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Strategy realisation and the golden thread

Author:
Alex Dennison
Director of Enterprise Delivery
Holocentric

LinkedIn Profile

A clear and well-articulated strategy can be a powerful asset to your company, especially if it is actionable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Difficulty in understanding how strategy applies to day-to-day work is common and is often put in the ‘too hard basket’ to solve. Given strategy is such a broad and lofty concept, it isn’t hard to understand why. 

Setting an actionable and clear strategy is key to the long-term success of any company. It sets the tone and direction, outlines where the company is headed and what it is trying to achieve. Quite often though in practice what you will find is an air gap between the strategy and those doing the work. This is not to say your staff do not understand how their work contributes to your company’s success, more it is hard to clearly draw out the ‘golden thread’ from the top-level strategy all the way through each role in the organisation.   

So how can this be rectified? How do you ensure that your strategy is actionable, and a clear ‘golden thread’ can be drawn from top to bottom of your company, where every employee can clearly see how their job function contributes to the strategy, even if only in some small way? 

Defining roles and resposibilities
It’s quite simple really. You need to do one of two things depending on your business maturity. If you are forming the business and defining roles and responsibilities, you need to have the strategy front and centre as you draft your role clarity statements and position descriptions. As you draft the functions of each role, ensure every task or responsibility can be mapped back to the strategy in a tangible way. Work your way through your organisational chart and do this for every role. What you will find at the end of this process is the ability to draw a golden thread from top to bottom and vice versa, highlighting how each position in the business contributes to achieving the overarching company strategy. 

Fit for purpose
If you are an established business with set job functions with role clarity statements and position descriptions, that’s okay. All you need to do is pin up each role in the business in the form of an organsisational chart and work through each role and its associated functions line by line, highlighting the linkages to the overarching strategy. Where they do not exist, you’ll need to make a choice and either consider if your structure and roles are fit for purpose or restructure these roles with clear linkages to the strategy. The result is the same, the ability to map the golden thread. 

None of this is rocket science, but it does take concerted effort and the desire to bring your strategy to life. The benefits to your business cannot be overstated. Not only will it improve the chances of strategy realisation, but overall staff engagement and satisfaction should increase. When staff can see and point to how their work contributes towards achieving the strategy, the company wins, your clients win, and your staff win.  

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