Leaders and employees often express dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of their company’s strategic planning process.  Clearly, it’s a problem if there is no strategy, but even when leadership has developed a strategy, too often it’s not properly “activated.”

In order to effectively activate a strategy, at a minimum, don’t overlook these 3 “Must Do’s”:

  1. Conduct internal & external research to help gain confidence. Leaders can be reluctant to set a specific and clear strategy due to a lack of confidence in picking the “right thing to do.” Taking the time to identify the areas where confidence is low and conducting some research that can be summarized and shared with the leadership team can help alleviate stress and gain buy-in.
  2. Engage a cross-section of leaders at all levels – from first-level managers to board members – and across all departments to come together to help clearly define the strategy.  This a) ensures longer and shorter-term perspectives, as well as perspectives from different areas of the business, are considered, and b) helps get broad leadership buy-in, which is critical for fast implementation of innovative ideas developed to address the strategy.
  3. Clearly define your strategy with language that motivates employees to take action, with clarity on A) Why they should go “all in”; B) What you Want and what you Don’t Want; and C) Some starting places for exploration.  Without a clear, motivating request for employees to help implement your strategy, they won’t know what to do and why they should bother.

There is, of course, more to do to realize big results to your strategy, but remembering these 3 Must Do’s will get you started in the right direction. Or check out the Front End Innovation Leadership Workshop where your leadership team will learn how to set up your front end innovation (FEI) system for success – including hands-on collaboration getting started building out strategic directions, desired outcomes, expectations, and reporting.