The Strategic Execution Program:
How to Drive Results Quickly at Scale
The complete Designed to Scale Coaching Program consists of three levels. Strategic Execution is Level 3.
The Big Picture for Strategic Execution
Two primary channels are used to drive strategic execution through the Evolving Structure we designed at the previous level. One is the Ultimate Leadership Team Process and the second is Cascading Objectives. Organizational Health Metrics act as a bridge between these two channels:
Ultimate Leadership Team Process
It is difficult to explain the Ultimate Leadership Team Process (ULTP). It’s somewhat like other agile meeting formats you’ve experienced, but with some unique differences. Getting a full understanding of it requires a few weeks of personal experience. Regardless, it is the most important process in your business to drive strategic execution. The new structure forms the team. Each team member represents one or more roles in the structure. Included is Leadership Team Meetings management software that supports the process. This meeting is facilitated (we train your facilitators) and it is where we implement and energize the new structure and much more.
Using the Evolving Structure, we identify the initial leadership team members based on their roles in the new structure rather than their titles or reporting lines. I train one to two in-house facilitators, who can be other leadership team members themselves or others whom you identify. I will train you and the facilitators on how to run the process and use the included Leadership Team management software. The meetings are recorded over several weeks, and I provide analysis and coaching to you and the facilitators so that the meeting format comes alive quickly and powerfully. The team’s clarity, teamwork, and momentum toward the strategy will improve in three to six weeks, and it should grow even stronger over the following quarters.
Cascading Objectives ties together the company’s top-level strategic objectives and annual goals with bottom-up quarterly objectives and key results (OKRs). Using included OKR management software, this is how you drive alignment deep into the organization. Using an OKR planning cycle of three to six months is recommended, but you can set it as you like. According to my philosophy, every objective and key result should support an Annual Goal, which supports a Strategic Imperative. With some practice, the broader team can learn to do effective bottoms-up planning that stays aligned with overall strategy. How can this be? Strategic Imperatives and Annual Goals (i.e., the top-level strategy) were already created in the previous Top-Level OKRs module.
Your coach will train you and your Leadership Team facilitators how to use the OKR management software and to run an effective OKR planning cycle with the broader team. We believe strongly in conducting OKR retrospectives and we have a way to conduct those that builds learning and development and improved performance over time. OKR retrospective training is included in your coaching program, even if the OKR retrospective takes place a quarter or more later. Basically, we coach you and your facilitators in this OKR process until the team is self-proficient and seeing results.
Organizational Health Metrics
Organizational Health Metrics is a dashboard customized for your organization’s lifecycle stage and strategy. Health metrics are exactly what they sound like. These metrics reflect the organization’s health across key business areas, including growth, operations, finance, talent, culture, and innovation. If you already have a BI dashboard (Tableau, Microsoft BI, etc.), you will use it. Or, start with our simple dashboard tool if you don’t already have one and expand from there. During each weekly Leadership Team meeting, health metrics are monitored to identify hot items and opportunities, and the trends that we uncover influence the next OKR planning cycle in Cascading Objectives, thus bridging strategic execution and organizational development.
Some of our clients have very advanced health dashboards that they feel confident using. In almost all cases, we can give some insight on what to add or remove. So we’d still like to review it. Here, “remove” is a crucial concept. Our goal is to create a top-level dashboard for the CEO that reflects what the CEO wants their Leadership Team to focus on, rather than departmental dashboards that track granular metrics. It tends to be true that we get more of whatever we measure.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. Isn’t this approach “shipping the org chart?”
The Evolving Structure is the linchpin that drives the short- and medium-range tactics of the leadership team and objectives and key results programs, so it might seem as if I am setting you up for a don’t “ship your org chart” trap. Is this true? The answer is that yes, I am setting you up to ship your internal environment. This can’t be helped and is why you must be ever-freaking-mindful that your organizational structure is designed to delight customers and drive the strategy forward, now and over time and why you don’t make all products and business units the same way!!! Read Designed to Scale if you don’t understand these concepts yet.
To recap, what we’re trying to do in this program is to guide you to first align on the right, lifecycle-stage dependent strategy (Level 1); then build your structure from the ground up to support that strategy (Level 2); and now at Level 3, drive strategic execution across the customer journey, the product development journey, and the employee journey. The org chart is shipped, as negative and cliché as that might sound, because in reality all products are products of culture, structure, process, and people. So make sure that you’re not shipping a flawed one.
#2. What is your Leadership Team and Cascading Objectives software?
This software was designed in Coda because Coda allows for advanced tools and features to support this program and that integrate with your existing IT infrastructure (Microsoft, Slack Google, whatever). Coda also allows for endless customization that you can do on your own. We’re constantly evolving these tools and features. I think you’ll like them. They definitely make the job of facilitating and tracking your Leadership Team and OKR sessions much easier for your facilitators (who we train).
#3. We want to use our existing software and tools, yes?
You can use whatever tools you like. I don’t care. What we really care about is teaching principles. To clarify, I are expecting that you use your existing business intelligence and dashboard visualization tools. However, I have put a lot of investment into the Leadership Team and OKR management software running in Coda. These integrate seamlessly into your existing IT environment. You’ll probably really want to use them, but you don’t have to.
#4. What if we can’t accomplish everything in one quarter?
The OKR retrospective is usually a holdover from the initial program, since we don’t want to conduct the retro until at least a quarter after we start our OKR planning. As part of the initial program, I coach you and your facilitators on how to conduct an effective retro when the time comes. There is, however, a more important point to emphasize. The focus is not on the 12-week program, but on hitting the objectives no matter what. We may need to take more time if your company is large and complex. Or, if we need to extend because of holidays, scheduling, unforeseen circumstances, or whatever, then we extend a bit. It’s no problem. Hit. The. Objectives. That’s what matters.
#5. Will you help us roll the new structure out?
Yes. We train and coach you to roll the new structure out in a way that limits disruption and accelerates momentum. If you need assistance in implementing the new structure rollout with the broader team (i.e., communicating changes directly to your Leadership Team), that is out of scope for this program. This requires an in-person Strategic Alignment and Organization Design workshop. During a discovery call, we can discuss your specific needs.
How to Apply
In order for us to work together, your business should be of a size and complexity that warrants an expert coach to guide you. Typically this is $30M+ in ARR and a leadership team of 7+. Before you apply to this program, you’ll want to have already read or listened to the book Designed to Scale. Then schedule a consultation or learn more about the overall coaching program.