“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”   Peter Drucker

It is the beginning of a new year and every intentional leader I talk to is hoping that 2016 will be different than 2015. They’re seeing the new year as a grand opportunity to chart a course toward a different future.  Believing that maybe this is the year where a sense of team emerges, their biggest challenges and frustrations get addressed, and they have a huge celebration at the end of the year to celebrate all they’ve accomplished.

Believe it or not, I know people who had that kind of year in 2015, are celebrating the year behind them, and are heading for higher ground in 2016.  They made huge progress on strategic initiatives and goals over the preceding 12 months.  Do you know how they were able to do that?  Most leaders think that success begins and ends with having a comprehensive and well articulated strategic plan.  In our experience, there are essential steps that come before the strategic plan and a powerful meeting model that must be in place to make that a reality.

While we believe culture eats strategy for breakfast, success is found in focusing on both.

We believe that the strategic plan is essential, but will only be embraced and successfully executed on by a team if they get there through a process.  These are the necessary and essential steps we believe lead to a successful year:

  1. Establish a foundation of organizational health.  Patrick Lencioni says that organizational health is the greatest determinate of long-term health.
  2. Come to agreement as a leadership team about who you are and what you believe.  What is the purpose of your organization?  The most informed thinking in the market today says that if your organization doesn’t exist to change peoples lives, it should and will fail.  What are the true core values that anchor your organization and inform every decision made?
  3. Establish a 2-3 year vision for the organization.  Proverbs teaches us that without vision, the people will perish.  In our methodology, vision is not purpose restated.  Vision is a clearly articulate picture of what success would look like in the future.  Vision should inspire, inform, and shape the future direction of the company.
  4. Develop a strategic plan.  With an inspiring vision in front of your team, determine what the essential focus areas are from that vision.  Outline what success would look like in the future, over the next year, over the coming quarter, and in the subsequent weeks, for each area of focus.  Determine ownership, timelines, and how success will be measured.
  5. Develop an execution/accountability meeting structure for your leadership team.  With a clear strategic plan in place, owners of the strategic initiatives identified, and clear action steps with timelines determined, allow the accountability of the meeting structure and the collective leadership team to drive execution.

This is very simple, but it is not easy.  And in my experience, it is very uncommon.  One of my partners, Paul, is fond of saying that the way you eat an elephant is simply one bite at a time.  Going through this process really can allow you to ascend that insurmountable mountain.  It might even allow you to eat an elephant!

  • Have you done the necessary work to insure a successful 2016?
  • Are you willing to step outside the chaos and spend the essential time it takes to get that work done?
  • Don’t know where to start?  Let us know, we can help you find the success others have found.  It is not too late to get your house in order.