In today’s world, change is constant, at FEFO Consulting we see many successful businesses large and small who are facing intense pressure to be more efficient, innovative, and productive – all while reducing risk and adapting to changing work conditions, client needs and regulatory environments.
Often time is the most valuable commodity. Across the business landscape, agility is becoming more important than rigid standardisation, and the basis of effective strategy is shifting from consistency to adaptability. Recognizing constant change, many organisations are adopting agile ways of working—pioneered by the tech industry—to set priorities, allocate resources, empower teams to make decisions quickly and adapt to the changing needs.
The goal is to achieve what we call fast execution. At its core, fast execution is about minimizing hierarchy, bureaucracy and unleashing the creativity and judgment of the people closest to the work or project and collaborating more effectively. The goal is to use increased autonomy in the team to create an environment where people with differing levels of capability come together to deliver outstanding performance every day—and where learning happens continuously and transparently together.
In a recent FEFO Consulting webinar the level of collaboration to track strategic performance was reported being extremely low.
~10% of participants stated they involved operations in reviewing their Health and Safety strategy at least quarterly.
For more information refer to our recent blog OKR’s vs KPI’s: Measuring Health and Safety Metrics that Matter
Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced moving operational environments, companies enable business support functions like safety, HR, finance, IT and procurement with strategic autonomy before ensuring they have clear methods to track strategy effectiveness in a collaborative way. Autonomy without alignment and collaboration can rapidly lead to chaos.
Agile execution to work, requires an agile strategy and collaborative mindset.
THREE FAST STRATEGY IMPERATIVES FOR LEADERS
To ensure agile teams are aligned on objectives, the Leadership Team must do three things: communicate a consistent purpose, coordinate resources, and design for speed.
- Communicate a consistent purpose. The more complex and fast moving the external environment, the more important it is to align agile teams on a stable overarching purpose or mission. The best mission statements are simple and aspirational. High Performing Support Functions (e.g. Safety, HR, Finance, IT, Procurement) link and communicate how their strategies enable the company’s purpose.
- Coordinate resources. The more complex your organisation and number of stakeholders the more important it is to align resources, ownership, and methods of collaboration to make effective decisions.
- Is your business clear on how your operating model fits the strategy?
- Do you have the right balance of ownership between operations and business support functions?
- Are you bringing the right people and capability together with different perspectives and experiences to share common goals?
An effective approach is to bring strategy and budgeting processes for Support Functions, into a single operating system that encompasses goal setting, strategic planning, resource allocation, and performance management.
For more information Levant Consulting explains RACI, ‘How RACI can be used in an operating model and organisational design’.
- Design for speed. Agile, responsive organisations create an ongoing strategic loop by making deliberate, appropriate changes to communication structures and functional silos. To ensure that communication is two-way rather than just cascading down from the top, such organisations hold regular forums in which agile teams play back their understanding of what their objectives are and how they plan to achieve them. It is important to regularly showcase how objectives are met with key stakeholders, so not only can teams celebrate success, but so there can also be continued leadership support, enabling quick decisions to be made.
In an agile organisation, everyone is expected to exercise judgment, so leaders have an obligation to distill strategy and objectives to their essence—to give teams the freedom to innovate and outsource to experts to operate at speed, e.g., Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
FEFO Consulting was recently engaged by the Ebos Group as an outsourced safety resource to assist with short-term construction contractor management. This allowed Ebos to focus on core business and leverage the expertise and speed of the FEFO Consulting team.
Executing with Excellence
To reap the strategic benefits of speed, organisations need to marry fast strategy to fast execution. Only when equipped with a shared understanding of the organisational landscape and the Leadership Team’s strategic intent will agile teams be in a position to effectively deliver and manage threats and opportunities —over and over again. Without clarity as to strategy, goals, resources, and methods to track performance, autonomy can quickly descend into chaos. In other words, the more alignment, the more autonomy organisations can grant.
In a tempo-driven organisation, everyone’s attention is focused on the strategic objectives and how to achieve them effectively at speed.
If you need some guidance on developing and deploying an effective strategy, contact us today.