In this final article of our strategy workshop series, we look closely at perhaps the most important stage of all – Post Event: the transference of the workshop outputs into usable, ready, business-as-usual processes. Why is this so key? Most business strategies fail because the implementation stage fails – rather than because the strategies themselves were bad in the first place.
At Intrafocus, we have decades of experience in facilitating strategic workshops and we favour the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) method. As part of this, we have found that it is essential to build a strategic review section into monthly business reporting packs after a strategic event. Why? Because it is all too easy for the event’s outcomes to become lost in operational concerns and for even the best strategy to slowly fall by the wayside as day-to-day issues continue to take precedence.
To ensure that the correct level of focus is retained on the strategy and that the new one is correctly implemented and communicated across the business – the monthly addition of something as simple as a Red-Amber-Green (RAG status) section into the monthly business reporting pack is vital. This should include details on the strategic initiatives and their progress, with KPI measures and accompanying narrative.
Making the process easy
We know that it can be time-consuming and complex to manually gather strategic data for monthly reporting into a pack – especially as the nature of strategy means that it is over-arching to the business, requires inputs and updates from all functions and has a long-term view. For this reason, we recommend using an integrated software solution such as QuickScore to assist. QuickScore can pull data from your business systems to extract real-time strategic data and present this into a highly-usable, intuitive dashboard of results. Dashboard widgets are quick to add and change in a simple ‘drag and drop’ format with easy customisation as required and room for added commentary and tailoring. The process of creating management information dashboards becomes quick and easy and data review and interpretation is vastly enhanced by the availability of different charts, graphs, text summaries and graphics to suit different learning and communication styles. Many of our clients complement their ongoing strategic process and workshops with QuickScore software to accelerate their progress and make internal communication easier.
Communication and engagement
The new strategy must not remain the sole preserve of the workshop attendees – it needs to rapidly be shared and cascaded in a planned fashion across the business so that all employees feel bought in and recognise their role in its implementation. The vast majority of corporate strategies will, by their very long-term and fundamental nature, require every individual within the organisation to play a part in delivery. This means that your internal communications resource must be actively involved in crafting strategic messages and a communication plan that is timed, sequential, thorough and which includes a feedback loop.
All employees must understand the new vision, mission and objectives. They must know that their own deliverables will be incorporated into their performance review and linked to any incentive or bonus payments. The communication process must begin at the very top of the organisational hierarchy, with the CEO or equivalent leading the business in the change. Managers must be communicated to initially and separately beforehand so that they understand the messaging, their role in delivery and their responsibilities at a functional level for progressing strategic objectives and initiatives and achieving targets. They must understand the tools that they have available to update their teams and to reward progress towards objectives.
Effective communication and engagement are essential to strategy success – and not just at the beginning of the process. It must continue throughout the strategy’s lifespan, using data outputs generated by QuickScore and given shape by the leaders of your business. Again, this is an area in which the Intrafocus team can offer help, to help ensure that every stage of your strategic development delivers its maximum potential and offers your organisation the full ROI benefits.
Ready to find out more? Read more about how we approach a strategy workshop