How to Execute Your Business Growth Strategy

How to Execute Your Business Growth Strategy

In last week’s newsletter I talked about the place you need to get to to begin executing your business strategy. The strategy needs to list the things you will start, stop and continue to do. That’s the easy bit! The tricky bit is implementing that list, turning the strategy into a plan, and then executing the plan.

Coming up In February, I’m running a Best Practice Accelerator in GrowCFO that will give members a set of practical tools and techniques they can use to help “Deliver your Business Growth Plan”. Tom Ricca-McCarthy from GrowCFO partner Lucidity will join me on the accelerator.

Moving on from Stop, Start, Continue

Ahead of the accelerator, Tom joined me on this week’s GrowCFO Show and we chatted about turning the strategy into an executable plan.

We discussed executing business strategy and the challenges involved. Tom explained that while formulating strategy is relatively easy, execution is the difficult part where a strategy needs to be translated into clear activities and goals.

We agreed the starting point is identifying what to stop, start, and continue from the strategy. They stressed the importance of measurement and reviewing progress regularly.

Tom stressed how communication is key to ensure everyone understands the strategy and their role. A common pitfall is strategies end up as documents sitting on shelves gathering dust rather than being implemented.

Communicating the Strategy

Back on episode 130 of the GrowCFO Show I went deeper into strategy communication with Richard Nugent from TwentyOne Leadership Ltd

One of the key things Richard emphasised was the need for alignment. Richard discusses how leadership teams are often not aligned in their thinking about strategy, culture, and customer experience. He shares that based on surveys of hundreds of leadership teams, less than 3% are fully aligned in their answers about these topics.

He then gives an example of working with a technology company where the leadership team’s key strategic objective was to grow from £100 million to £300 million in 3 years. However, when asked what the key strategic objective was, the 7 members of the leadership team, including the CEO, gave 6 different answers. This showed a lack of alignment even on their top strategic goal.

Unless the leadership team are properly aligned, you don’t have a hope of clearly communicating the strategy!

Richard’s latest book, “The Alignment Advantage”, explores the alignment of strategy, culture and customers. These are the key elements of any business. But to succeed, they must be effectively built, refined and aligned. Studies show that highly aligned organisations are 72% more profitable than their competition.

What to do when reality gets in the way

Having a plan and communicating it well is essential. But often things do not go to plan. Real-world events get in the way. Back on episode 87 of The GrowCFO Show I chatted with Benjamin Wann, CMA, CSCA, MBA, PMP about the practicalities of implementing that plan.

We chatted about his book “Getting Shit Done: The No-Nonsense Framework for Closing the Strategy Execution Gap”. Ben talked about the need for flexibility as things will inevitably change during the execution phase.

The CFO has a key leadership role in executing strategy

The CFO should be the co-pilot to the CEO when it comes to driving strategy execution. I spoke to Jeremy Foster about this back in episode 98.

Jeremy Foster is an unusual CFO; he isn’t an accountant and doesn’t have a finance background. His origins are in sales and marketing. He changed course following an MBA at Notre Dame and has become a highly successful finance leader with strong strategic capabilities and significant M&A experience. Jeremy has been instrumental in multiple equity rounds, debt recaps, and a 9-digit platform sale to PE.

Jeremy’s primary interest is working with an organisation that wants to drive massive growth. He will typically be brought on board by a CEO who wants a co-pilot to go on that journey. In this episode, we talk about how Jeremy is currently doing that at Talroo and how that differs from his approach at previous companies, Homeward and Kasasa. He explains how he operates as a strategic partner to the CEO and gives us some great insights into the thought process a CFO needs to help build and drive strategy.

Having the right KPIs is crucial, too, and we explore some of the critical KPIs you need to understand when investing in customer acquisition. We also talk about the theory of constraints. Jeremy shows how the skills he learned as a marketing director are precious to a CFO, too.

In conclusion

The strategy needs to tell you what you need to start, stop and continue and set some high level objectives and key results. The senior team needs to be completely aligned behind these, and must communicate consistently throughout the business. Start, stop and continue needs to be translated into action plans and KPIs, and these plans need to flex to take into account the changing landscape.

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