For far too many organizations, the Strategic Planning process is only performed in a top-down way where leadership sets the strategy for the company in a vacuum. When this occurs, goals are often created in silos with a lack of critical input needed from key contributors to understand different dependencies across teams. The outcome is often a disconnected strategy from the onset.
And it makes sense why this happens across so many organizations. Building a Strategic Plan that aligns the vision set at the Leadership level with input from different teams is hard. It takes time, effort, and clear communication. However, the intentionality an organization takes in building their strategic plan is just as important as how it is executed upon.
So while it can be challenging for Strategy and Operations leaders to carve out the time needed to be intentional with their strategic plan, the dividends will be seen at the end of the year. Rather than a plan that was built at only one level of the organization, the feedback received across all areas of the business will help ensure alignment and engagement when the inevitable challenges arise throughout the course of a year.
In our most recent episode of Aspiring Ops, we had the opportunity to meet with Erik Hardenbergh, Senior Vice President of Strategy at the Pac-12 Conference, to hear how he prioritizes collaboration across a wide-range of key stakeholders.
From working with Conference Leadership to each of the Universities that are a part of the Pac-12 Conference and each of the different sports, Erik has learned to harness the power of feedback to identify and align priorities to unite around the Conference’s true north.
On this episode, Erik shares his journey from student athlete to Strategy leader at one of the preeminent voices in the collegiate landscape. He also provides a glimpse into what it looks like to work in the field of sports and entertainment, and the dynamic role Strategy leaders play in rallying around a shared vision.
Erik’s experience bringing together long-term vision with tactical execution across multiple stakeholders highlights the importance of seeking feedback early and often as a Strategy and Operations leader.
The input from these internal conversations allows Erik to better understand how each department’s work relates to the vision of the Pac-12 Conference, and in turn, create a level of transparency that allows individuals to understand how their work aligns with the direction for the conference.
“As you think about Strategy and Operations, it’s really about working with the entire organization,” says Erik. “One of the key roles that we can play is connecting everyone, and making sure we’re all on the same page. If we as a Strategy team can make our departments more successful, that’s everything we should be doing.”
In Strategy and Operations, we are constantly working to align organizations on the “big picture.” Erik’s advice helps leaders understand the power of collaboration. When developing a strategic plan that will be successful, seek feedback early and often to ensure that each member of the team has a clear line of sight into where the organization is headed.
To learn more about the Pac-12 Conference, and stay up to date with their exciting news, check them out here!
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