of other factors. In a Harvard Business Review article, the authors outline several key functions that a strategy office will serve: align the organization, review strategy, develop strategy, communicate strategy, manage strategic initiatives, and integrate strategic priorities.

Finding the best way to organize structure and assign responsibilities around strategy is necessary for a high-functioning business.

Question: How does your organization manage priorities and functions to drive strategy forward?

what about your strategy?

Thinking through these topics can help you grow as a strategy executive. Try analyzing your own organization through these lenses to see how you can drive growth.

Sharing experiences in a trust-based, non-selling environment without fees or sponsors is the key to this group’s success. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out Sarah Bruner at sbruner@credera.com.

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