What starts out as strategy must be translated into reality with implementation, and what is implemented needs to be monitored. The proposed strategy (Dimension 3.1) now must be carefully evaluated to determine whether the suggested strategy can be prudently implemented (Dimension 4.10, and then effectively and efficiently monitored (Dimension 5.1).
When implementing a strategy:
- Simple is preferable to complex.
- Cross-training is a multiplier. Make sure each member of your team can fill in for someone else.
- Standardize procedures. A corollary to cross training, every member of your team should approach a particular event or procedure with the same processes, protocol, communications plan and technology.
To reduce liability associated with the implementation of a strategy, follow these five uniform “‘safe harbor” procedures:
- Hire a professional when lacking requisite expertise.
- Demonstrate that the professional was selected by following a defined due diligence process.
- Give the professional discretion to get the necessary work done.
- Have the professional acknowledge their “expertise” in writing.
- Monitor the activities of the professional to ensure that the agreed upon tasks are being done.
When conducting due diligence on a professional, there are seven things to look for:
- Look for someone with a well-defined ethos: Ethos is an Ancient Greek word that means the continuum of a person’s core values, behavior, and decision-making process. The difference between good and great individuals is that great people have a well-defined ethos; there is a consistency in how they live their lives. You want to find someone who is approachable and sincere; who is comfortable being who they are, and doesn’t need to be someone different.
- Look for someone smarter, as well as more experienced: You want to hire someone who is a life-long learner. Who can bring new ideas to consider, introduce new technology, suggest new strategies, and bring an infusion of new perspectives.
- Look for someone who is purposeful, as well as passionate: You want to hire someone who recognizes that they are responding to a higher calling, and who has the ability to articulate their sense of purpose. In turn, someone who passionate about their sense of purpose, and whose enthusiasm is contagious.
- Look for someone who can communicate, as well as listen: You want to hire someone who has the ability to formulate a consensus for goals and objectives; who has a sense of humor; and who has the ability to get others to start talking.
- Look for someone who is competent, as well as accomplished: You want to hire someone who has achieved a higher ROI from their education and experience. Having the right diploma is a factor, but not the most important. Look for someone who can demonstrate that excellence is a habit, not an occasional feature.
- Look for someone who can lead, as well as manage: You want to hire someone who not only has the ability to inspire others to get things done; they know how to get things done. Who is a change agent that has the skills to organize, coordinate, direct and administer a decision-making process. Who has the discipline and ability to develop a long-term strategy, and then have the patience and courage to evaluate events calmly against the backdrop of uncertainty.
- Don’t look for another you: One of the first lessons one learns in leadership is that you need to know yourself. In turn, it doesn’t make sense to hire someone who shares your strengths for they also will probably share your weaknesses. However, like you, you want to hire a person who is perceived to be trustworthy, and who values relationships more than power.
No matter the business, decision-makers have a responsibility to prudently manage their budget, and to control and account for expenses. You should know every service vendor that has been compensated, and be able to demonstrate that the compensation was fair and reasonable for the level of services rendered.
Successful implementation of a strategy is a combination of rigorous process and execution and, like any other worthy endeavor; no job is complete until the paperwork is done! The review of contracts and agreements is an important additional step to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the decision-making process (Dimension 1.1). Contracts and agreements should:
- Define the scope of the relationship;
- Refer to documents which govern the strategy (Dimensions 1.2 and 3.2): and
- Refer to regulations and laws that may define or limit certain activities (Dimensions 1.1 and 1.2).
A good practice is to periodically review contracts and service agreements to ensure that you still require the contracted services; that the vendor’s pricing is still competitive; or, to discover new services the vendor may be able to provide.