Build a Kick Ass Strategy

Have you ever struggled trying to build out a plan or a strategy?  Have you ever struggled with coming up with a strategy that your team would follow?

Well, here are the ten steps to build a kick-ass strategy!

You can listen to the Podcast free here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/build-a-kick-ass-strategy/id1282091502?i=1000393378353&mt=2

http://gorocco.libsyn.com/build-a-kick-ass-strategy

https://soundcloud.com/user-655379556/build-a-kick-ass-strategy

 

Download the full white paper PDF version!

 

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SUMMARY

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Have you ever struggled trying to build out a plan or a strategy?  Have you ever struggled with coming up with a strategy that your team would follow?

Well, here are the ten steps to build a kick-ass strategy!

 

#1:  The first step when you’re building out a great strategy is, gather up your team.  Get the stakeholders, get the experts, get them in the same room together.

 

#2: Get a whiteboard and lots of colorful markers. This is a process where you stand up, and flowing your energy. You are facilitating this process not dictating it.

#3: Gather up your Post-it®  notes and your Sharpies® : Again, use lots of colors.  This is where we’re going to capture the steps and the tasks of the strategy.  This is going to be a live and interactive experience.

 

#4: Hand out the Post-it®  notes and Sharpies®:  This engages your team.

 

#5:  Define the future State:  What is that goal?  What is the target that everybody’s going to work for?  Write it down on one of the sticky notes, and I like to put a big, thick border on it.  Stick it on the right side of the board.  Remember:  This is not necessarily a quick and easy step.

#6:  Define the celebration: How will you recognize your team once you reach that goal? Maybe it’s a bonus?  Maybe it’s a trip? Define the celebration, write it on a sticky note and put that up to the right of the goal.  Now connect the goal to the celebration.  Goal → celebration!

 

#7:  Take one step back from the goal and ask your team, ‘What do we need to do right before this happens?’  What is that step?  Ask the question and let your team think.  Don’t rush them because everybody processes information at different speeds.

 

#8:  Continue working back step by step:  Ask the question again,  ‘What has to happen before that?’ It’s going to look chaotic and organic at this point and it’s supposed to.

 

#9:  Then start connecting the tasks with your whiteboard markers.  This builds the logic and structure into your strategy.

 

#10 Assign responsibilities and resources:   We set responsibilities at the end because we are trying to find out is ‘Is this a necessary step’ to get from point A to point B.  When every task has the same size, it allows for a free flow of ideas and this process allows people to put up tasks that may not be their responsibility to complete.

 

Building from the end to the beginning allows you to pull the need from the end, building ‘lean’ into the process.

 

Now you can transfer this to an online strategy map and you actually are able to track it using MS project or whatever project management software you want.

 

When you facilitate you will have disagreement sometimes.  That’s ok!  Facilitate and remember to take your time to finding a future state.

 

This is Rocco Luongo.  Go to www.GoRocco.Pro for more.  Go YOU!!!

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Hi there!  Rocco Luongo, data-driven business coach here!

 

Have you ever struggled with getting inspired and knowing you need to put something into a plan, but not really being sure how to build out a plan or how to actually build out a strategy?  Does the term ‘strategy’ seem like a hard thing to develop or does it seem like a skill that you don’t have?

 

Have you ever struggled with coming up with a strategy or a plan but you were not sure if your team would follow it, or you think the strategy is great in your heart, but you know there are going to be some holdouts who aren’t going to get on board?

 

Well, today I’m going to take you through one of the facilitations that I use with my business clients on how to build a strategy.  There are no tricks to this. It’s very organic and the best part is your team will love it. This method helps you get all past those hurdles because you will develop the strategy organically together with your team in a way that they will love.

 

So, I’m going to show you the 10 steps on how to do it.  Just follow along here, and there’s also a white paper that you can download to see this step by step and you can also sign up to have me come and do it on site with you.

 

#1:  The first step when you’re building out a great strategy is, gather up your team.  Get the stakeholders, get the experts, get them in the same room together.  When I was developing new technologies, and I still do, but as I was really in the heart of it, we were constantly working and going in different directions.  We had to come back and get the stakeholders in the same room to make sure that we were on the same track.  We did not necessarily agree on everything, because teams are never going to necessarily agree on every implication, but they can agree on the goal that they’re working on, if you lay out that goal together with your team. It’s easy to tell if this is a good way to do it because . . .  imagine if someone drops a strategy or a plan on you, and you have not had a chance to buy-in; you’ve not had a chance to weigh in on that.  You’d feel undervalued, wouldn’t you?  Well, your valuable team will feel undervalued if you exclude them, too, so gather up that team!

 

#2: Get a whiteboard and lots of colorful markers. This is a process where you stand up, you’re not sitting down, you’re leading the team, and flowing your energy. You are facilitating this process not dictating it.

 

#3: Gather up your Post-it®  notes and your Sharpies® : Again, use lots of colors.  This is where we’re going to capture the steps and the tasks of the strategy.  This is going to be a live and interactive experience.

 

#4: Hand out the Post-it®  notes and Sharpies®:  I make a point that this is a separate step, although it may seem like it isn’t necessary to say, but I say it because it matters.  This engages your team. They are going to see themselves in this plan.   I used to spend a lot of time as a teenager and in my early twenties at motorcycle shops, and one of the guys there told me that a smart salesman will always adjust the mirrors on a motorcycle so that when a potential customer sits down the first thing they see is their smiling face.  When you hand these things out to your team, that action is going to let them see their faces in the plan you build. Again, facilitate do not dictate.

 

#5:   Define the future State:  What is that goal?  What is the target that everybody’s going to work for?  Write it down on one of the sticky notes, and I like to put a big, thick border on it.  Next stick it close to the right side of the board.  I want to make sure that you recognize that although this is only step five, we are likely going to get through the bulk of the time and the work in defining this goal. This is not necessarily a quick and easy step.

 

When my firm was hired to help with the Fukushima cleanup, to help optimize the system that cleaned up that radioactive water, it took about 60% of the time to get through the goal definition.  How we define a goal is how we solve a goal.

 

#6:  Define the celebration: How will you recognize your team once you reach that goal?  How will your team come together?  Share a high-five? Share a drink?  Maybe it’s a bonus?  Maybe it’s a trip? Whatever it is make it meaningful for your team.  So, define the celebration and make it something that you want to do it.  Make it something that you can’t wait to celebrate, because this goal is big enough to pull everyone together, with a facilitator, to define.  Define the celebration, write it on a sticky note and put that up to the right of the goal.  That’s going to be the only thing that goes to the right of the goal.  Now connect the goal to the celebration with a white board marker to make it clear:  Goal → celebration!

 

#7:  Take one step back from the goal and ask your team, ‘What do we need to do right before this happens?’  What is that step?  Ask the question and let your team think.  Don’t rush them because everybody processes information at different speeds.  Some people want to blurt out, and some people want to be quiet.  You’ll have both.  Let them write it down.  Next gather them up, and you may get more than one that are similar, that’s okay.

 

Next ask the question again,  ‘What has to happen before that?’ and grab another task and you’ll see (in the video) that I’m using different color pens and different color sticky notes.  That’s because that’s what you’re going to get.  Not every idea is going to come from that same pad, or from your favorite color piece of paper.  It’s going to look chaotic and organic at this point and it’s supposed to.  By the end I’ll show you how we tighten this right up and let you track it using electronic project management software, if you prefer, or convert it to a strategy map.

 

#8:  Continue working back step by step . . . keep asking the question, “What has to happen right before this?”

 

#9:  Then start connecting the tasks with your whiteboard markers.  This builds the logic and structure into your strategy.  Some tasks will connect in series, others will be in parallel, and keep working back until you arrive at ‘Today’.  Today is your current state, which is already defined, because we know the process to optimize any system, including a strategy, is: One, to measure the current state; two, to reduce variability; three, hit a target, any target; and four, optimize the results.  This means that once you have gone through your strategy, you may have to go back and recognize hey not each task worked out as well as planned; that’s ok!  Everything won’t go perfectly.  By reviewing progress after we have done the work allows us to improve our performance using our data.

 

#10 Assign responsibilities and resources:  Here is where you will decide who does what.  “Mary does this.”  “Tom’s going to do that.”  We set responsibilities at the end because this is the new world. In the old world, what did people do?  They sit there with a Gantt chart up on the wall and as soon as someone mentions a long-duration task and it gets captured, there’s this huge block up on the wall.  Immediately, no one’s going to want to have their name attached to that task and everyone is going to start making value trades.

 

What we are trying to find out is ‘Is this a necessary step’ to get from point A to point B and earn this goal and the celebration.  When every task has the same size, it allows for a free flow of ideas and this process allows people to put up tasks that may not be their responsibility to complete.

 

Have you ever had that problem?  You may know darn well if I list 6 things that need to be done, that I’m going to get stuck with all of them!  In this case, we assign responsibility at the end, once we’ve seen the totality of the plan and how it connects.  This distinction tends to relieve a tremendous amount of pressure from your team, and allows them to focus creatively and organically, only including the steps that matter.  Building from the end to the beginning allows you to pull the need from the end, instead of trying to push it from the beginning.  This builds a degree of ‘lean’ process in, so nothing wasteful is included.

 

Now you can transfer this to an online strategy map and you actually are able to track it using MS project or whatever project management software you want.  You can download this process in a more detailed white paper with figures and illustrations to help you follow along.

 

What are the do’s and don’ts?

 

DO:  Gather your team.

DO:  Make it fun and colorful. T

DO:  Be energetic.

DO:  Take time developing the future state.

 

DON’T:  Sit there statically.

DON’T  Lob suggestion bombs.

 

OK, now do this differently:  When you facilitate you will have disagreement sometimes.  That’s ok!  Facilitate and remember to take your time to finding a future state.  If there are disagreements, then have the debate.  I believe in full-contact business, and if we need to get to get full-contact on this, then let’s get to the root of the issue and then break it down.  Teams grow from this.  This builds trust.

 

So one more thing to take away from this, is building out a strategy and a plan is not a trick. You need to gather up your team and come up with a process that people can follow so they feel empowered in sharing what they think is right, without the fear of getting stuck with all the work.

 

Doing this will really let your team shine, and the magic will flow from here.

 

This is Rocco Luongo.  Go to GoRocco.Pro to check us out online. Thank you very much for your time.  Go YOU!!!

 

 

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