what’s really going on in my company?

We have 22 software applications. We average 200 emails and 5 hours of meetings or calls per person per day, alongside 20 instant messages per hour. Everyone seems a bit stressed and I keep hearing how busy and time poor we all are.

strategy execution and what's really going on

Year on year I see daily priorities pulling our time and focus away from achieving our strategic goals.

I keep reflecting on Stephen Covey’s four quadrants and how he uniquely describes the challenge of balancing urgent vs what’s really important.

I am the CEO. I have 8 direct reports and 1,400 employees spread across 6 locations.

I know that tinkering at the edges won’t work. I have decided to fundamentally rethink how I run this company.

no more offsite annual planning

Firstly, I am going to stop doing our big offsite annual planning workshops, which in the end only motivate a subset of those whom were able to attend. Every year we come away from those strategy offsites with a slide deck that most folks subsequently ignore or don’t understand.

Instead, this year I am going to make strategy and execution alive and interactive. I want us to constantly apply what we are learning each week, rather than consider strategy as an annual exercise or a static document. I might have been inspired by that acclaimed Harvard Business Review article on “your strategy should be a hypothesis you constantly adjust”.

To achieve this, I am going to give every employee #stratapp, the world’s first org-wide strategy execution app.

reduce our 22 IT systems down to 5

Next, I am going to reduce our 22 different IT systems down to only 5:

  1. #stratapp - for both strategic and day to day work
  2. CRM+desk - for customer relationships and support
  3. Finance - for compliance and operations
  4. HR - for compliance and operations
  5. Comms - for email and document sharing

Apart from the social media platforms we use for lead generation and referral sales, these 5 systems will be it.

everyone collaborating in the same space

We lose so much time having people working in disparate systems, including a bunch of different apps for social, tasks, projects, meetings and note taking. Quite often several of us are sitting in meetings and writing down our own subjective interpretation of the notes and actions, in different formats and places. #stratapp has live notes, including a timed meeting agenda and one click access to the meeting context, social, tasks, files and links.

I have totally lost patience with IT integrations - trying to get a dozen different systems to talk to each other and constantly chasing our tail each year on upgrades and maintenance.

#stratapp is 10 apps in 1, so we will use #stratapp to align every employee on both strategic and daily work:

3 new operating principles

Finally, I am going to introduce 3 new operating principles:

  1. No internal email - all internal comms will be inside #stratapp, using their social with structure. Eliminating internal email will reduce emails from 200+ to about 15 per person per day. It will also make checking and replying to emails way more interesting and actually adding value. Why? Because all emails hitting our inboxes will be external - from customers, partners and suppliers.
  2. Transparency - we will encourage staff to make social and work collaboration transparent inside #stratapp, rather than marking everything as confidential or secret. Ray Dalio has proven that org-wide transparency elevates individual, team, manager, executive and overall company performance.
  3. Alignment - we will strive to ensure that every task, initiative, project, idea, challenge, risk or note we are working on, has a direct or indirect link to our strategy tree. Aligning day to day work to strategy is easy to do inside #stratapp.

Like I said, I am done with tinkering at the edges. It is time for us to rethink how we run this company - for the benefit of all levels, roles and generations, not to mention our customers, partners, suppliers and shareholders.

Ash Richardson

20 years digital tech and strategy experience, including co-founding #team, Accenture, MP of Oyster Partners (now DigitasLBi) and ex-VC investing in technology startups. Unique skills on product strategy, design and offshoring.

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connects to:

culture elevation

  • radical transparency and trust
  • real-time alignment and collaboration
  • genuine digital transformation and remote working

next gen ready

  • by 2025 more than 75% of employees are y-gen / millennials
  • asking y-gen to collaborate via email and static docs, is like asking all of us to go back to using fax machines

employee productivity

  • 15-30% increase in productivity
  • provide every employee the tools to succeed
  • attract and retain the best talent, for the right reasons

business performance

  • 15-30% increase in business valuation
  • de-risk and make the business agile
  • execute strategy and daily work above expectations
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