If you’re helming a business, you know you have a lofty goal – to bring your strategy to life. And you need your employees on board to make this a reality. And that’s quite a challenge. After all, we are all unique individuals and have our own preferences as to what inspires us best. So how can you figure out if your leadership style is working? How you can figure out just how well you’re setting your business strategy up for success?
Start by asking yourself the following 10 questions.
#1. Is your senior leadership team on the same page?
The senior leaders in your organization must share a consistent view and interpretation of the overarching strategy. If people have different definitions of success and different plans on how to reach their version of the end goal, it’s going to be a long and bumpy road ahead.
#2. Do your employees have a sound understanding of the strategy?
The senior leaders aren’t the only ones who need to have a robust understanding of your strategy. Do you have employees who are on board with what you’re tying to accomplish? Are they capable of helping you get where you need to go?
#3. Are your senior leaders walking the walk and talking the talk?
Upper management sets the tone. Their behaviors and actions will likely be modeled and replicated by the rest of the business—these folks set the tone. Leaders have to model the behavior they want the rest of the company to emulate.
#4. Are leaders committed to doing what is best for the business over what is best for their specific function?
The concept of “owning the whole” is mission critical for any business to succeed and thrive. Are the people at the helm looking out for the big picture before their individual departments or functions?
#5. Do managers have a deep understanding of the strategy and feel confident in sharing the game plan with their teams?
Managers must be equipped to sharing the strategy and communicating each team member’s role in it. Are they prepared for this task?
#6. Are managers focusing on their role as “people leader” and not getting bogged down by their own tasks?
The primary job for managers should be checking in with their team members. People need to be supported each step of the way and be provided with regular feedback. Without ongoing check-ins, there is no way for employees to see how they’re doing and if they’re contributing to the company’s ability to execute on the strategy.
#7. Does your front line understand the marketplace and the strategy?
The people closest to your customers really need a firm grasp on what the playing field looks like and how you’re intending to win.
#8. Can each front line team member see how valuable their role is to the big picture and end goals?
Once people understand how vital their very specific work is, they will work harder because they know they are integral to the whole. Make sure everyone on the front line knows how each customer interaction impacts the bigger picture.
#9. Are opportunities to learn relevant skills available to everyone?
One way to show people that the business cares about them is to provide opportunities to learn and grow, so make sure they have the tools and skills training available to beef up what they bring to the table. Without the right resources and training, they won’t be able to deliver, but the blame will be on you.
#10. Do people understand what success is?
If you have the strategy, and the execution, and the people on board, how will the end of your story go? What does it look like when you win? And have you shown that picture to your people so they can visualize what it is they’re working to help achieve?
Be Real, Be Ready and Work Hard and Execution is Possible If you answered ‘yes’ to most or all of these questions (and their sub-questions), then count yourself lucky, as more often than not, many leaders aren’t as fortunate. Moving a strategy from planning to successful execution is a challenge that many companies struggle. Here’s the good news. These questions can help. But leaders, you must be honest. Hone in on the weak spots and your organization will benefit—and everyone will come out stronger in the end.