No leader can implement a strategy by themselves. You need supporters to make it happen. You need a movement, a critical mass of people who will champion the change on the frontline. We use a mobilisation process that is broken into 6 stages.
Here are the last 3 stages:
4/ Building Commitment
Some leaders don’t understand the importance of engaging with their strategic population, and as a consequence, they fail to garner support and end up with their strategy sidelined.
I define a strategic population as the group of people critical in breaking the current paradigm and allowing the change to happen. Conversely, if they are not engaged and mobilised, they can block the change required.
These are the people who will have a high impact on the success of your strategy. This population can be at any level and across any function in the organisation. The strategic population will change over time as you move from the status quo ‘As-Is’to the desired future state ‘To-Be’.
You can build commitment by identifying who your strategic population is and involving them as early as possible in the strategy development. Doing this will maximise the chances of implementing a winning strategy.
We use the KUBA process to initiate change and help people get on board.
KNOW: People need to KNOW what they are supposed to do, what you are trying to achieve, what they need to do and what’s in it for them.
UNDERSTAND: Make sure people UNDERSTAND what you expect from them.
BELIEVE: Help them BELIEVE they can do it and that their input is important.
ACT: Only when you have these in place will people take ACTION! Now your strategic population will be proactive, engaged, collaborative, and willing to provide the discretionary effort needed to get change happening.
5/ Stay on Track
How to Keep your Strategy Implementation from Derailing
It’s easy to set and forget a strategy. Monitoring financial results is not always an adequate indicator of the success of your strategy implementation. This is a lag performance indicator that doesn’t measure the effectiveness of a strategy. Many other factors impact financial results, like a competitor going out of business or changes in government regulations.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” – Lord Kelvin
You need to understand how things are tracking and be alert to factors that may derail the strategy and impact the change. Establish formal and informal monitoring of progress and the key measures of success up front.
Stay abreast of how people feel, paying particular attention to your strategic population. Keep checking the temperature – this isn’t just about performance management but learning and supporting. Everybody’s on the same train; everyone’s going through the change, and everyone will respond differently.
Consider measurement as setting up an early warning system. Just like radar, invented to provide an early warning to fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain, so they could get into the sky and be waiting for the enemy before they arrived. Forewarned is forearmed!
6/ Manage the Squeaky Wheels
Don’t let them side-track you!
Ever wondered where the term ‘squeaky wheel’ comes from? It refers to horse and buggy days when wagon wheels needed to be greased so they would turn more smoothly. If they weren’t, they would start to squeak or squeal = annoying!!
Similarly, squawking or complaining people tend to get more attention than the non-complainers. They are like a squeaky wheel! They get the “grease,” i.e., attention.
When mobilising people within your business to implement the strategy, it is critical to deal with the ‘squeaky wheels’ as soon as possible.
It’s best to have a clear understanding of what their objections and barriers are and find out what is required to motivate people to change their behaviours. Find a benefit to them and get them onside to become an ally, or better still, a cheerleader who helps bring your strategy to fruition.
Three key questions to ask:
- Do they understand why change is necessary?
- Do they know what their role will be?
- Do they have the capability to carry the role out?
Some will refuse to change behaviours or support the strategy despite your best attempts to address their concerns and get them on board. Tackling this head-on and upfront as you develop the strategy provides the opportunity to either help them adjust or make it clear they may need to look for a job elsewhere.
You can’t afford to continue down the road with squeaky wheels; they cause wear and tear on the rest of the vehicle and slow the journey down.