Doug Johnson has a marvelous quote he often shares. “Plans don’t get things done, people get things done.” It is a simple concept, yet is often overlooked. Of course you need a good plan with solid rationale for the strategies you are embarking on – the mechanics of the plan. But you also need to provide a connection between the strategy and the people who bring it to fruition and are a part of its future.
More fully engaging your staff in strategy execution – whether to do the work or simply to be kept in tune with what is happening – has multiple benefits:
- Certainty: It helps create certainty amongst your people, certainty as to the direction the company is moving and an understanding of why leaders are making the decisions they are. There is a need for transparency when building your staff’s confidence in leadership. Communicate your strategy with staff to strengthen certainty and confidence in the direction the organization is headed.
- Contribution: Most staff want to know that the 8-10 hours a day they spend working is having a positive effect on the organization. Each staff member should understand how their work impacts strategy, because at the end of the day most employees truly want to know they have made a difference. Most will work harder for a purpose they understand and buy into.
- Capacity: Studies have shown that most executives have only 20% of their bandwidth to devote to strategy execution or effective change initiatives. The remainder is focused on day-to-day obligations. If only the C-suite or worse, you alone are implementing strategy, you have limited your capacity. As you involve more staff in implementation, you gain some economy of scale adding their 20% productivity to your own.
- Commitment: When accountability for results is established for those doing the work, and your staff understands and has embraced the strategy your organization is implementing, it becomes obvious when leaders are following through on their commitments. Therefore leadership is motivated to both be accountable and communicate the results they are achieving. Staff see that commitment and respond in kind.
Execution on your strategies – whether in a full blown strategic plan or a smaller change initiative – is an integral part of a healthy culture. Employees are watching you as leadership and will follow your lead as to the importance of and commitment to the company’s future. Include, engage and involve your people in your strategic plan or change initiative. You will be rewarded with stronger results and a more resilient culture.