When strategy is developed in a top-down manner (which most strategy is), there are often issues around building ownership and accountability for the strategy.
It’s hard to truly connect with something that’s been imposed on you. You may understand on a rational level that you have a stake in the strategy and its outcome. You may even have had some level of participation in creating it.
But if it feels like your strategic plan has been decided by senior leadership, that it’s being done to you rather than with you, that’s going to create problems in building ownership for yourself and your team.
While lack of ownership can you success as you implement your strategic plan, it does not need to. You can take specific actions now to actively build ownership within your own team and across your organization.
Take time to effectively translate the strategy for yourself then with your team. As a leader, you need to be able to communicate the ins and outs to your team so that they can develop and implement operational plans. Review the strategic plan, identify how best to translate it to your team then generate a list of possible questions they may have so you are fully prepared for those conversations.
Identify interesting ways to connect your team with the strategy. Get creative with how you share the strategy. Unfortunately, most leaders take out the dreaded “strategy deck” and go through it page by page (yes, all 55 of them). While it is well-intentioned, it generally does not inspire your team. This year, try something different. Communicate using stories, examples, videos, articles, etc. Help them connect with the strategic plan so they can take ownership and execute the plan successfully.
Notice if you, personally, are fully embodying the strategy. When you are able to own the strategy and envision yourself as delivering results, your send signals to your brain and nervous system and begin to “embody” the strategy quite literally. As you do this more and more, your team begins to pick this up at a neurobiological level and they, too, embody the strategy and take ownership. The practice below will give you a specific process to follow.
By taking these actions to generate more ownership and accountability for the 2019 Strategic Plan, you will not only enhance your leadership, but also achieve better results!
Weekly Uplevel Practice
First thing’s first. Consider whether or not you are actually embodying the strategy. Be honest.
Is the plan something you can see yourself leading?
Is it something you can see your team implementing?
If your answer to either of these questions is “no,” ask yourself what you need to do to truly take ownership of the strategy. For example:
Does it need to be more collaborative?
Do I need to talk with my manager to better understand it?
Do I need to meet with colleagues to build out further details?
Figure out how you can better own your strategy so you can not only effectively lead your team into the new year, but also get them excited and engaged in 2019.
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