Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a great business strategy? What are the secrets to Amazon's, Disney's, and Apple's success?
These 3 brilliant businesses are all examples of strategy that has been developed as a journey, including choices and decisions made over time, that have collectively led those businesses to amazing growth.
Tune in to this talk from Strategy Fest 2022 with Ryan Saundry. He’s a General Manager in charge of Strategy & Value Creation at Asahi Beverages. He has over 10 years of experience in consumer goods, specifically in the beverage industry. During this period, their business was taken over three times so he knows what it takes to lead people through change.
In his talk, Ryan highlights two key learnings based on his personal experiences. He explains how to engage people to drive strategy execution and how to create a strategy revolution in your business.
Keep reading or watch the full video on Youtube:
Learning #1: Motivate your people for the journey ahead
In short, you need to create a really simple and motivational vision for your people.
Ryan loves to refer to The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek. As he explains, it’s a brilliant framework around how to motivate people and inspire them by describing and defining what is the WHY of a business.
The Golden Circle: Framework by Simon Sinek to help you define your business’s vision and why
Tip: Want to do a quick test if your teams actually understand your vision and the WHY behind your strategy? Ask 10 people in your team to write down the vision statement of your company. At worst, they may come up with 10 different answers. That’s a clear symptom of a lack of simplicity and understanding of the vision of a business.
If you look at many of the great examples of super successful companies over the last 10,15 or 20 years, there's one thing they have in common. And that’s a really clear, simple vision their business and people can understand and coalesce behind. According to Ryan, this has become even more important in recent years.
There was an acceleration from the top-down, centralized, push-based leadership, to a more decentralized, empowering form of leadership that seeks to pull and motivate the organization forward.
In his talk, he mentions 4 key differences between push-based and pull-based leadership style:
On top of that, we are challenged by a hybrid world where people work remotely, rarely interact face-to-face, and are decentralized. Continuous and clear communication of your vision to people has become increasingly important.
As Ryan points out, sometimes we also tend to oversimplify the way we communicate and assume that everyone has the same motivation. Different teams, and different business units within your business will require a different method of communication, and language. It’s important to understand that everyone is motivated by different things.
Ryan shares these simple actions you can take to motivate your people:
- Always start by being clear on your vision (the WHY)
- Communicate with clarity and continue to reinforce – with the language you adopt, and the behaviors and wins you celebrate
- Be considerate of the right motivational levers – not every audience is the same
Learning #2: Move away from “annual strategy plan” mindset
As Ryan explains, you need to shift that mindset of strategy being an annual planning process to an ongoing journey and ongoing conversation of your business. This will enable you to constantly adjust, and adapt to the market around you.
However, many companies are still doing it the old-fashioned way. Strategic plans are born in the boardroom. The executive team maps out this beautiful plan for the next 12 months and strategy is soon forgotten like an old book on the shelf. In Ryan’s view, this doesn't give you the responsiveness you need to make a great strategy happen.
We may sound like a broken record, but if anything, the past 2 years exacerbated this fact. Businesses need to be far more adaptable, agile, and resilient to the moving market conditions if they want to survive. And it all starts with your approach to strategy execution.
Here’s what has worked for Ryan and his team when making strategy part of regular conversations:
- Introduce a regular strategy conversation (monthly, quarterly)
- Regularly track your strategic initiatives (a ‘live list’ of the highest priority, highest impact things for your business)
- Develop strong discipline around choices, prioritization & clear decision-making: get comfortable making hard choices
- Be disciplined on the size of your portfolio – you cannot do everything
In short, don't think of strategy as being a once-a-year process where you create a PowerPoint, communicate it, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Ryan points out that you need to create systems where you're constantly having those conversations around strategy. This should be supported by a clear vision that is communicated and is motivational for your people. And you need to constantly revisit how are you delivering against that vision.
By taking into account approaches described above, Ryan ensures this is how you will create a great strategy story in your business. And over time, you'll build the momentum to turn that into a revolution.
So, if you are looking to revolutionize your strategy execution, try Ryan’s approach. You can also start a conversation with him on LinkedIn. In the meantime, if you are looking for a shortcut to boost your strategy execution, use Cascade’s strategy execution platform to create strategic plans and turn them into reality.