Playing From the Same Sheet of Music
December 15, 2023
Playing From the Same Sheet of Music

Welcome to the last edition of The Pulse for 2023!

When we first launched The Pulse, we weren’t sure what to expect. But it’s been truly remarkable seeing the growth of this community over the past few months and the thousands of Strategy and Operations Leaders who continue validating we’re on the right track. Your replies, kind words, and suggestions have been wonderful.

With that said, let's get into it.

In this edition:

  • 🎵 Playing from the Same Sheet of Music
  • ⚡ Velocity partnership announcement
  • 📽️ New Elation Nation video
  • 🚀 December 2023 Innovation Issue
  • Link to previous editions

Playing From the Same Sheet of Music 🎼

As I reflect on 2023, it’s evident that nearly every company we work with at Elate has been impacted by the macro environment we’ve experienced this year. Whether grappling with the headwinds of a tougher economic landscape or riding the tailwinds of market movement and innovation, 2023 has been a year of relative extremes for many organizations.

Yet, amidst all of the change and uncertainty, one thing holds true: adversity reveals a lot about your company.

This often manifests on two fronts within an organization…

It begins with your organization’s Leadership. Drawing parallels to the personal adage, “A person's true character is revealed in the face of adversity,” I think this sentiment can oftentimes be applied to the Leadership charting the course for an organization. 🗺️

During periods with significant growing pains, does Leadership stay focused on the Mission, Vision and Values you are building towards? Do they stay consistent in communicating direction so that teams are aligned and working together through the changes? Or, are they more fixated on the glitz and glamor of everything coming up roses?

Similarly, in times of adversity marked by layoffs, budget restrictions, or hiring freezes, does Leadership retreat into the shadows? Does the lack of communication grow even louder in the midst of uncertainty?

Regardless of how 2023 unfolded for your company, one thing we are hearing from organization after organization right now is a sense of priority fatigue. Employees are worn out and exhausted. 😟

The shifting economic landscape has moved us from a season where every business was experiencing up and to the right growth into a season of capital efficiency, intentional spending, and doing more with less.

And while we at the Leadership level might understand the market dynamics or inner-company dialogue taking place that necessitates these shifts, I think it’s essential not to assume that employees share the same understanding.

A Chief of Staff recently shared, “Our employees are experiencing initiative whiplash. We tell them one thing is important, then there’s radio silence for six months until we declare a new priority with no explanation for the pivot.”

As you might expect, this is a brutal way to work.

Not only does it diminish the work being done today, but it also causes employees to feel insignificant. As if their work lacks a connection to the overall strategy or direction of the company.

As we approach the end of December and gear up for 2024, Strategy and Operations Leaders are running out of time to ensure employees aren't left behind.

More than that, we have a unique opportunity to rally folks around what it is that we’re all trying to accomplish together.

At Elate, we like to refer to it as having everyone playing from the same sheet of music. 🎼

What does that mean?

For us, it means taking the Operating Plan that you’ve been working on as a Leadership team and transforming it into a strategy that delivers on those business goals.

While this strategy is spearheaded by Leadership and oftentimes owned by the Strategy and Operations team, it needs to be communicated and made visible to the rest of the organization.

In a recent Pulse I wrote about the non-negotiables of having your strategic plan in place for the new year. One key aspect I can't stress enough is that while not every employee needs to be part of the planning process, there must be a game plan for sharing a unified view with them as you head into your company kickoff. Talk about an electric time to be at the company, especially if you're coming off of a great year, or more so, a year where you want to wipe the slate clean and get a refresh. 🎉

The company kickoff is the absolute best way to ensure your employees know what success looks like in 2024, what you’re setting out to achieve together, and how they can play a part in it.

One comparison I like to often make is that the company kickoff can serve as a way to harness the electricity and momentum being set by the Leadership team.

But like all electricity, it needs to be channeled properly. 💥

Simply sharing a bunch of incredible ideas without a game plan for how those are communicated or visible to employees is the easiest way to have your strategy met with resistance or a feeling that this is the status quo.

As we approach the new year, let's not treat the way we bring our strategy to life as an afterthought. As Strategy and Operations Leaders, we are responsible for the construction and execution of the plan. Now is the time for us to be good stewards of the plan and support it from day one.

To revisit an earlier analogy, Strategy and Operations Leaders have the opportunity to serve as conductors across the organization, ensuring those strategic notes are being read and played by all. 🎶

If you’d like to connect on how we’ve seen successful plans rolled out or communicated at a company kickoff, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to connect.

Partnership Announcement with Velocity Advisory Group ⚡

Last week, we officially announced a new strategic partnership with Velocity Advisory Group!

With over 700 successful partnerships, including collaborations with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Aflac, and United Way, Velocity has extensive experience working with leading organizations to bring their strategic planning processes and operating frameworks to life.

Velocity's approach to strategic planning aligns with ours at Elate, and together we will be able to offer comprehensive strategic planning programs, collaborate on new resources and content, and build an even greater community to meet the needs of Strategy and Operations Leaders.

Click here to learn more about the partnership and what it means for the future. 🚀

New Elation Nation Video 📽️

I’m happy to share another Elation Nation video, this time featuring Jeanene Bettner, COO and Managing Director of Distribution at Thornburg Investment Management.

Jeanene talks about her company’s use of Elate and the challenges they faced prior with their strategic processes (aka spreadsheets).

Today, more than 250 employees have visibility into how all of the various departments are doing against their key results and can finally understand how their individual role impacts the long-term goals of the company. Pretty cool.

You can view the rest of our videos on our Youtube playlist. Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for sharing your story, Jeanene!

Innovation Issue: Building & Executing a Connected 2024 Strategy 🚀

I wanted to share a link to our recent product update for those interested in keeping up-to-date on the platform we're building here at Elate.

We doubled-down on our latest feature, Hierarchy View, built a new integration with Smartsheet, and added some major enhancements to Advanced Reporting. One of those is the ability to link saved views (or filtered data) into your automated report sends. For example - you can now automate a weekly report of “At Risk” or “Behind” Objectives... just set it and forget it.

Here's a link to the full release notes. And if you're interested in seeing how this would translate with your plan, let me know.

A few resources you might be interested in 📚

And that concludes the last Pulse edition in 2023. I hope these last few editions have been helpful as you look towards 2024, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.