There are many keys to effectively executing an organization's strategy. In my opinion, the most crucial factor is assuring that the organization has the capacity to execute its mission, goals and objectives. I call this creating a strategy-capable organization and it highlights the role that talent plays in assuring strategic success. My work with many types and sizes of organizations emphasizes six key components to creating strategy-capableness (is that a word?).
Identify your organization's mission-critical roles
Not all jobs are created equal. Some roles play a pivotal role in identifying, creating and delivering value for the markets and customers outlined in the strategy. HR should help identify these mission-critical or pivotal roles and then differentially invest in assuring that the best talent is placed and retained in these roles.
Translate strategy into concrete goals for all employees
Traditional performance appraisals/evaluations are worthless. It's time to throw them out (and the ratings that go with them) and to replace them with a robust process of cascading goals down through every level of the organization. Managers and employees should be focused on having regular, meaningful discussions about goals, progress and next steps. Replace the ratings with calibration sessions or talent reviews.
Translate the strategy into concrete competencies critical to achieving results
Competencies are the knowledge, skills and abilities related to success in the organization. To deploy a given strategy, the competencies critical to success must be defined at every level of the company. Then the competencies can be used to integrate selection, promotion, and development processes that support and drive the strategy.
Assess your organization's capability to effectively deploy the strategy
Talent assessments (or what I prefer to call Organization Capability Assessment) are essential to assure that strategy can be deployed. Armed with knowledge of mission-critical roles and strategic competencies, candid and objective talent reviews can build an overall picture of the organization's ability to execute. Properly conducted assessments will highlight capability gaps and where talent investments will have the biggest payoff. Progress can be tracked and the capability assessment can be updated as the strategy unfolds.
Build the link between the business strategy and the talent strategy
Translating strategy into roles, goals and competencies, integrating talent processes with competencies and then assessing overall capability are the hallmarks of strategic talent management. It creates a clear line of sight from talent to strategy and allows the talent strategy (and HR) to become a driver of the business strategy.
Want to learn more? I will be doing a presentation on this topic at the 2015 Pennsylvania State SHRM Conference in September.