Developing People to Execute Strategy


execstrat4First, let’s assume that the strategy developed is aligned with the market, and is aligned with the organization’s culture.  Second, let’s assume that leaders have effectively communicated the strategy and have prioritized realistic workloads for their employees. Third, let’s assume that leaders are authentic and transparent in their communication so that people know how they need to perform, develop, and grow.  I realize this is making a lot of assumptions, but the absence of any of these assumptions will cause a strategy to fail.

Now let’s consider the individuals who will actually execute the strategy. In many organizations, people are not as involved in making the tough decisions for developing the strategic plan as they would like to be.  This can make it difficult for them to engage in executing the strategy. Their acceptance or resistance of the strategy will impact their commitment.  Coaching them to accept the strategy rather than resist it is the leader’s challenge.  Below are some coaching questions for motivating people to embrace the strategy:

1.   What about the strategy will work?

  • Mindset Shift:  Coach employees to accept “what is” about the strategy without judging it negatively, wishing it were different, blaming others for it, or any other form of resistance.  Resistance often leads to fear-filled, worrisome, and negative thinking with a focus on what can go wrong. What we focus on expands so shift thinking towards positive alternatives by having a mindset of acceptance. Keep the focus on what will work and people will be equipped to deal with obstacles in a more resilient way.

2.   How could executing the strategy make things better for you?

  • Mindset Shift:  Coach employees to move to a higher-level mode of thinking, like being curious, so that new options can surface. Curiosity opens the mind to a new frequency of thinking and interrupts negative thinking habits.  Explore all the possible ways  the strategy can legitimately improve things for the employees.

3.   What would motivate you to execute the strategy?

  • Mindset Shift:  Coach employees to see the benefits of performing beyond the status quo.  Ask compelling questions that encourage them to think in a broader and more strategic manner.  Create an environment where it is worth it for them to go the extra mile in order to make the strategy work.

Implementing strategies takes competence, commitment, and time.  Be the kind of leader that develops people to execute the strategy with passion by providing what they need to sustain momentum towards the goal.