Amazing results occur when a team is aligned with a strategy and with each other. Performance Planning creates that alignment.
Translating Strategy into Performance Objectives
Strategy without execution is just a dream. Strategy Management represents the marriage of strategy and execution. Previous articles discussed the strategic planning process and how to seamlessly progress from strategy to execution. We discussed strategic objectives, measurable goals, action plans, and resource planning.
The next step in the strategy management process is to establish performance plans for every employee in alignment with the strategy.
Cascading Performance Objectives
The IT Strategic Plan represents the performance objectives for the CIO. While the CIO is responsible for the execution of the plan, he or she is probably not the one doing most of the work. There may be vice presidents that are responsible for the different areas that those action plans fall into. But the VP’s are also not likely to execute any of those plans. They’ll delegate to directors that lead managers and then there are supervisors and, finally, staff.
The goals in the IT strategic plan become the performance objectives for the CIO. The goals that each of the VP’s own become their performance objectives. And they define related goals for their directors, and on down to each individual staff member.
That means the staff must meet all their performance objectives for the managers to meet theirs. And on it goes back up the ladder.
In other words, the entire team must be aligned for IT to succeed.
Benefits of Alignment
We cascade performance objectives from the CIO down through the IT organization to create alignment around the IT strategy. But there are other benefits.
Employees want and need to know how they, as individuals, fit into the big picture and how they are performing. Cascading performance objectives makes it clear to each employee how he or she contributes to the overall IT strategy. And, because the goals are visible, each employee knows, day to day, if they are meeting those goals.
And that improves employee engagement.
Employee engagement across the U.S. was recently at 34%, according to Gallup. That means two thirds of employees are disengaged at work. Imagine the productivity gain you will see when you align your IT team with the strategy and improve engagement.
Another advantage of alignment through cascaded performance objectives is better decision making. Employees make small and large decisions every day. Not the decisions that require management approval. Rather, it’s those little decisions that nobody tends to see but that can have a dramatic effect on outcomes. They tend to make decisions that they believe are best for the organization. Visibility into, and alignment with, the IT strategy ensures that these day-to-day decisions do, indeed, support the larger strategy.
Performance Planning and cascading performance objectives from the CIO down through the entire IT organization will prepare the team to execute their Action Plans with clarity and focus. And each individual will need to succeed for managers, directors, VP’s, and the CIO to succeed. Talk about teamwork!
Previous articles showed how we define the Five Filters, set Strategic Objectives, define measurable Goals, create Action Plans, and Resource those plans. This article then showed how to cascade performance objectives to align the team.
The next article will discuss transparent Program Management to keep the execution of the IT strategy on track.
As always, if you want to know more, or just can’t wait for the next articles, email Emily at Emily@WolffStrategy.com and she’ll be happy to schedule a call with me.
Larry Wolff is the founder & CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a boutique consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Strategy Management and Digital Transformation. Larry has served as CEO, COO, CIO, chief digital officer, and management consultant for public, private, international and emerging growth companies. His specialties include corporate and IT strategic planning, technology led business transformation, business and IT turnarounds, merger integration and large-scale project rescues.