Introducing Immersive Strategy
There’s nothing like ripping around a racetrack in a Lamborghini to really wake you up.
At the end of July, Advisory.Works launched an immersive strategy experience like no other. We took passionate business leaders – our amazing clients and a few special guests – to the Hampton Downs racetrack for a supercar experience.
But this wasn’t just an effort to show off cool cars.
Business leaders have been flogged by rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and low economic growth. They’ve had international tensions threatening operations and livelihoods, the ongoing pandemic, and the forecasted recession to navigate. All familiar enough, all exhausting and unforgiving in their persistence.
Our clients have made heroic efforts, and made great progress despite – and sometimes because – of these pressures. But it comes at a cost. Many joined us in a relatively downbeat fashion. A spin in a supercar and hitting 230kmph+ on the track soon fixed that, and we soon had 50+ photos of smiling, massively upbeat leaders.
From here, we launched into a strategy session – with fresh energy and momentum driving the action forward. Ideas flowed. People were passionate about making change happen. By the end of the day, each went back to their business with joy – and concrete actions they were ready to take to make their organisations better.
This is the kind of experience that a strategy session should have.
Hampton Downs was also a reminder about executing strategy. It’s easy to get caught up in strategy-for-strategy’s sake. The quarterly boardroom meetings and staid decisions. Our goal was to leave that behind (at 230kmph) – and show what’s possible when you accelerate away from the familiar. To remind leaders that execution only happens when you have the right combination of elements working together.
Advisory.Works created strategic execution as a concept two decades ago. Since then we’ve helped countless business leaders set and pursue their strategic goals. We know the factors critical for success - why some succeed and why many fail. The difference is the Six Cs of Strategic Execution.
1. Clarity + Alignment
You and your team know clearly what a successful outcome looks like, and everyone at the table agrees that this is the most important outcome. Clarity + Alignment are necessary for any strategic project, because they form the guiding concept for any following actions.
You and your team agree that you’re going to contribute to the achievement of this strategic goal. You’re prepared to put this goal at the top of strategic priorities.
Ad-hoc strategy sessions don’t work. Your business has robust and clearly-defined meeting structures with strong agendas that keep your people accountable and on topic.
4. CalendarsThe timeline for your project is well-defined, and you have regular meetings booked in advance. Forebooking your calendars means accountability to the dates you’ve set, and that you respect the team’s commitment to the goal.
Your internal comms are planned – not happening when you remember them. Organisations that regularly communicate across their teams are those where everyone in the business also knows what’s happening. Guesswork and uncertainty are eliminated.Communication also means having courageous conversations and leaning into the ‘red’ progress updates where things aren’t going to plan. You’re prepared to address the issues at hand and take action to get results.
6. Consistent visibility
You have a system that lets you see how you’re tracking against your goals. A visual dashboard shows your people what progress they’re making towards your strategic objectives – and shows you when things are on or off track.We’ve seen – quarter after quarter for the last two decades – that these remain the necessary elements for strategic success. The patterns in our proprietary execution software Beyond make it clear: if all Six Cs are present, we guarantee you’ll achieve your outcomes.As part of the reflection process at Hampton Downs, we asked leaders to rate their performance over the last quarter or so, and grade themselves against all Six Cs. Being able to identify which aspect they were dropping spurred changes to how they were approaching their strategic goals. It became a lesson in regaining control of an organisation, identifying the parts that needed special attention, and when it’s important to put your foot on the gas.Advisory.Works’ immersive experiences have two key functions. The first is to take you away from the office and show you something challenging, a bit frightening, energetic, bold, and exciting. It shakes you up; it breaks you away from entrenched thinking patterns and grows your grey matter in the process. It helps you see untapped potential in your organisation as it is today.Secondly, immersing yourself in new, thrilling experiences is a good reminder of why we became business leaders in the first place: to fuel the kind of lives we want to live. When your organisation is building the world that you want to participate in and foster, then you know you’re on the right path.For the Hampton Downs experience, learning the difference between being in control and out of control – and when to choose each – was an execution lesson that can’t be taught in a boardroom.With that kind of clarity, moving forward becomes clear.We are all still figuring out what work looks like. Not just in a post-lockdown context either. As we discussed in a recent article, hybrid work is one aspect of that – but where your team is physically located is of far less relevance than why and how they work, and what for. Business is an ongoing experiment where the conditions keep changing. It’s up to us to decide what kind of results we want to realise.Frameworks, habits, and behaviours need to be challenged; ideas need to earn their keep. That’s what immersive strategy offers: a chance to step out into the world, away from the boardroom; to immerse yourself in life, and gain a fresh perspective in the process that will drive your business’s success.