Lessons from a Coyote

Carey-Lyn Kurten

15th March 2019

The Road Runner: Linking Busy-ness to Strategy

Beep beep…Beep beep…Linking Busy-ness to Strategy.

Let’s evaluate Wylie Coyote’s busy-ness. He has a strategy. He is goal directed and focused on catching the Roadrunner. He is not without a plan and spends many hours formulating and putting these plans to work. He is knowledgeable, always willing to research and shows absolute dedication to his cause. Sound familiar?

But how effective is Wylie Coyote? Wylie Coyote lacks results.

The gap between strategy formulation and results is large. Could your organization be like 90% of businesses around the globe – they have a strategy, but are failing to implement it? They lack results. The adrenaline rush and urgency that springs from daily firefighting comes with a significant cost. Today, calendars are full. Emails pile up. Meetings and dozens of initiatives have managers working hard. Strategic plans and vision statements fail to permeate the organization. They are owned by a handful and are usually saved for the few getaway days allocated to “strategy sessions”. Busy-ness ensues. In the absence of clearly defined results employees can find more than enough to keep themselves busy. To get results a business needs a map (master action plan).

One widely used goal management framework that helps companies implement strategy is OKR. The acronym stands for Objectives and Key Results and was popularized by Google when John Doerr introduced it to their founders. Once implemented, the goal driven thinking has become part of their Google culture and it is still in use today. There are lots of online resources to support you with this framework, aligning your vision, mission and strategy to everyday work activities. It’s about priorities.

If you are going to be busy, be busy on the things that get you results. Tom Peters suggests that “formulating strategy is not a valuable activity if it can’t be translated into action”.

Let me leave you with this little anecdote…

Three frogs are sitting on a wall and one decides to jump off. How many are left?

Answer: Three.

How does that work? One frog has simply decided to jump, but hasn’t actually taken the leap.

Perhaps you have spent time formulating a strategy and are now faced with the gap between decision and action, between formation and implementation. You are facing the greatest ongoing struggle in modern organizations – the challenge of strategy execution. Without a proven implementation tool, you may end up a little frog sitting on the wall.

Here’s hoping you’re not the victim of the cycle of busy-ness this year… Beep! Beep!!

Implementation Checklist:

  1. Do you have a clearly defined business strategy with 7 or 8 critical success factors defined? Wylie, like many organizations, finds his performance defined by activities not strategic imperatives.
  2. Do you have a performance timeline, including targets that will be met and can be measured?
  3. Do you have a communication system that provides you with feedback on your busy-ness? A good communication system, in the form of a daily scorecard, will warn you before you run off the cliff after the Roadrunner. Poor communication creates a serious disconnect between day to day activities and business results.

Carey-Lyn Kurten

Growing Resilient Leaders

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