Category Archives: Strategy

Process Equation

The Process Equation: Task – Part 1

While recently working with an incredible start-up, three things occurred to me about this young group of millennials:

  • They are all brilliant and smart – they have “the mind”
  • They are purpose-driven, have passion and focus on stakeholder well being – they have “the heart”
  • They lack process in two critical areas – task and people (the “Process Equation”)

The “Process Equation”, focuses on two critical elements: task and people. It can be developed within your organization.

We recognized that while key business metrics were exploding off the charts, developing a task process would be crucial to sustain the rapid growth and leverage the collective efforts of each leader, manager and employee.

Task Process involves developing these 4 areas:

  1. Prioritizing and focusing the right things – with dozens of priorities and projects and new ones appearing weekly, everything becomes important, creates ambiguity and strains resources.  An organization that is scaling must choose 4 to 5 of the most important priorities it needs accomplish and make them clear to everyone in the company.
  2. Synchronizing and executing – connecting and aligning among members of the leadership team, then through all functional areas of the organization so that everyone is aligned and can describe what is most important to the company this year and this quarter.
  3. Crystal clear metrics – having KPI’s in place and making certain they are understood by all members of the organization.  You must also choose 3 to 4 Critical Numbers (KPI’s on steroids) for the next 90 days.  Everyone in the organization should know how their own tasks and functions impact achieving those Critical Numbers.
  4. Tracking accountability – Individual owners must be identified to be responsible and accountable for project and priority results.  Accountability owners for the top priorities ensure success of priorities and results crossing the finish line.  Owners need to share updates and results of their priority at bi-monthly Executive Team meeting.

No matter how smart your company is or how much heart you have, developing the task and people process is critical for scaling, growing and succeeding.  In my next post, we will explore “The Process Equation: People – Part 2”.

The Value of Involving Your Managers in Creating Your Planning and Execution Strategy

When setting out to develop a strategic plan as part of the annual planning process, it’s crucial for leaders to understand the difference between Strategic Thinking and Execution Planning.

Strategic thinking is done by the leadership team, engaging in discussions defining the companies core ideologies (values and purpose): core customer, brand promise; Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and the 3-5 year targets / winning moves.

Execution planning is about the short-term – what happens within the 12 months, and more specifically, the next quarter (or 13-week period).  This involves creating the quarterly goals (rocks).

While both of these functions must include the organization’s leadership team, outstanding results occur when the next level of managers are brought into the execution planning process.

A recent 2-day Annual Planning offsite proved to create outstanding momentum for one of my clients.  On the first day, the leadership team focused on strategic thinking.  We reviewed the rocks from the previous year and quarter, then developed targets, priorities and critical numbers for the next year and upcoming quarter.

The second day, next level of managers joined the leadership team and developed the details of the 1-year and quarterly priorities.  Blended sub-groups worked at flip charts outlining the detailed tasks that needed to occur over the next 13-weeks.  Cross-functional “Rock Teams” were formed with members from different functional areas joining together to plan out the tasks and activities that needed to occur for each of the four new company rocks that were created for the quarter.

The effect of this effort created five (5) powerful outcomes:

  1. The company developed a strong execution plan for Q1.
  2. The next level of managers felt significant, respected and included.
  3. Some new hi-potential managers stood out to the delight of the leadership team.
  4. Action plans were created for communicating to the next (third) level in the organization.
  5. Accountability and alignment were crystal clear and the company was energized.

Leaders must set the course with strategic thinking, but true wonders occur when their managers are involved in the execution planning process.