The 10 Guiding Principles
Making sure that the delivery of your strategy is implemented in the way that you envisioned, is undoubtedly one of the hardest tasks for an executive to contol.
As our core competency, one of the tried and tested tools that we use to bridge the gap between strategy design and strategy delivery is the Brightline Guiding Principles.
Developed by Brightline, a global PMI initiative developed in conjunction with industry experts such as Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Agile Alliance, these principles are basic truths that can be applied to any strategy, and ensure that you stand the best chance of implementing a successful transformation, aligned to the ever changing world around you.
You can download the 10 Guiding Principles here
#1 Acknowledge that strategy delivery is just as important as strategy design
Clearly you need to have a great strategy to survive in the current, ever-changing world, but the ultimately you succeed in the game on the field of play. If you’re unable to turn you strategy design into a way of actually doing business, your strategy will fail. Recognising the importance of strategy delivery is crucial to your future success.
#2 Accept that you’re accountable for delivering the strategy you designed
There’s often a disconnect between the people who design the strategy and the people who implement it. This can lead to unrealistic expectations in terms of feasibility of the design, and implementation of the design. Only by ensuring that people have ‘skin in the game’ and are involved in its design will you drive true accountability.
#3 Dedicate and mobilise the right resources
Implementing a major transformation is a resource consuming business. You need to dedicate the right people, time and money to getting it done well, but you’ve also got to continue to drive your existing operation. Balancing the two effectively requires commitment from the top of the business and across all departments.
#4 Leverage insight on customers and competitors
When implementing your strategy, it can be really easy to focus internally on getting it done. By the time you look up, the customer has evolved or competitors have launched newer, better products or services. You need to constantly assess what you are doing by looking outwards and testing changes that you make to validate and adjust your course.
#5 Be bold, stay focused and keep it as simple as possible
Many a strategy has died because it was too complicated or too broad. Keep your strategy simple, easy to explain so that everybody in the organisation can describe it, and focussed on a few core ideas that can make a real strategic difference. Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do!
#6 Promote team engagement and effective cross-business cooperation
By their very nature, strategic initiatives touch many parts of the business. Silos naturally develop as departments focus on driving repeatable processes to gain efficiencies. Cross-functional change will typically create short term inefficiencies and getting teams to collaborate for the greater good will ensure that your execution remains on track.
#7 Demonstrate bias toward decision-making and own the decisions you make
As a leader, it is crucial to remove roadblocks and bureaucracy to move the strategy forwards at pace. Those closest to the customer will typically have a greater understanding of how to implement the strategy in the best way. Therefore distributing accountability and decision-making to the right levels will help make sure that the strategy is landed quickly and in the right way.
#8 Check ongoing initiatives before committing to new ones
It’s easy to declare victory before an initiative is fully complete and embedded, moving onto the next shiny new project too early. Clear success criteria will help you to assess if the job is done and if you therefore have the capacity to take on new initiatives. Having a holistic view of what you’re doing and the metrics that prove completion will help you to assess your readiness to take the next steps.
#9 Develop robust plans but allow for missteps — fail fast to learn fast
Whilst it is key to plan before setting off, you can guarantee that you will encounter unknowns on the journey, both from internal and external factors. You need to constantly assess how you are doing, if the plan needs to change, if you need to adapt your strategy, or if you need to start again. Learning is a key part of any effective process, so embrace it and make it part of your culture.
#10 Celebrate success and recognize those who have done good work
Whilst the overall strategy is never finished as the world and your business constantly change and evolve, it is vital to celebrate milestones and small victories to show progress, recognise individuals and generate further momentum and goodwill for the journey.