“Work with me for just a moment,” requested Robin Speculand, speaking as a world-renowned expert in strategy and implementation.
“Imagine the scenario, inside the organisation there’s a rumour of something new about to happen. Everyone has been called together in a town hall meeting and as employees begin to gather, the CEO walks into the room and the music starts to play.”
Addressing more than 500 technology executives during the opening second day keynote of EDGE 2020 - an invite-only virtual experience housing partners, distributors and vendors - Speculand outlined what usually follows next.
“The CEO would say; 'ladies and gentlemen, I’ve invited you here today for the launch of our new digital strategy. It's a strategy that will be good for every one of us, our shareholders and our customers. But I alone can’t make it happen, I need each and every one of you to come together - not just as a department but as a family because only as a family can we make our strategy come alive.
"He looks out and says to the audience, ‘are you with me?’ Everyone shouts yes. And as the music fades out, two guys at the back of the room go ‘what was all that about?’”
Speaking as CEO of Bridges Business Consultancy, Speculand’s keynote mirrored strategy launches across the world, in any given office on any given day.
“CEOs launch new strategies with all the promise and excitement but what percentage of strategies deliver on their promises?” he asked. “50 per cent of strategies are successfully executed but that number drops to only 20 per cent for digital strategies.”
In assessing the technology landscape, Speculand acknowledged that leaders have been well-coached on planning but seldom build momentum through implementation, creating a “strategy implementation skills gap” in the process.
“Successful implementation is not complex, but it does require discipline - a discipline many organisations are missing,” he said. “Strategy implementation will not succeed when it is viewed as an interruption to your job.”
After launching a new strategy, Speculand said the calendar of a leader needs to change to reflect the time that’s required to spend on the implementation.
“No matter how much information you communicate to people they still need assistance to interpret it correctly,” he added. “When you create the time to oversee the implementation journey and change your weekly agenda, employees sense your commitment. They are then more inclined to take the right actions.”
Alongside executive-level commitment, Speculand said leaders must also share implementation responsibility with the wider team, ensuring employee buy-in from the ground-up.
“Holding people accountable for implementation is one of the easiest, most powerful actions leaders can take,” he said. “If middle managers are not supported as the lynchpins of implementation, then it will fail.
“Brand your strategy by giving it an image so as to win over the hearts and minds of your employees. Without the right resources people will not be engaged. Without people engagement the implementation will fail.”
Speculand delivered exclusive insights during EDGE 2020, an invite-only virtual experience which played host to the most influential business leaders in technology across Australia and New Zealand.
Underpinned by local research and insights, EDGE 2020 outlined customer investment plans, upcoming end-user projects and new partner requirements, leveraging unique analyst and CIO insights.
To watch on-demand EDGE 2020 sessions - click here.