Key Meeting Habits and Deep Team Consensus are Essential for Implementing Strategy One part strategy, nine parts execution; strategy in the midst of battle, battle in the midst of strategy. The reason why strategy is difficult to implement is often due to poor execution.
In the process of coaching companies to implement their strategies, PLM Business School has summarized four major reasons why implementation is difficult: low quality of key task goals, lack of organizational support mechanisms, failure to establish a habit of strategic meetings, and failure to reach deep consensus among teams. TMT (core leadership team) continuously optimizes and improves these aspects in practical application, which is the key to implementing strategy.
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Following the explanation of key task goals and organizational support mechanisms, this article will elaborate on the factors of establishing a habit of strategic meetings and deep team consensus. For companies with pain points in implementing strategy, it may be helpful to diagnose and adjust based on these factors.
Regarding the obstacles to implementing a strategy, we have previously discussed two factors: “low quality of critical task goals” and “unclear organizational support mechanisms.” Today, we will continue to explain two other factors: “the lack of critical meeting habits” and “the lack of deep team consensus.”
01-Lack of Critical Meeting Habits
As many of us have experienced, most meetings within an organization are focused on daily affairs related to specific functions or business areas, rather than strategic affairs that need to be tackled at the company level. Due to this inertia, many companies find it difficult to consistently hold effective meetings that serve their strategic goals – after all, each department has its own KPIs to achieve.
This also indicates that if the top management does not prioritize and invest time in the communication process for executing company-level critical tasks, it is actually very difficult to establish a habit of holding strategic meetings within the organization.
Why is it important to hold effective strategic meetings? Because we need to establish a complete closed-loop system for strategic goal management – high-quality goals are to ensure that we are “doing the right things,” but this is only the starting point. At the same time, we also need a set of meeting mechanisms to ensure that we “do things right” during the execution process.
I would like to emphasize that the purpose of strategic goal management is not for performance appraisal or bonuses, and it should not be treated as a bureaucratic administrative task to be completed annually or semi-annually. Instead, the essence of goal management is to improve the performance of the company and its employees.
Therefore, strategic goal management is a management cycle based on a systemic view: from goal setting to performance review and correction, to one-on-one feedback, assistance and coaching, and objective evaluation and communication based on factual performance. Then, follow-up incentives are implemented to improve performance and achieve goals.
The main components of this strategic management cycle are the key meeting system, including the strategic accountability meeting, personal performance coaching meeting, performance evaluation meeting, and talent inventory meeting.
The strategic accountability meeting includes weekly goal accountability meetings, monthly goal focus meetings, GSA quarterly review meetings, and mid-year strategic review meetings. The main purpose is to regularly check project progress, examine strategic assumptions and logic, determine whether to adjust GSA, and clarify accountability and resource allocation.
The personal performance coaching meeting is a one-on-one communication with subordinates at regular intervals (usually once a month), focusing on personal and organizational performance, and providing coaching and feedback to subordinates. We often talk about the 271 rule of talent development, in which 20% of the weight comes from one-on-one coaching by the supervisor to the subordinate.
The performance evaluation meeting is a periodic evaluation and assessment (usually once a quarter), and it is recommended to use a 1+1+HR evaluation format, in which the supervisor, the supervisor’s supervisor, and HR jointly evaluate employees. It should be noted that the purpose of this meeting is not to distribute bonuses, but to reach a consensus on each person’s performance, and to lay the foundation for talent inventory.
The talent inventory meeting is a periodic talent inventory (usually once every six months), and it is recommended that all first-level department heads report on the situation of their direct subordinates, in order to clarify the 52 cards in hand and ensure that the company has people available when needed. Based on the results of the performance evaluation, this meeting should also make corresponding personnel change recommendations, such as promotion, salary increase, job transfer, and demotion.
The aforementioned key meetings are crucial for successful strategy implementation. They differ from routine meetings and require special attention and habitual practice. If a company can persist in holding these meetings well, usually within two to three months, the results of key task objectives can be seen.
Therefore, finding a campaign that fits just right and rolling it out around it, winning one small victory after another, can easily cultivate the confidence of the entire team. This is the role that the key meeting system can bring to us.
However, one of the obstacles to successful strategy implementation is the team’s failure to reach deep consensus.
02-Lack of consensus within a team.
In fact, strategy is initially a collection of various ideas in everyone’s minds, and it is important for the team to reach a deep consensus in order to form common goals and act in a coordinated way to drive implementation. If the degree of consensus is not sufficient, it will create significant problems for the quality of strategic goals and the execution of key meetings.
The executive team must be able to systematically reach consensus – not only on what the goals are, but also on how to achieve them, and why it is necessary to do so. Huddles.app can update team work progress in real time to ensure that everyone is working towards the goal. Only when consensus is reached at all three levels can the team’s thinking and actions remain consistent.
However, I have observed that many companies are not clear about the true meaning of consensus. Here, I mainly emphasize a few points:
1.Consensus is based on diversity.
Everyone knows the story of the blind men and the elephant – in fact, whether it’s the boss or the executives, everyone is a “blind man” with only their own one-sided perspective. We often face the situation where what we know is the truth, but it is not the whole truth.
To break this dilemma, we need to be able to effectively obtain diverse perspectives to jointly construct the picture. We need to realize that even though everyone has different positions, relative consensus can still be established.
Therefore, we cannot wait for the boss to speak before making a final decision, nor should we be afraid of conflict with each other. Instead, we must create a “purposeful, positive, frank, open, and equal” atmosphere for discussion, which is the foundation for building consensus.
2.Consensus does not necessarily mean unanimous agreement.
Many of us have a cognitive bias that consensus means everyone must agree. However, even if everyone agrees, it does not necessarily mean that they all understand and support a decision.
If the views of stakeholders are not expressed or their demands are not met, it is likely that they will reluctantly agree under peer pressure but still resist inwardly. As a result, it is easy to encounter a situation where people are not fully committed to the execution.
Therefore, we need to ensure that everyone can fully express themselves, fully discuss, fully conflict, and fully present differences and opinions. Only after going through this process can we reach a true consensus.
3.Consensus does not mean common knowledge.
It is common for people to assume that some commonly known or habitual things do not require further consensus discussions. However, I want to remind everyone that if there are relevant affairs that may obstruct strategic execution, not fully exposing them can also lead to problems.
As the classic fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes” illustrates, everyone knows that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, but there is no consensus. Similarly, many people in the company may know that the current practices are not conducive to strategic implementation, but if no one fully expresses it and there is no communication among them, even if everyone knows it, it is not a consensus.
Therefore, establishing a culture of consensus is crucial for strategic execution. We need to create a culture that can find high-quality key task objectives through team consensus, form project teams, and establish the habit of key meetings, rather than everyone acting independently as before.
Often, external consulting firms can only add value to the existing situation. If the TMT team does not have the above-mentioned capabilities, external assistance cannot bring real breakthrough changes. Therefore, the top leader and the executive team need to constantly reflect and summarize in practice, which can promote the improvement of organizational and personal leadership abilities and also drive strategic implementation. This is the most effective way.
Finally, I would like to quote Peter Drucker’s famous saying: “Management is a practice, not a science. Its essence is not in knowing, but in doing.” Strategic implementation is a highly practical matter that requires entrepreneurs and executives to take continuous action, constantly review and correct, to truly find the feeling of strategic implementation. This concludes my sharing. Thank you, everyone.
Author: Grace Lee
Founding Vice Chairman of the Association for Applied Management Practice (AAMP), and Director of the Social Enterprise Research Center (SERC).