One of the biggest challenges in business is going from strategy to execution. 

It doesn’t matter how brilliant our strategy is…if we can’t execute, we spin our wheels and end up right where we started. 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone either. According to a recent survey from the Predictive Index, 52% of CEOs didn’t achieve their strategic goals in 2018. Yikes. 

There’s one element that business leaders always miss here: a people strategy. 

Going into 2020, leaders absolutely need a people strategy to support their business goals. Disruption is not only continuing but accelerating – if we’re going to successfully navigate turbulence and evolving markets, businesses need to be able to change on a dime.

Before we go further let’s take a moment to cover the basics of people strategies.

WHAT IS PEOPLE STRATEGY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? 

Typically, when we think about talent strategies and executing business strategy it goes something like this: 

  1. Develop a great business strategy. 
  2. Hire people with an awesome track record as necessary to execute that strategy. 
  3. Profit! 

But it’s not enough to hire or employ high-performers. We need people on our staff who match the unique nature of our business strategy. We also need to build teams with dynamics that foster next-level performance. 

For example, let’s say our business strategy focuses heavily on innovation. If this is the case, we need individuals who are very comfortable with risk at the executive level, as well as the rest of the organization. Without decision-makers willing to take risks, it’s very difficult to truly innovate! 

That’s what we mean when we say people strategy. It’s about expressing your business strategy in people terms and executing accordingly. In doing so, we’re able to close the gap between strategy and successful execution. 

BRINGING SCIENCE TO THE TABLE

For decades, we’ve relied on gut feel to make a lot of critical personnel decisions and guide our management approaches. Implementing a people strategy in this manner is incredibly difficult – how do we know which candidate from a group is most comfortable with taking risks? If we rely on gut feel, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. You simply can’t tell who’s risk-averse and who’s risk-prone from a resume or interview.

So how can leaders ensure they hire the right people for the right roles? The answer lies in scientifically-validated people analytics.  

Recently, we partnered with the Predictive Index, a talent optimization company. They provide businesses with a state-of-the-art analytics platform for understanding the behavior, drives, and needs of a given individual. With a 5-minute assessment, you can gain highly-accurate, relevant insights on a candidate or member of your staff. 

This is very helpful for candidate selection. It allows us to gain additional data points on candidates that would otherwise be impossible to obtain. We can predict how they will mesh with our unique team dynamics. Furthermore, we can analyze whether their behavioral profile fits our existing business strategy. 

It also provides valuable insights on how to best manage and inspire our employees. When you understand a team member’s drives and needs in the workplace, we can tailor our approach to achieve greater performance. For example, some individuals may prefer working through issues by discussion, whereas other team members would rather quietly reflect on a problem before acting. As leaders, understanding these preferences and needs helps us give employees what they need to succeed. 

Too many business leaders play chess as if it’s checkers – they treat every employee as if they are the same. In reality, each employee has their own strengths, weaknesses, and competencies, just like chess pieces. People analytics allow us to deeply understand these traits. People strategy is about taking advantage of these strengths and aligning them with our business strategy. 

YOUR PEOPLE MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN

At the end of the day, our people determine whether we succeed or fail. Our strategy, resources, and finances are nothing compared to our people on the ground putting plans into action. Everything goes through our people. They’re the ones who make it happen…or fail to make it happen. 

If businesses want to not only survive but thrive in 2020, they need a well-planned people strategy. A people strategy that’s carefully aligned with the business strategy allows organizations to nimbly adapt to changing markets and capitalize on new opportunities.

If you want to learn more about people analytics and people strategy, click the button below to download our eBook on the subject. Trust us – you don’t want to miss this.