|The Missing Links to Strategic Implementation|
|Written by Mark Faust - Echelon Management|
|Wednesday, 16 February 2011|
The Missing Links to Strategic Implementation
In regards to growth and strategy, the father of management and strategy, Peter Drucker was wont to say, "Everything must degenerate into work if anything is to happen."
How often have you experienced the "work" of your team's strategies, not coming to fruition, nor having efficacious follow up? Frequently delays occur with great plans, not because of a lack of discipline in the team, but rather because of shortcomings in processes and tools with which your team must work.
Regardless of your size, the devil is in the details of prompt follow-ups, and finding and executing on particular communications. You as a leader need to ensure your team has the best tools and processes available for successful implementation of your strategy.
Is the progress and next steps on your objectives the focus of your progress meetings or is there too much attention spent on the irrelevant details of past activities? Is the focus on the greatest constraining factors slowing progress and then on solutions or is your team focused on proving their value through verbally reporting out past accomplishments?
I have found that better managers tend to have the reporting out of past accomplishments already communicated before monthly progress meetings. They tend to have agenda slots for discussing, brainstorming and deciding on possible solutions to ameliorating the most constraining factor around progress on each of the top objectives. Every process has a top constraining factor, phase or step in its process, you as a manager must continually be looking for those constraints and opening them up.
Apropos to constraints, one of the most frequently noted is the inconsistency in follow up, and time wasted in communications management; i.e., finding and following up upon all of the hundreds of bits of communications that make up our work. It isn't about time management; we all have the same amount of time, its communications and priority management; doing the right things at the right times and having easy access to the communications of such accomplishment.
When you think about the communication venues in your work they will fall into a handful of buckets; meetings, discussions, letters and emails for example. Meetings are usually well documented both in pre and post emails. Discussions are often at risk of not being document and thus not followed up upon, letters have become quite rare, but emails hit us by the hundreds each day.
Now to handle email overload and empower your email client to actually become a part of your strategic execution and review toolset as well as to become a nimble instant recaller of all communication for the ultimate in communication management tools consider these options.
If you aren't nailed down to an email, contact and calendar client, consider the new alternative to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook; GoogleApps. Built in is the best spam filter, I've ever experienced. While not instant, searches for anything are easy, and the cloud-based aspect allows for the both the speed of a synched database on your PC's but also the worldwide accessibility from any web browser. Stability is also exemplary. But like MS Exchange, you'll need help, Google "gappsmasters" and you'll find some good solution providers for this approach.
If you are like 90 plus percent of companies you are on Outlook. This next tool is as valuable if not more so than the Outlook venue itself. The NEO Pro (Nelson Email Organizer Pro) solution at http://www.emailorganizer.com/ is hands down the best communication and priority management tool for making Outlook a solution to implementing strategic growth initiatives with faster follow up and increases in productivity, thus making significant impact on your bottom line.
NEO Pro creates an index of every word in every email allowing for instant searches of any word in every email in a couple of seconds verses the latest Outlooks "improved" search approach that can still take minutes. All individuals with whom you corresponded are given their own folder so like a relational database instant access to every email with any individual can be retrieved with just a few clicks. No need to create organization in your email system, it is already done for you.
A variety of labeling options and alarms allow for emails to be prioritized into a workload and follow up that give you the control of multiple buckets for multiple projects vs. the constricting linear approach of Outlook's layout. Most every client of mine reports saving at least 10 minutes a day and many report an hour a day saved, but more importantly they have greater control over getting more of the right things done at the right time... thus getting their strategy executed upon because these email tools have become de rigor to their white collar toolbox.
Remember, your strategy is worthless if your team can't track and follow up upon communications effectively and efficiently. Strategy must degenerate into work accomplished in a timely and organized manner, these tools can help to make your growth strategy a reality sooner.