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  • Writer's pictureRussell Lookadoo

The HR Guy Answers: Strategic Execution

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

My name is Russell Lookadoo, President and Chief Strategist for HRchitecture. I am the HR guy for small business. My firm exists to leverage my expertise and experience in Human Resources so that the small business owner can achieve their dreams though effective use of their team.

Today I'd like to talk with you about strategic planning. I know, *yawn*, planning is a waste of time when you have so much work to do.

It is said that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. But here's the deal if you were not communicating your top priorities do your employees how do they know to properly make decisions on how to spend their time. I believe that the primary role of a business leader is to communicate what is important and what they expect their team to do. In the absence of setting expectations, it is impossible to give feedback, much less hold people accountable.

I have participated in strategic planning processes for very large Fortune 500 companies and for the last 15 years implemented strategic plans in the small business world. Believe me, working with the small business owners a much more enjoyable role. Over the 15 years I have developed a simplified system that I have implemented with my clients that has been very successful. I have combined the thinking found in the “Four Disciplines of Execution” by Christopher McChesney and Sean Covey along with the thought leadership of Simon Senek in his great work based in his Golden Circle.

Step 1 Define: The strategic planning process that I use with my clients begins with defining your why, how and what.

Beginning with Why as stated by Simon Senek is vital because people do business with those they believe in, not what they do. By the same logic, people will harder for work for you when they believe in why you do what they do. Stating your why is crucial.

The next step is the to move through Senek’s Golden circle and define your how. Your How is your values. How you accomplish your why is more important than what you do. In this process, you list your values, convert the words into action and the actions into descriptions of behaviors so that people can see exactly how your values are in play. The ending statements of how answer the question, what does it look like when I am congruent with the company values.

Next you define your What. What is the outer perimeter in the Golden Circle and it translates into your mission, what do you do to achieve your why using your values. This is your deliverable products or services.

Step 2 Assess: Conduct a SWOT assessment of strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats. This helps you understand what you are dealing with. Strength and weaknesses are things within your control opportunities and threats are things that you can manage or prepare for but not control.

Step 3 Focus: The process uses a three-step process to select ONE thing that is most vital to moving your business to the next level. This one thing becomes a crystal laser focus for the strategic plan you will accomplish. The one thing, called a Wildly Important Goal, in the Four Disciplines of Execution has to Measure where you are (X), where you want to be (Y) by when. A wig is not profit or revenue it is a means to improve your business that will enable you to make more money or more profit

Step 4: Leverage: WIGs are big and often are measured by the past. To accomplish the WIG, you then define the lead measures to leverage the behavior of your employees that predict success and controllable by the employees. By getting proper lead measures in place, your team will begin to understand how they can achieve the WIG. Lead Measure are related to the process you are focusing on.

Step 5: Engage: Create a clear compelling Score board that includes your WIG and lead measures. Engaging scoreboards are crucial. If you look at a tennis court or a basketball court you can tell at a glance if the players are warming up, playing around, or actually engaged in competition, Engagement is what you want your team to be doing, otherwise they may be just goofing off or focusing on the wrong things. The score board must be accurate, timely and visible.

Step 6: Commitment: Commitment is where behaviors change. In the Four Disciplines of Execution the authors call this a cadence of accountability. My clients and I have developed a process called ARCH meetings. These are weekly 10 to 15-minute stand-up meetings focused on the Scoreboard. Team members make commitments in this weekly meeting and are held accountable in the next week’s meeting you. The A in ARCH is holding each other accountable for last week's commitment. R is reporting on the most current scoreboard and where you are on your WIG in your Lead Measures. C is the commitments that are focused on what each person can do to affect the lead measures. The H is what help does the team member need or can offer to others in the team.

Step 7: Recognize: The final step in the strategic execution is to recognize and reward performance. Reinforcing success or being aware of behavior that needs to change is essential to bringing the execution process to completion resulting in you achieving your Why.

Contact me ( and I will work with you to implement this process. I believe aligning your employees with the Wildly Important Goal for your business each year will help you achieve success. After all, is that not why you started your business?!

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