Business Growth Strategy
The Cadence of Business Execution
Cadence is the rhythm that brings your strategic planning and business execution together
Picture a rowing crew in the Olympic finals with the coxswain calling out the tempo of the rowing strokes. Everyone in the crew is rowing in time and the boat is rapidly slicing through the water. The race winners have a plan. They stay focused on the execution of their race strategy even though they can see their competitors jockeying for position in their peripheral vision. They maintain their synchronous cadence – a fast, even tempo for the duration of the race, even when they are tired and don’t necessarily feel like it.
Just like the rowing crew, effective companies use a disciplined cadence to execute their strategy. The have a rhythm that keeps everyone in their company synchronized and executing the strategy at the optimum pace.
Quarterly Strategic Planning.
Strategic planning should be an ongoing process - not an annual event.
Effective companies have the discipline to stop and debrief their strategic execution every quarter and learn from it. They ask questions like: Did we achieve our targets this quarter? Did we execute our strategic priorities effectively? What did we learn this quarter? What will we start doing? What will we stop doing? What will we do better next quarter?
Then they use a disciplined strategic thinking and decision making process to confirm their key priorities for the coming quarter. This ensures the plan’s relevance with the competitive environment, and re-aligns everyone to the strategy.
Weekly Execution Meetings.
Just as you eat an elephant one bite at a time, strategic execution is accomplished one week at a time. It’s all about the “1 Thing”.
Every person in the company must commit to doing "1 Thing" each week. Not to be confused with their “business as usual” tasks – things which must be done every week anyway – rather it is the "1 Thing" that is going to move their quarterly strategic priorities forward a step. The "1 Thing" they will be held accountable for checking off as “done” by the next weekly execution meeting.
If you hold people strictly accountable for completing their "1 Thing"every week – they start to be very careful about what they promise to do. This is exactly what you want. Your job as a leader becomes much easier when your people get very clear on their number one priority every week – and you can count on them to actually do it.
Good progress should be acknowledged every week with positive praise and recognition.
Lack of progress should be confronted every week. The discipline of holding people accountable every week – drives strategic execution – and very quickly weeds out the poor performers on your team. Performance appraisals are not an annual thing. People should know every week whether they are performing or not.
Do you apply a discipline cadence to the way you set and execute strategy?
Quick test: What is your number one Action Priority this week? Do you know? Do your staff know?
By Stephen Lynch
Image by Christian Ferrari