Last month, we rolled out the cleverbridge 2019 company strategy. The entire process started 18 months ago, involved numerous iterations and many disagreements, but in the end, this is a strategy that I am proud to have been part of creating and feel that it sets the table for the next chapter in the cleverbridge story.
However, comparing this one to the previous three year strategy that we rolled out in March of 2014, I wanted to share my lessons learned for company strategies:
- Collaboration matters — Whether it was the 60+ people that we included in the design and creative process or the many small and not so small group discussions that we had, including more people in the process creates a better output product and fosters a sense of ownership in those that participated.
- Less is more — 21 corporate objectives and 72 KPIs is a lot for even those people who work on the strategy daily to consume and process. What about the people that the strategy really targets? The strategy needs to be easily consumable and understandable by them.
- It’s not your birthday — While we all like surprises, especially when there’s chocolate and peanut butter mixed together, a corporate strategy is not a good time to surprise people. Spending 2 hours or 2 weeks rolling out a strategy is time consuming for you and your employees so ask yourself if it’s better for it to be a surprise or more like listening to George Lucas narrate The Empire Strikes Back.
- Mission, Vision, Values critical — Executives and leaders may think that everyone “gets it”, but putting pen to paper and specifying a company’s mission, vision and values help ensure that everyone is on the same page. In fact, I suspect that your employees care more about the values than any other single thing.
- Marathon, not a sprint — Even if everything goes well during the preparation, launch and following weeks, people naturally focus on what’s most important to them that day and the past recedes into their memory. It’s critical to retain a focus on the strategy, including mission, vision and values, as you go through the dog years of a company strategy. Look for creative ways to incorporate it into your company.
After all the hard work, I’m very proud of the entire package of company strategy, mission, vision, values, launch week and follow through. Only time will tell, but this was a great step forward. I’m sure in 3 years, I’ll have another, hopefully shorter, list of things that we learned. Until then, we’ll be turning digital relationships into global revenue.