Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HELP! My Strategy is Stuck

I just finished a HR Strategy and Metrics Bootcamp in Washington DC. It was a great experience collaborating with smart, energized HR professionals.

One of my favorite discussions of the 2-day workshop focused on strategy and how to "get it cascaded down to ALL employees."

We discussed the companies that clearly understand the importance of all employees understanding their strategies. Companies like the usual suspects...Apple, Zappo's, Nordstrom's Disney, and the Ritz Carlton. But some others were discussed as well, Chick-Fil-A, Weigman's and the Home Depot. As customers of these companies, you can actually FEEL the connection employees have made to their organization.

The discussion then turned to how strategy gets stuck somewhere between leadership's creation of strategy and the line where strategy is executed. It seems that our middle managers are responsible for the strategy bottleneck. I don't think it's intentional in most cases, but they are busy and they need direction and tools.

We spent some time discussing how HR can assist in this process. Here is what we came up with:

1) HR can assist leadership in keeping the strategy message SIMPLE.

2) HR can lead the strategy mapping exercise so that all FUNCTIONS in the organization understand what they need to do to move the strategy forward.

3) HR can assist leadership in getting the strategy message out to employees in meaningful ways, using multi-media to do so. (or they can hire a great employee communications company like Bernard Hodes)

5) HR can make sure that management tools like performance management, compensation and rewards are aligned to the new strategy.

6) HR can make sure that the strategy has specific goals and objectives and those are trickled down to ALL employees with appropriate accountabilities assigned.

7) HR can also make sure that ALL employees have a "line of sight." In other words, they understand how what they do contributes to the success of the organization.

HR has been wanting to be more strategic. Well here is your chance. Strategy fails because of poor execution. Do something about it!!!

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