The responsibilities placed on a leader in an organization are many. Their role is vital to the success of the organization and the fulfillment of its aim.
To that end, the goal of a leader is to ensure alignment between business strategy and execution of that strategy; a process referred to as Strategy Deployment.
There are two levels of Strategy Deployment within an organization, which differ in both scope and purpose.
The first level is very broad, and deals with the organization’s vision and business goals at a macro level. This level includes the clarification of the aim of the system, business fundamental strategies and objectives – which all support the organization’s vision and mission.
The second level includes the initiatives, tactics, deliverables, and performance measures which serve to deliver on the organization’s vision.
Executive Leadership and the Aim of the System
The System Aim, answers the question “why do we exist, and for what purpose?” It represents the north star guiding principle of the organization, providing direction to all constituents as they collectively pull in the same direction to fulfill the organization’s vision.
Executive leadership of the organization must clarify this aim of the system for all constituents; both internal and external stakeholders. Every associate must be aware not only of what the organization’s aim is, but also how each of their individual roles assists in achieving that aim.
Without this clarity the organization flounders, potentially confusing customers and associates alike: associates failing to achieve their purpose which drives customer fulfillment and satisfaction, and customers reject the lack of clarity represented by conflicting and silo-based actions, taking their business elsewhere.
The aim of the system is:
- An aspirational statement – Short, and to the point
- Reflects a customer first, zero defect intent
- Engages everyone in the organization in a shared commitment and purpose
It is the responsibility of executive leadership to ensure that every person in the organization understands the system aim, and the role he or she plays in fulfilling the aim.
Deployment Leaders and Business Fundamental Strategies
In the Strategy Deployment process members of the senior leadership team are assigned as Deployment Leaders to shepherd each Business Fundamental Strategy and the objectives to be accomplished. This includes:
- Promoting vertical and cross functional deployment and teamwork
- Developing the improvement (A3) plans for their respective business fundamental strategy encompassing:
- What objectives are to be accomplished
- What initiatives will be essential in order to fulfill those objectives
- What performance measures will be tracked to determine the success of each initiative
- Leading the planning and execution process for their business fundamental strategy to gain commitment
- Tracking progress and surfacing problems for root cause corrective action
- Developing and maintaining the tracking and reporting process for their business fundamental strategy
The Deployment Leader’s stewardship role is essential to ensure Strategy Deployment success. They become active participants in the weekly operational rounding process, related to the performance of the business fundamental strategy for which they have shepherding responsibility.
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Departmental Leaders and Initiatives and Performance Measures
Department leaders own the fulfillment of initiatives in their area of operation, clarifying the tactics and deliverables, and establishing and tracking the related performance measures. They lead the continuous improvement process in their department, utilizing operational A3 tools to plan, assess, adjust processes, and hold gains.
Department leaders consistently interact with the Deployment Leaders to ensure overall organization alignment and performance.
How does the Strategy Deployment process work day-to-day?
Performance measures provide clarify as to where operational efforts need to be focused to fulfill organizational objectives and initiatives. Performance measures are typically multi-functional, crossing over several different departments or units. The process measures help to align these different functional areas around a common goal.
Catchball is a term used to describe the iterative planning and performance management process between Deployment Leaders and Department Leaders. The goal is to always ensure alignment between strategy and operational execution.
As these organization roles and processes are aligned within an effective Strategy Deployment process, executive leaders can be confident that the organizational strategy will be understood, and effectively deployed.