I recently had the pleasure of speaking with John Myrna about his new book The Chemistry of Strategy. We discussed what it means to have a strategy and why a strategic plan is differs from an operational plan.
Myrna defines business strategy as “knowing what you want to be in the future, where you are today, and what your annual strategic goals are, so that you’ll change from who you are to who you want to become.”
Your strategy must be set forth in attainable, measurable goals, which means being specific is a must. It’s also important to know the difference between an operational goal, which by and large lives in the here and now, and a strategic one, which resides in the future. Here, Myrna shares five ways to implement a business strategy and carve your path to the future:
Make a pledge
Get together with your team and make a simple pledge regarding your goals. Say it aloud, together: “We commit to this plan.”
Gather your team
Meet with your executive council to manage this plan. When rounding out your team, keep in mind they must be able to visualize and help realize goals. They should intend on being there whether the goal is met or not, and they need to be diverse, both in experience and in passions. These are the people who will ensure your entire team buys into this plan, because a true strategic goal affects your whole company, from top to bottom.
Outline a process
A good strategic plan isn’t a one-day thing.
One of the things I often hear from companies recruiting candidates is that there’s a talent shortage. But award-winning author and sales management expert Lee Salz views it differently: The talent is out there, you just have to know what you want (and how to find it).
Lee Salz wrote the book Hire Right, Higher Profits, which I highly recommend. Too often, he says, companies focus on people, not processes. The days of receiving a gold watch for 25 years of loyal service have come and gone and Generation Y is anything but loyal. However, it is possible to find loyal talent. Here, then, are four steps from Lee to help you recruit the right candidates.
Always Be Recruiting.
Much like grocery shopping when hungry, a big mistake is looking for candidates when you desperately need to hire them. Always be recruiting and open to networking. You never know where it will lead.
Use the Tools Correctly.
Assessment companies provide data about a candidate, but it’s up to you to interpret it and combine it with nuances gleaned from those in-person interviews. The same goes for tracking systems, which are designed to make the hiring process more efficient. The problem is setting too many filters, which can shut out some great candidates. So manage these tools correctly and consider them part of the overall process, not the end-all be-all.
Do Your Homework.
When considering a candidate, be sure to assess all the factors that will help that person succeed or fail, as the case may be.
A resume alone will never help you get hired. It has to be relevant and compelling enough to get your foot in the door. Having reviewed thousands of resumes myself, I’ve found that most of them read like a cross between an obituary and a museum exhibit timeline.
First, let’s debunk a couple of resume myths. Resumes are not read, at least not at first. They are scanned, scored and sorted. Second, a good resume is not critical to getting you hired. It is only critical in landing an interview. Third, the real purpose of a resume is to catch someone’s eye. HR departments use resumes as a job-matching tool. They are trying to find a fit, and in this way they are solving a problem.
Most executives agree that you should never start with HR, so if you write your resume to match a job, then you’re writing for the wrong audience. Here, then, are four tricks to get the people with hiring power to notice you:
State what problems you’ll solve.
Executives are focused on solving challenges of time, money, and risk. When reviewing a resume, they want someone who’s overcome challenges in at least one of these areas, if not all three.
Explain who you helped.
Many resumes include companies that are not household names so add a short explanation. “Top 10 international provider of heavy construction equipment components,” for example, will give your performance some context.
Say what difference you made.
Here, I’m talking about specific measures you took to solve a problem.
Business is like baseball in so many ways, none more so than when you set out to build a great team. You want the best players, like that insanely great sales leader, but that’s not how the game is played.
Every company, like a ball club, is out to win as many games as possible. But every company is filled from the bottom up with two distinct types of players: You’ve got your organizational types and your all-star types. A good leader knows the difference.
This is not to disparage those people who get the job done day-in and day-out. This is to help you know that once-in-a-lifetime talent can take your business to the next level. As much as you want a workplace where everyone feels equal, as George Orwell wrote: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal.”
So, what are the characteristics of all-stars? For one thing, they’re innately talented and possess leadership ability. They’re also ambitious and strive to achieve. Beyond that, they’re engaged, and constantly developing themselves personally and professionally.
To help them fully harness their natural talents–because nothing is worse than talent going to waste–here are three simple, yet effective ways to keep them engaged at your company:
Challenge them. Give them the tough assignments, urging them to aim for greatness.
Spend time with them. Pass along your wisdom, helping them to develop big goals. Then find out not only who they long to be but when they hope to get to that point.