operations strategy

Make sure you execute your strategy

I am sure you’ve experienced it too: it is that time of the year, and during that meeting where everybody is invited, beautiful slides are presented with the new vision and the even newer strategy; it looks great, but you hear that voice in your head: “it’ll never happen”. Or what’s even worse, you look around and you know everybody else is thinking exactly the same.

There’s nothing that affects engagement so negatively as listening, again, to your CEO talking about all the wonderful things that will happen, and constantly failing to execute. You know the drill: misalignment between teams, constantly reinventing the wheel, motivation loss, chaos, hopelessness, … We really need to stop it.

This is a task for the Operations people out there. You are the ones responsible for executing the strategy, so make sure you do it!

There are many theories, frameworks and tools which will help you execute your strategy successfully, but everything will fail if the strategy is bad and/or unclear.

Before you start

A good strategy should provide the map and the tools for everybody in the company to achieve the desired goals. Every decision and priority should be guided by it. It should be clear, simple, understood and supported by everybody.

Step 1 – Make sure the strategy defined explains clearly how the organization will achieve its vision (what you are going to do and what you are not going to do to get there).

It may be not you who is defining it, but you should definitely be the one asking the tough questions to make sure the strategy is clear.

Step 2 – Communication is key. Share your strategy, ask for feedback and refine.

Then go!

Once the strategy is clear and communicated, it is time for execution.

One of my favourite ways to approach strategy execution is via OKRs. It has really helped me streamline the efforts of everybody towards the same goal. I can guarantee you that they’ll provide clarity and will start nice heated conversations within and across teams.

There are many books and blogs about OKRs out there, and tons of experts who will give you the most amazing advice. Take some time and do your research.

These are my learnings from my experience with them, I hope it helps you.

  • Start simple but across all organization
  • Trust the teams to define their OKRs, and support them along the way
  • Make objectives inspirational and memorable (everybody should know the top ones by heart)
  • Take your time to think about what you will use to measure key results
  • Set up check-in points
  • Team OKRs are great for focus and shared accountability
  • Spend time talking about them. Make sure MT and the leadership team do
  • Find your sponsors in the teams
  • OKRs are not KPIs to calculate people bonuses or measure people performance, do not mix them up
  • Don’t use OKRs for your business as usual. Use them for change!
  • Don’t create 1 million. Not everything you do is an OKR
  • Don’t give up after the 1st attempt. Observe, learn and repeat

Good luck!