While a company’s executives may be able to clearly articulate corporate strategy, as you move down the traditional hierarchy to those who get the work done, the link between strategy and projects often breaks down. It’s important for organizations to recognize their project-based workers as “double agents” – that is, those who understand and can communicate the strategy, and also ensure that any projects are aligned with the strategy.
By understanding the strategic value project professionals can bring to realizing organizational strategy, companies can stay aligned to their objectives and achieve greater success. The following tips are critical ways for leaders to begin to see the missing links between strategy and execution within their organization.
Opening Up Communication
Being able to communicate clear strategy to your team is critical, as messages can often get lost as a project moves through the ranks. By opening lines of communication with your team, people will feel more invested in the bigger picture as they conduct their day-to-day work, and as a result, strategic goals will have a better chance of being realized by all team members.
Strive for Clarity
At the highest level, it may seem very clear what the goal of certain projects are. However, that clarity can often be lost in translation as projects are passed down to the people who will execute it. Ensure that communication between team members and those in charge is clear and consistent. Executives should check in, both at the outset, and as a project continues, to make sure their vision is understood by team members. Further, successful milestones and achievements should be celebrated regularly.
Executives should seek to create a culture that encourages feedback. Team members should be empowered to ask questions and give feedback if they don’t understand their role in a project, or the project’s role in the larger strategy. Moreover, executives in turn should use concrete metrics to measure success and have a way to speak to project challenges. Seeing how management handles questions or feedback raised by the team facilitates a culture of communication, because workers know their concerns aren’t being ignored.
Adjust the Hierarchy
There are obviously people at different levels working on various projects. However, one way to open up communication around a project is to flatten out the hierarchy. By acting as a team player and communicating in ways that the recipient prefers, hierarchical roles can be broken down so executive sponsors and team members can clarify questions and communicate freely.
Fostering open communication can be the key to successfully completing a project. By empowering team members to engage strategically and giving them the opportunity to provide feedback, organizational culture will gradually shift, allowing people to more effectively achieve strategy execution success.
Strategy Execution is a global leader in organizational training addressing the inherently volatile and complex business environment that now requires a more holistic and adaptive approach to managing projects. We enable people to close the strategy execution gap and drive higher organizational performance by strengthening project leadership skills. By combining the best of cutting-edge university research and proven business techniques, we deliver training designed to increase alignment and engagement across teams, business units, or the entire enterprise. Learn more today at strategyex.com. Join the conversation on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.