Updated: Oct 31, 2021
The world is experiencing disruptive and accelerating change never seen in the past. Executives live in a challenging world of labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, logistical challenges, rising costs on all fronts, tax increases, uncertain real estate needs, and employees increasingly demanding to work remotely. These issues can be highly distracting and keep executives buried in today’s problems, while next quarter and next year’s business needs go unattended.
This accelerating change requires business leaders to be able to manage current tactical execution while simultaneously imagining and building the business of a rapidly approaching future. Until you have visibility and control over your business, predictable execution, growth, and scale will be precarious. So be proactive and take your team through this planning, execution, and growth program - get the visibility and control required to achieve your goals. In the process, you'll have some fun, learn some skills, build your business, fix problems, get to know the folks you work with while simultaneously increasing your business performance.
Like a pro golfer who must master the short and the long game dimensions to be competitive, executives must be able to execute short term, while building and positioning products, brands, services, and organizations for long-term growth. A good example of an executive who manages the short and long game is Apple’s, Tim Cook. Cook effectively manages the short-term delivery of the next iPhone every September, while building the technology, talent, and organization to deliver iPhones (and other products) of future Septembers. Like a master chess player, Cook has Apple’s short and long-term strategy and product cycles that will dominate the market for years to come.
You too have an enterprise, product, service, or personal brand that requires your short and long-term leadership. I want to teach you a framework that gives you the ability to meet this year’s objectives and position for future growth. It’s time to get off the chaotic, reactive deal treadmill and start being proactive, and take control of your current and future business.
I've developed a tactical execution and strategic growth development framework (TESG) to give you control and visibility to drive your short and long-term growth. The TESG framework has a 36-month rolling schedule focused on tactical and strategic objectives 1-36 months on the horizon. When I refer to a rolling schedule, I mean always looking at a 1–36-month horizon regardless of the calendar year. Within the framework, there is a monthly tactical (TAC) execution meeting and there is a quarterly strategic (STR) meeting. Both meetings have unique objectives focus, frequency, agenda, and participants. The following example represents the flow and cadence of both types of meetings during a calendar year.
Driving tactical execution and strategic growth in parallel
The TESG development framework is designed to keep teams hyper-focused on short-term accountability and execution while continuously improving and adding capabilities required to achieve long-term growth goals. Without improving operational capabilities and client value, businesses stagnate and remain stuck in dealing with the same old problems month after month and quarter after quarter. This is where working on vs. working in the business comes into play. Please see the following link for more information. Control your time, create your future (timjallard.com)
Getting Started - Clarify Your Goals & Objectives
Every planning session begins with a review of your strategic goals. Outside of daily tactical operations, strategic goals should inform and drive almost all new investments of time, talent, and capital. While it’s important to be clear and stay in touch with your goals, it’s equally important to understand all the control, influence, and leverage to achieve your goals comes from improving capabilities through continuous improvement and disciplined execution of your objectives as defined below.
Translate Goals to Needed Capabilities and Tactical Objectives
Strategic goals drive tactical action, so once your strategic or long-term goals have been established, work backward and identify the related capabilities, actionable/objectives, accountabilities, and timeframes to achieve each goal. People too often go straight from goals to tactical actions, but this is a mistake because capabilities are what build leverage, sustainability, and scalable teams and organizations. Focusing only on tactical actions at the goal level in isolation to a broader strategic capability picture action often leads to misaligned and sub-optimized investments of time, energy, and capital.
The Strategic Growth (STR) Meeting
The strategic growth meeting is about imagining, evolving, and positioning the business for future growth and competitive differentiation to achieve the organization’s stated vision and financial objectives. It involves looking at market trends and drivers that inform strategy, current product/service enhancements, and potential investments in new products, services, talent, and markets. It also provides development feedback to continuously improve the capability of existing executive leaders to perform and meet the evolving needs of the business. Objective: To increase the team/organization’s ability to grow and scale in the 1–3-year by increasing client value and delivery capability.
Timeframe Focus: 2 to 12 quarters out, continuously rolling
Frequency: Once per quarter or three times a year
Duration: 3-6 hours depending on the size of team and business
Agenda: See example and potential exercises below
Participants: Enterprise and or market-facing senior leaders
Facilitated By: Facilitated by an outside facilitator who works with the senior leader on meeting objectives, agenda design, and post-meeting communication, actions, and accountability.
Sample Agenda and Potential Exercises
Vision: What are we trying to become that we are not today? If this has not been developed, then this is job one. Once this is developed it gets reviewed each meeting and serves as a guide for action, investments, and innovation.
Market Analysis: How are our client’s needs changing/evolving, how is our competitive landscape changing/evolving? (Updated annually or as market forces dictate)
Organic Growth: What are we doing to increase our target market value with our current services and capability?
M&A Fill-in: Identify the potential companies that will expedite your vision and improve your service value and or geographic sales/delivery footprint.
Strategic Objectives: Identify the primary objectives and supporting projects that are most likely to fulfill our stated vision. Once identified, operational definitions, metrics, schedules, and accountabilities should be assigned. These will form the basis of future strategic meetings.
Alliances: What synergistic, but non-competing people or organizations can increase our value or visibility to our target market?
Strategic Hires: Identify the talent gaps the team needs and the potential people who can potentially fit your needs and culture.
Leadership Development Exercise: The world is too competitive and evolving too fast to allow static executives to occupy important roles. Show me a business that isn't growing and I'll likely find an executive that looks very busy but isn't evolving the business or growing professionally. It should be the expectation that every executive and everything within the business needs to demonstrably and continuously improve. Most people don't get outside their comfort zones, so they must be pushed out and supported to grow in specific ways. Every executive and manager should have 1-2 development objectives they're working on to increase their value and performance. These should be specifically stated, and associated actions required to satisfy the objectives identified and communicated to the leader and peers.
Peer Feedback: We all have blind spots and therefore we don’t see ourselves accurately. We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions. To address our blind spots, we need constructive feedback from our peers and leaders.
Exercise: One by one each executive leaves the room, while his/her peers respond to the facilitator's three questions:
What do we most like and appreciate about how this person contributes to the role and team? Identify 1-3 items
How could this person contribute even more if they were to start, stop or do something different? Identify 1-3 items
How effectively is this person addressing his/her stated development objectives?
Bring them back in the room and have the facilitator give them their feedback and allow them to ask clarifying contextual questions. The facilitator offers the feedback in a constructive tone and judgment-neutral manner. The executive receiving feedback is to capture the feedback objectives and send it to the leader to confirm they understood and captured the feedback correctly.
Notes and Next Steps – Someone should capture the topics, sentiments, actions, and accountability of the meeting and circulate them to the participants within 24 hours. The status of actions and accountability will be on the agenda and addressed in the next meeting.
Monthly Tactical (TAC) Meeting
The monthly tactical meeting is about staying hyper-focused on delivering short-term sales and delivery execution, as well as, advancing objectives for new and enhanced capabilities. In addition, it produces feedback loops that inform the next tactical meetings, as well as the needs to future talent, service/product evolutions, and potential strategic investments and M&A. It is highly focused, structured, and limited to market-facing businesspeople. Post-meeting actions and tasks are captured, communicated, and cascaded to the necessary support groups to be acted upon. The meeting does not involve a cast of thousands, where every support group gets a turn in the limelight to present their group's contributions. Support groups are critically important, but they don't contribute to driving the agenda of these meetings. However, these meetings will produce actions that will cascade to the support groups for execution. The best planning sessions are the most focused and have the fewest required market-facing leader participants.
Objective: To keep short-term sales and delivery execution effectively moving forward and on track to meet quarterly financial commitments and continuous improvement objectives.
Timeframe Focus: Today to three months out continuously rolling
Frequency: Once per month
Duration: 45-120 minutes (depending on the size and complexity of the team/organization)
Agenda: Standing agenda = The Four Ps (1. Past Commitments, 2. People, 3. Process, 4. Pipeline, 5. Profit, 6. Notes, and Next Steps.
Participants: First level market-facing leaders or significant market-facing individual contributors
Facilitated By: Group member or team leadership
Past Commitments – Review the actions and accountability from the last meeting to make sure we are on track and meeting our short-term commitments
People – People issues related to current operations – staffing, recruiting, turnover, development, promotion, and performance issues.
Process –Address problems and solutions to continuously improve our value creation and value delivery system process. Improve client value/experience, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Pipeline – Proactively address sales strategy, messaging, staffing and approach to optimize our chance of winning pipeline business and preparing to effectively deliver on our operational commitments.
Profit - Review YTD financials and make adjustments based on performance and time of fiscal calendar.
Notes and Next Steps – Someone should capture the topics, sentiments, actions, and accountability of the meeting and circulate them to the participants within 24 hours. action and accountability to address topics coming out of the meeting. These are to be written and circulated to participants within 24 hours. The status of these will be addressed in the next meeting.
The TESG framework is comprehensively designed to help you win the strategic growth and tactical execution dimensions of your business. With consistent application, your leadership, talent, processes, systems, client value, and competitive differentiation will continuously improve. Be proactive and take your team through a year of the TESG framework and a year later take stock of all the rapid change, innovation, control, and visibility you gain by consistently applying the framework to the short and long dimensions of your business. Through the process, you'll discover talent, commitment, and opportunities within your team and business you didn't realize you had. Have fun, take charge and make it a great year!
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