Business Model Questions – Summary. Many leadership teams struggle to link strategy and execution. What can companies do to build a culture of accountability and transparency in their organizations? The authors suggest three tactics: First, give executives time to step back from their day-to-day pressing issues to openly debate and discuss important strategic issues. Next, involve …

Business Model Questions

Business Model Questions – Summary. Many leadership teams struggle to link strategy and execution. What can companies do to build a culture of accountability and transparency in their organizations? The authors suggest three tactics: First, give executives time to step back from their day-to-day pressing issues to openly debate and discuss important strategic issues. Next, involve more of the organization in discussing how the company is doing in terms of strategy and execution. Finally plug in the board more. Senior leaders owe their shareholders, customers and employees clear answers to why they exist and what they do every day to fulfill that purpose.

Companies often fail to answer the tough questions about strategy and execution: Are we really clear as a leadership team about how we choose to create value in the marketplace? Can we articulate the few things an organization needs to do better than anyone else to deliver on that value proposition? Do we invest in these areas and do they fit with most of the products and services we sell?

Business Model Questions

Business Model Questions

If your answer to these and other tough questions in the exhibition below is yes, you are among the chosen few. In our experience, one of the biggest challenges in business today is that too few companies ask or answer these fundamental questions.

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Executives often avoid questions they cannot answer. Or leaders and employees may feel that it is not the right time to ask them, perhaps rationalizing that the CEO has been at the helm of the company for a year or more and the strategy is already in place. They might feel that the time to ask these questions has passed and they don’t want to start being criticized. Some executives may actually appreciate the lack of strategic clarity because it allows them to keep track of their own priorities. As for CEOs themselves, they often ask these questions when they first start out in their roles, but often feel constrained by the boundaries they’ve been given—either a disparate portfolio or intense short-term pressure to meet goals that distracts them.

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If the executive team is not consistently addressing these questions, boards—which in many ways own the long-term strategic direction of the company—should at least ask management to provide answers, if not directly participate in the search for those answers. However, most directors feel they are too late in the strategy process to have meaningful involvement.

So what can companies do to build a culture of accountability around the most important strategic issues? Leaders should consider three tactics: One is to create a process for the executive team to discuss these fundamental questions. Unfortunately, the traditional approach to strategic planning often does not allow for these discussions as it tends to be very bottom-up, financial and often incremental in nature. Instead, a time and place is needed for executives to step back from the day-to-day pressing issues and openly discuss and debate these issues.

The second tactic is to engage more of the organization in a discussion about how the company is doing in terms of strategy and execution. Like an annual employee survey, organizations should track the most important strategic themes. Such a survey provides powerful insights into how well your employees—the people who know the business best—think it’s positioned for success, how well they feel they’re delivering on the value proposition, and how effectively they’re able to connect their individual work. to the organization’s strategy. As well as telling you what people think the company’s main challenges are, it also helps create an environment where such questions can be raised… and raised. Many organizations have used our strategy profiler, which only takes a few minutes to complete and provides very useful information.

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The third tactic is to engage the board more. The board is the only group that would have the long-term focus (what we call “longitudinal support”) to be able to handle these kinds of questions over time—and many board members are uniquely qualified to help the executive team answer and to question. some of the most difficult questions of strategy. Instead of the old practice of just reviewing the company’s strategy, the board could create a structured process with management to talk about strategy and the links to execution. Management could take the lead in these discussions and work with the board to select topics on which directors will have significant input. Even regular, one-on-one conversations and discussions where board members are asked about their concerns are an effective way to engage the board more effectively.

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We have a shared responsibility to answer these fundamental questions – even if the answers are not easy or immediately practical. We need to create space for this debate and we owe our shareholders, customers and employees clear answers about why we exist and what we do every day to fulfill this purpose. Building mechanisms to support discussion is the best way to bring these fundamental questions out of the shadows and into the limelight where they belong.

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Business Model Questions

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Business Model Questions

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Business Model Questions

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