How Widgets Connect Strategy with Execution
Effective execution of strategic objectives is a common challenge faced by many leaders I work with.
A McKinsey global survey indicated that 60% of respondents thought they were not effective at translating strategic priorities into action, highlighting issues with unclear accountability among other reasons.
Having facilitated several quarterly strategic workshops with leadership teams, most leaders seem to have a 1-year (and some of them even have a 3-year) Revenue target. However, there is an awkward 30-second silence, followed by a lengthy debate, when I ask the question: “What will be the total widgets we will have to sell in order to achieve that Revenue target?”
The Role of the Widgets
We can consider widgets as the tangible measurable output generated to achieve our expected results. And it can be implemented at different levels of the organisation to align targets, priorities and resources needed across functions and departments.
Strategic level: one way to identify a company’s strategic widget is to look at our economic engine – Profit per X, where the X’s are the tangible widgets that flow through your organisation (usually as a result of the Sales function) and will help us impact revenue, control costs, and ideally we want more of those X’s as we scale.
Departmental (functional) level: such as Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Finance. The key outputs expected to achieve the department’s goals and priorities, that will contribute to the company’s goals and priorities.
Individual level: aligning the key outputs each role must generate to achieve the expected results (measures of success KPIs included in their Role Scorecard. Download our Role Scorecard tool here) to contribute to their departmental goals.
How to use Widgets at Different Organisational Levels
One of our clients, who have been working with widgets for over a year now, not only do they track, report and forecast on the company’s widgets, but they also implemented this concept into their money-making functions.
Each key Function has a key measure of success that directly contributes to the company’s widgets that generate the revenue and profitability targets.
During our Quarterly strategic workshops, we set widget-based quarterly targets and define the top 3-5 company priorities to achieve those targets. Overlaying Widgets and Priorities answers the question:
What do we (as a company) need to focus on next quarter to achieve our quarterly widgets and financial targets?
And what do we need to focus on quarter on quarter to achieve our yearly widgets and financial targets?
As part of the Execution rhythm, the Leadership Team meets weekly and part of their agenda is to discuss the progress of the company widgets and its financial impact. Then, each Function also meets weekly and discusses its own widgets progress, priorities and corrective actions to stay on track with the expected Function targets.
More on how to set up an effective Leadership weekly meeting here.
Widgets act as a bridge between strategy and execution, providing a tangible and measurable output a company and its functional departments can integrate into their forecast and use to achieve alignment and galvanise people around.
To learn more about how you can connect your strategy with your execution with widgets, please contact us.