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  • Writer's pictureKaitlin Henze

Can continuous strategy iteration enhance your culture?

Team leaders often find themselves feeling torn between focusing on building their culture and achieving their strategic goals. It can seem impossible to focus on both at the same time because the traditional strategies to goal achievement and teambuilding are contradictory.

Traditional Goal Achievement mentality...

  • Laser focus on work

  • Success measured by $ metrics

  • Ruthless prioritization

  • Busier/more work = more successful

  • High performance measured by output

Traditional "Teambuilding" mentality..

  • It takes away from productivity, but we have to do it

  • All fun and games

  • Totally separate from work

  • Cheesy icebreakers and group activities unrelated to our jobs

  • It's supposed to increase engagement, but does it really?

As new generations enter the workforce, expectations for work to be fun, challenging, and meaningful are becoming more important. If your team is curious to learn a new way to increase your productivity while helping team members find purpose, innovation, and collaboration at work, consider a Continuous Strategy Iteration Approach.

To illustrate how this works and the benefits, here is a success story from one of my clients...

This growing start up business has a small team of about 20 employees. The Company was wildly successful in it's first few years operating, resulting in the need to hire more team members to support the rapid growth. The co-founders were responsible for setting the Company's strategic plan each year and communicated this to the team so they could form individual performance goals.

The strategic goals looked like this:

  1. Increase revenue by 25% year over year

  2. Close 5 contracts each month

  3. Upsell 10% of current clients each quarter

While these goals certainly contributed to helping the Company remain profitable, they were not motivating to team members who had little impact on whether or not these metrics were achieved. Additionally, each team member's performance evaluation was based on their ability to hit their individual goals, which encouraged working in silos rather than collaborating.

The culture lacked trust, effective communication, and cohesion. People rarely asked questions, shared new ideas, or helped each other on projects.

Through our partnership, I encouraged this team to intentionally make shifts towards Continuous Strategy Iteration by making three initial changes to their strategy development process.

  1. Involve the team in creating the annual strategic goals. Each team member provided their perspective on the Company's priorities and were invited into the strategy development workshop that I facilitated.

  2. Broaden their strategic goals to have 1 in each of the 3 Ps: People, Process, Profit

  3. Align sub team initiatives (projects) to the 3 strategic goals and encourage teams to work together and share progress.

These three simple changes made an incredible difference for their culture and also for their success as a business. It took a few months to see the impact, and overtime employees shared that the following observations...

  • People are speaking up in meetings

  • We all know how our role aligns to our 3 strategic priorities

  • Having a specific people goal as part of our strategy helps us build our culture

  • We feel less burnt out because we are able to prioritize the work that matters.

  • Our sales actually increased because we narrowed our focus.

As time goes on, I will continue to introduce this team to more strategies to fully embrace continuous strategy iteration, and I am excited to see them become even more successful as a business and become a place where top talent thrives!

Is your process for strategy development feel cumbersome, daunting, and disengaging?

If so, I encourage you to weave continuous strategy iteration into your strategy development process. Check out the strategy development toolkit and partner with me to learn simple ways to shift from annual strategic planning to continuous strategy iteration!

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