“After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?”
We recently worked with a large organisation that held a three-day strategic planning session with their core leadership team. Over the course of the three days, each team member presented their strategic plan to the broader group. This included 14 different presentations and over 500 slides in total!
It was clear that there was a large amount of preparation, thinking, and informed decision-making that went into the presentations to make them insightful and valuable. However, what was not clear was how what was being discussed fitted into the plans of the team. Too many different terms were used, such as ‘strategic pillars’, ‘strategic themes’, ‘objectives’, ‘business imperatives, ‘initiatives’, ‘strategic targets’, ‘BHAG’, ‘north stars’, ‘deltas’, ‘priorities’, ‘focus areas’, ‘key metrics’… And these were just a few of them.
While each team member used a framework that might have made sense to them, it was clear that no consistent framework existed across the broader team. The implication of this was that there was no clarity or alignment on what commitments were being made and what the respective related timelines were. Due to unclear commitments, the team would struggle to hold each other accountable going forward, common goals may not be met, and over time, trust within the team could slowly be eroded.
Simply aligning on the framework means that team members can all start speaking the same language, making strategic planning sessions both more effective and more efficient. Post the time together as a leadership team, each team member should have clarity on what each other has committed to achieving by when, and why these are the prioritised commitments for the next quarter/year. Aligning on language should assist in building a high-trust environment, and eventually increase the speed of execution within your team.
“When OKRs are working well in your company, it’s as if everyone has acquired fluency in a new language. Every employee is familiar with a common vocabulary, and understands how this vocabulary describes what’s most important to the company (and what’s not).”
While picking any single methodology to use consistently across your team/organisation can assist in helping teams speak the same language, we recommend OKRs when it comes to strategy implementation for a number of reasons. Get in touch to find out how using the OKR methodology can assist in creating clarity within your team.
If you have questions, we’re always keen for coffee.
Get in touch so that we can brainstorm a few solutions together!