To succeed means “to keep going” with the strategy acceleration, to not give up when there are setbacks, and to find energy and motivation to keep improving. If you’ve read this far in our blog series you have the knowledge and tools to truly accelerate your strategy. If you’re already applied the advice, a lot of things have probably happened within your organization. You’ve most likely found new engagement among the teams and the result of the work is might already visible in the “bottom line”. It’s time to shift your focus. Now, it’s important to continue the work and have the strength and stamina to keep going. In this post, we’ll explore what you and your organization need to do to be able to keep going.
Being able to keep going means to continue with all activities, have the stamina to steer and follow up acceleration and stick to the priorities you have agreed on.
The most important things in order to keep going are:
- Continue to reserve time in the schedule. Discipline and focus are key.
- Keep holding the acceleration meetings—15 minutes per week on a fixed day and time. Prepare for the meetings and create good vibes and enthusiasm which contribute to a feeling of a shared will and drive.
- Always measure progress against historical figures. Visualize and define at every meeting how far you have come.
- Continuously remind the team about the set goals and why we are doing this acceleration. Regularly communicate and show how far you have come and celebrate/acknowledge victories and progress along the way.
- Is a team losing motivation or progress is slow? Schedule follow-up meetings as soon as possible. Ask the team what they need to get back on track.
- Make sure you reward the strategy acceleration work in different ways (discussions about career, salary, bonus, commission). Celebrate milestones along the way and highlight progress.
- Make sure strategy acceleration work has a positive “aura” about it.
Managers and management have to show enthusiasm and spread a positive vibe. We promise that it is contagious!
- Reward acceleration and not only things that have already happened (results).
We are convinced and have experienced that hard work and a dose of patience pay off. To have the stamina to keep going with the acceleration is absolutely crucial if you want to succeed.
We have now progressed so that the key activities we decided on in order to reach the most important goals are ongoing. The acceleration of the activities is gaining speed and we are starting to see results. If you haven’t started already, can you see it in front of you?
In our experience companies that manage acceleration methodically and according to plan are the ones that reach their goals. If, on the other hand, you fall back into old patterns and do not give priority to the weekly acceleration meetings — well, then you fail. We have seen companies that have started with strategy acceleration and initially spend a lot of energy on it. When the results start to show they lose focus. They may think that it is enough to have these meetings every three weeks since things are going so well. Don’t do that — the success factor is to keep at it. Both in good times as well as bad.
Think about what we said about behavioral change — these take time to take hold within the organization. It is not a quick fix. Getting away from the whirlwind and continuously freeing up time in the schedule for strategy work can take a long time before it becomes a habit. To create change on a larger scale, it needs to happen on a smaller scale as well. Small, well-structured steps are more efficient than large, not so well-thought-out strides.
What to do when the Most Important Goals are achieved?
When all activities are completed, the result is reached and the most important goals are achieved — can you lean back and take it easy?
That might have been possible if everything around us suddenly stood still and stopped developing. But that is not the case. Change is constant and the need to develop as a company does not stop just because your internal targets are temporarily reached. What we see is that most companies move on after achieving their most important goals. Sometimes it is already decided what the upcoming MIGs (Most Important Goals) should be and the work to achieve these is started.
If you have not decided what they are then it is high time to do this now. Use the exact same method as for the initial MIGS. The same acceleration will occur as before. The amazing thing is that the process for the subsequent MIGs is a lot faster. Now everybody knows what to do. The method is starting to become part of the company’s DNA – “This is how we work”.
The behavioral changes needed to reach the subsequent MIGs happen much faster and there is a positive attitude towards strategy work. The acceleration meetings and follow-up continue as before, with the same intensity and positive attitude.
What some of the Howwe users say
“Finally I feel that as an employee I am participating and contributing to us achieving the strategy. I can see that what I do every week contributes to progress.”
“Nowadays strategy execution does not feel like a separate process. It is part of our daily work.”
“As CEO I can finally see that we are doing the right things to fulfill the stra- tegy. The best thing is that I can follow up on the results every week and quickly see if there are teams that need extra support and coaching.”
Strategy acceleration: Is it a one-time project, a work habit, or a skill?
Companies that decide to work with strategy acceleration at some point start with a clear goal: to achieve a measurable goal within a certain time frame. When the acceleration starts it may feel like it is a project you are managing.
However, most companies continue to work with this method. Companies experience a constant need to work with change in order to create higher profitability, revenue and gain market shares. Since the method becomes integrated into the daily work, it creates an enormous ability within the company to handle the changes that occur. We have seen many companies sticking with the method as a continuous process. It becomes a new way of working within the organization. Since you do the same thing all the time, the process is fine-tuned and gets shorter and shorter. It is not a project with a clear start and end date, but a continuous way of working without an end date.
Doing this creates a very good ability within the company to handle change. Changes do not feel as difficult and the behavioral changes that are needed are not upsetting. Everyone is used to continually adjust and there is a common insight that change is not something that happens from specific efforts within a project.
For the Board and the CEO, there are always at least two important challenges, i.e. a need for the two most important initiatives. Therefore, the proactive way of working will remain, as the companies strive for continuous improvement.
Strategy acceleration and agile working
The companies that succeed in implementing strategy acceleration and manages to keep it going over time, create the ability to handle changes in a natural and efficient way. There is a lot of similarity to agile thinking around change and development. The agile way of thinking has spread outside software development. Business leaders all over the world are looking at the agile world and realizing that this way of working creates a competitive edge. It is said that the road to success is by becoming “business agile”, i.e. that the whole company is driven by the agile way of thinking and agile becomes the overall working method. (Learn more about what an agile way of working and “business agile” mean here).
We have now covered the whole strategy acceleration process. All steps are checked off. We have learned a whole new way of working in order to execute strategies and to keep the work going and on track. We hope that you have become curious and feel an urge to try. We think that the words strategy acceleration by now feels natural and familiar to you (the old way probably feels dusty and outdated). We also hope that you see and feel that this method could help you in an area that many feel is complicated — but that does not have to be.
Continue reading the Strategy Acceleration blog series
This blog series is based on the book “Strategy Acceleration”. It is made for everyone that wants to learn how to execute and to realize your company strategy. It will give you the practical know-how to transform your strategy from words on a piece of paper into real everyday action.