- Start with barriers and issues. Many companies fall into the trap of not addressing the real issues and barriers that are holding you back? As the CEO, it can be difficult at times to really pull out of the weeds and understand barriers to growth and momentum. These may or may not be hidden issues. The team knows about them, but the CEO may not. When working with companies on strategic planning, we dedicate specific time to identify the barriers to performance. We interview team members and ask key questions that pull out those things that are important to them. Your actionable item – Set up interviews with 8-12 team members and ask 3 questions: 1) What are the things that we do really well? 2) What is the one thing that you wish was better or different. 3) What other ideas to you have to help us improve our performance. In this process, you are looking to identify high level trends and not so focused on the individual answers. (Note: If you can use an outside third party for these interviews, your response results will be much better).
- Cleary communicate your winning strategy. How are you going to win? I have asked a number of CEO’s to tell me their winning strategy. A number of CEO’s do not have a defined formula for winning. Their strategic planning is merely roll forward business planning with the identification of a few goals and objectives. Your actionable item: Define how you are going to win, and then communicate your winning strategy. A winning strategy should have these key components: 1) Your future vision, 2) Identified core competencies (your strategic advantage), 3) Your identified ideal customer and markets served, 4) Your winning product strategy.
The solution in many cases is to overhaul internal communications strategies in order to convince employees of the authenticity, importance, and relevance of their company’s purpose and strategic goals. HBR 2011
- Align objectives and OKR’s – Over the last three to four years, teams tell me that there is more and more confusion than ever on the priorities and objectives of the organization. I also hear that the priorities are always shifting. In our planning, we identify those deliberate strategies that will happen no matter what. We then allow and account for those emerging strategies. The best way to align the organization is to ensure your leaders know those one to three areas of focus (see rallying cry below). In addition, the use of OKR’s (Objective Key Results) can be a powerful tool. We will not go into detail on OKR’s, but they are alignment tools used by Google, Intel, LinkedIn, and other leading firms. Your action item: Create laser focused objectives, and through the use of OKR’s, create alignment on those things most important to your credit union.
As written by Patrick Lencioni in his book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars; “Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations.
- Identify your rallying cry – A rallying cry is a single, qualitative goal that is stated unambiguously and will be the primary focus of the leadership team for a specific period of time. For example, your biggest priority starting on 2016 could be to enhance your sales and business development. Imagine your entire team being aligned and understanding the most important objective of your organization. See more on the rallying cry in Patrick Lencioni’s Book: The Advantage. Your action item: Create and communicate your rallying cry.