“The decorative aluminum grill market moved to pre-finished materials and it took us three months to get our designs straightened out and a new set of standard inventory items set for distribution. We have finally made the initial run and sent the stock to the field six months after our competitors. Now they want custom cut product in a variety of sizes and we have to figure that out. Will we ever catch up with this changing market and begin to anticipate what’s next?”
Overheard at Starbucks in Chicago
Executive teams that chase change and fail to catch up need to stop long enough to get back on a winning strategic plan, so I’ve designed what has proven to be an excellent tool for doing this in record time. I call it A-Game Strategy. This is because every element in the process starts with a major A word, and because if the team completes this process they will be bringing their A Game! They’ll have a chance to brainstorm on probable next market moves!
- Assessment (where are we really?)
- Alignment (what do we all get behind as our winning strategy?)
- Assignment (what work groups will be tasked with action?)
- Action (here we determine the top-line strategic action plan/ ie, how do we do it?)
- Accountability (which member of the executive owns each part of the whole?)
- Adjustment (we live in a dynamic world and we may need to make periodic changes.)
For most teams, one day is enough to complete the process. We stay strategic — up above the tactical weeds. I find executive suite teams to be very capable of carrying forward after the strategy is set. We always schedule an off-site location for A-Game Strategy where the team will not be interrupted, we can have a working lunch and take the breaks we need at the same time so no one is out of the room when an important discussion happens.
There is always some pre-work. I like to have at least one coaching session with everyone on the team before we embark on A-Game Strategy. The CFO will need to bring in the plans and the recent financial reports and the COO and Sales VP will want to come equipped with current operations and sales pipeline status reports. Otherwise each member of the team just comes prepared to engage at a high level for the day.
This is no ordinary off-site. An A-Game Strategy session determines how the business will allocate their resources for the next year. Time is taken to reach consensus, so everyone is 100% behind the plan by day’s end. Robust debate is the order of the day. Commitment is the outcome.
If you are still chasing change rather than setting your winning strategy, contact me. We can have your team in alignment and making great progress very quickly!