60.1 F
San Diego
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Formula for Business Success Has Many Pluses

The way to execute your organization’s strategic plan and exceed desired results is simple. So simple, in fact, that a natural initial reaction would be to scoff at it and revert back to a more complex, sophisticated, formulaic approach. To help frame the solution in a way that appeals to contemporary faith in sophistication, here it is as a formula: What + How + Who (repeat). Simple, right?

Try doing it. Most expend extraordinary resources on developing the What and How in the form of strategic plans. Months, sometimes years, and always vast amounts of dollars are spent formulating the organization’s What and How.

The What refers to describing exactly what is to be accomplished; explaining, in detail, what it looks like when the What is achieved. If my team and I are not achieving or exceeding the expected outcome, I begin the self-diagnosis with whether or not the What was properly defined and described by me.

Know How

- Advertisement -

After achieving clarity around the What, next is the How. Defining, clearly and methodically, How the What is expected to be done, and by when, is essential. The right What can go sideways if the How is not clearly spelled out. This is not “Dilbert”-type micromanagement. Rather, it involves clearly defining how the accomplishment is expected to be achieved.

The risks at this stage are huge. Missing clarity on the How and it is possible to achieve, or even exceed, goals at the risk of unintended consequences (e.g., beating sales goals with eroded gross margin or loss of profitability).

Once the What and the How are done correctly, next is the critical step: Who. This step requires clarity, spelling out who needs to be influenced, led, and/or managed in order to properly execute the What and the How.

Job No. 1 becomes defining, for each member of the team, exactly what is expected of them to be personally accomplished, how to do it, and for whom they are doing it. Savvy CEOs know that their role is to take the organizational What and How (aka, strategic plan) and translate it into What and How expectations for their Who; their direct reporting executives. They should resist the temptation to prescribe the What and How for the rank and file employees.

In other words, they do not sit in the room with a group of executives and design and prescribe the What and How for everyone else’s Who. Savvy CEOs, once the strategy is set, focus on designing and executing the What and How for their respective direct reporting Who.

Getting Results

Throughout my career, and to this day, the formula of What, How, Who (repeat) has consistently produced extraordinary results. I am just an ordinary person helping others achieve extraordinary results. When expected results are not being achieved, the diagnosis of my role in the design and execution of the What, How, and Who formula has provided critical insights. It has invariably produced insights into how I might better calibrate my own performance to design and deliver better clarity around the What, How, and Who equation. This results in continuously improving, and consistently achieving better organizational outcomes.

Business leaders interested in improving their capability in the What, How, and Who formula should consider participating in upcoming programs being offered by the San Diego Society for Human Resource Management (www.sdshrm.org).

Winter/Spring programs include: Gary Magenta, senior vice president, Root Learning teaching the Art of Engagement, how to bridge the gap between people and possibilities (March); Dr. Chris Collins, director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies, speaking about the changing strategic landscape and how CEOs and CHROs can collaborate to maximize organizational performance (April); and, Gary Adamson, chief experience officer, Starizon, teaching the principles of experience design to drive organizational performance (May).

In the meantime, to sustainably improve revenue, be sure to remain focused on the tried and true formula: What + How + Who (repeat).

Jeff Lindeman, SPHR, MSEL, is president of San Diego Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


Featured Articles

Trade Can Be Game-Changer for Small Businesses

COMMENTARY: Next Governor Must Strengthen Cleantech Policies


Related Articles