A friend sends me a thought for the day from his extensive database of collected quotes (he tells me he has enough for the next 10 years!).
Today’s particularly caught my attention
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
This last weekend was quite a momentous weekend of success in British sport. Andy Murray winning his second Wimbledon title, Lewis Hamilton his 4th British Grand Prix, Chris Froome and team Sky establishing a commanding lead in the Tour-de-France and British athletes winning a host of medals at the European Athletics championships.
The strategies of each of these individuals and teams were determined long before these events began, often years ahead; however, there comes a point when strategies are overtaken by performance and translated into results – good or bad!
For those noted above the results were fantastic; however, for most it will be back to the drawing board as strategies will be reviewed based on the results achieved, details will be reviewed in order to understand what happened, what worked well, what did not work so well, where improvement can be made, and goals set for another year, or for the next competition.
So it is in the business world. Organisations create visions that are translated into strategies (priorities) as to how this vision will be achieved that in turn are broken down into milestones and goals. These goals are then either achieved or missed and reviews take place in order to understand what went right, what went wrong and what we can do better in the future.
One area that is drawing increasingly more and more attention is the strategies around our people. As in all of these sporting events, it is the people that, at the end of the day, make the difference between success and failure. The most valuable and precious resources that organisations have is their people and therefore it would make sense that there are consistent and regular reviews to measure their performance, what is leading to their success (or failure) and efforts both we and they are making to learn and improve.
Through our partnership with IBM we have recently been introduced to their latest solution in the area of employee survey: Employee Voice. This solution extends the traditional annual ‘census’ approach to employee surveying to a tool-set that facilitates a more regular ‘taking of the pulse’ of the organisation, to measure the perspective of the employees throughout the year as well as providing the flexibility to poll employees at times associated with key events.
Just as it would not make sense for Ivan Lendl to sit down with Andy Murray and to review his performance at the end of the tennis season only, rather than have regular reviews at the end of each tournament, so it is with the regular reviews that should be taking place with each individual employee, as well as the voice of the organisation as a whole.
As the need to listen to the voice of our employees and make strategy adjustments becomes more accepted as good practice, so the tools associated with supporting this need are emerging.
One of the greatest tragedies of the modern warfare era was commemorated on July 1st 2016 as we remembered the 60,000 allied forces who were injured or killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Personal accounts recall how within minutes of the strategy being played out it became apparent that the approach was seriously flayed. Modern weaponry negated time tested tactics and men were sent over the top to their death. By the time the message started to filter back to those in command that the strategy was not working and that the results were disastrous, much of the damage had already been done. Those in charge stuck with their plans and sent even more to their death.
With the tools available to us today and the availability of instantaneous data we can avoid the mishaps and ensure that our strategies are fit for purpose and will indeed help achieve the results that we hoped for – if we are willing to use the data and follow the time-tested guidance of one of our greatest leaders.