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Talent Management Excellence Essentials January 2015

Executing Your Strategic Plan this and let them know it’s important to you, they will likely do it. I believe employees deep down want to see their company succeed. Something as simple as this can connect hundreds – even thousands - of individual employees to your strategy by making it personal to them. Is this a lot of work? Sure, but relax, you have help. This is a great time to get line managers involved. In fact, you’d be crazy not to, because how those managers act and behave is going to be observed by every single one of their employees the second you’re out of the room. You want your managers brimming with support. Exercises that encourage employees and managers to explore the strategy on their own and find ways that their day-to- day jobs contribute to it are a great way to establish these personal connections to your strategy. 5. Slay any Sacred Cows that will derail your strategy The Sacred Cows  of any business are fatal threats to your strategy’s successful execution.  Sacred Cows  are the unofficial beliefs and principles that employees sometimes carry with them that influence their self-interest and behavior. These beliefs are powerful and deep, and they’re often sweeping generalizations. They can interfere with even the best communicated and understood strategies. One that I hear often is “Any sale is a good sale.” While every business needs sales, but does every single sale bring you closer to your goals? If your strategy is to sell high-margin luxury cars, allowing employees to “Always make the sale,” and discount to the point where they compete with mid-priced cars is definitely going to hurt your success. Another Sacred Cow we hear quite often is “Every customer is a good customer.” Maybe it’s true when a company is just starting out, but if you’ve been in business for a while, chances are there are some customers that are better for you than others. There is overwhelming evidence that optimizing and pruning certain customers can have profound effects on a company’s profitability. If your employees are holding on too long to the “wrong” customers, this too can derail your strategy. Sacred Cows should be addressed by calling them out explicitly. Use specific examples so people know what you’re talking about. Next, thoroughly explain the risk or potential mis-alignment with the strategy. Lastly, provide appropriate guidelines for be-havior, and hold employees accountable to them, consistently. The last word of that sentence is crucial. Sacred Cows by definition are deeply rooted in your formal or informal culture. Driving them out requires people unlearning old habits and adopting new ones, that takes time, and repetition. They will often look for “offramps” from that process, which is any time they practice the old behavior and there are no consequences. Make sure your managers are setting the right example and hold them accountable. Praise positive examples and publicly discourage negative ones, if necessary. Sacred Cow-driven behav-iors can be some of the most stubborn to change. If parameters are given out but not enforced, don’t be surprised if the Sacred Cows take over your enterprise again and again with a vengeance. 6. Tune in to WII-FM Everybody’s favorite radio station. It will cross the mind of even your most selfless and loyal employees. What’s in it for me? It’s worth spending a good bit of time thinking about this. The better you can articulate the benefits of new strategy on the lives of your individual employees, the more they will support you. There can be inherent benefits, such as the new career oppor-tunities created by expansion, or outcome benefits, such as higher pay and bonuses if the company succeeds in reaching its goals. Sometimes, just eliminating unpopular processes or policies can have a positive impact on employee perceptions. It’s important that you strike a balance. Complete this sentence: “I’m asking you all to do more, but here’s what I’m offering in return…” If you’re drawing a blank on how your strategy fits into any of these it’s OK to just create some simple “gets” for your employ-ees. Create a rewards program for people caught practicing the correct behavior. Organize friendly competitions that revolve around executing elements of your strategy. Anything employees can point to and say. “That’s why I’m doing this,” is going to help you garner their support. “Sacred Cows by definition are deeply rooted in your formal or informal culture. Driving them out requires people unlearning old habits and adopting new ones, that takes time, and repetition. They will often look for “offramps” from that process, which is any time they practice the old behavior and there are no consequences. 7. Reinforce your strategy and encourage employees by cel-ebrating the small wins along the way Eventually, your new strategy will result in some kind of win or positive achievement. Not the ultimate success you’ve targeted, just a regular old “along the way” achievement, like winning a big contract, or landing a great new customer. Everyone is in a great mood, and now is the perfect time for you to encourage celebration and point out how everyone’s hard work in execut-ing the strategy helped influence that good thing, whatever it was. Tie the happy, celebratory mood everyone is in right now to build even more confidence in the continued execution of your strategic plan. This may seem obvious to you, but some employees don’t immediately connect these things. Many leaders ignore the chance to celebrate these successes, but these wins can have a profound impact on your employees’ appreciation and attitude. While this may seem like a momentary, short-term reinforcement, it will resonate and stay with employees for much longer than you think. If you take the time to understand and follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way toward building a successful execu-tion culture within your organization. The great thing about all of these techniques is that they become easier the more they are practiced and your organization adapts to them. You’ll also be well on your way toward building a strong, confident and empowered employee culture where doubt and uncertainty fear to tread. ITM Chris Rafter is Senior VP, General Manager, Technology Solutions B2B Sales, IT Consulting with Logicalis. Tenacious, unrelenting and hungry – three words that best describe the enthusiasm of Chris Rafter. An eager learner and a well versed master of technology, communication and innovation – Chris will tell you that a lot of people say they are passionate and it is it is virtually meaningless; but not for him. Email chrisrafter@gmail.com Connect Chris Rafter 10 Submit your Articles Talent Management excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 01.2015


Talent Management Excellence Essentials January 2015
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