Successful Steps to Solving Strategic Issues in a Business

By Nathan Denny and Scott Axelrod

This Private Advisory Board session discussed a pair of strategic issues currently affecting some of the Vistage community. Here are 3 steps to solving strategic issues in a business:

Issue No. 1

A company created its first strategic plan in 2011 but accomplished just 50 percent of the objectives. The team seemed to lose momentum as the year went on. They’re looking for ideas on how to set their list of objectives and actually meet the goals, which involves keeping their momentum throughout the entire year.

1.  Re-Stated Issue

How do I improve the accountability and completion rate of our strategic objectives?

2.  Clarifying Questions

The panel laid out an assortment of pointed questions designed to help the CEO rethink his situation, such as:

  • How do you measure success?
  • Do you know why your earlier strategic objectives were not met?
  • Is absence of HR in your company affecting the people you are hiring?
  • How is ownership of the objectives?
  • Of the 50 percent of the objectives that didn’t get done who was ultimately responsible?
  • Are you setting realistic and attainable goals? Is your growth strategy reasonable?

3.  Action Plan

The CEO has committed to sitting down with the executive team and going over what objectives didn’t get done and how to accomplish them in the next 12 months.

Issue No. 2

How do I change the culture in my company (starting with the executive team)?

1.  Re-Stated Issue

How do I proceed to shift the culture so that it is more attractive to a buyer in the next few years?

2.  Why It’s Important

Estimated financial impact: $2.5 million.

The CEO may want to sell the company in five years and knows a culture change would keep make it more viable in that time.

3.  Suggestions (Solutions)

  • Don’t try to sell change to everyone, pick one or two people. Empower them to start seeking change and reward them publicly. Others will follow.
  • Lead by example; do something out of character.
  • “Start with the end in mind” — work backwards to see what you have to do
  • What’s your exit strategy?

4.  Action Plan

“I am going to lead by example. I am going to examine what my sale will look like and figure out the culture and changes that are needed.”
Session date: Dec 9, 2011
Originally published: Dec 9, 2011

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