LSA Global Insights Newsletter

June 23, 2018

Surprising Strategy Communications Research for Leadership Teams

graphic of a man totally confused by too many messages

Strategy communications can make or break a company's ability to execute their plans.
Strategy communications are about creating employee understanding, belief and cohesion.  Being clear and consistent with strategy communications pays big dividends to the people AND to the business

Why Effective Strategy Communications Matter to the Business
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of:
  • Revenue growth
  • Profitability
  • Customer loyalty
  • Employee engagement
Why Effective Strategy Communications Matter to Employees
Our employee engagement data over the last three years shows that "employees trusting that leaders have set the right strategic course" has the second highest correlation to employee engagement right after leadership's perceived "commitment to making it a great place to work."
Additionally, employees tell us that it is difficult and frustrating to be expected to help move a strategic plan forward unless they fully understand and buy-into the:
  • Unique role that they play
  • Specific contribution that they make
  • Critical few reasons why the strategy will make them, their team and the company successful
Strategy Communications Research
Research by Harvard turned up some rather surprising data.  After analyzing over 60,000 survey responses, they expected to find that strategy was best understood and accepted by:
  • Higher-level employees
  • Those who were generally content with their compensation
  • Employees who had a positive view of their organization
And the results bore out those anticipated results. It makes sense to us that those who are more involved in creating the strategy would better understand and accept it. It also makes sense that more engaged employees tend to feel more connected to the company goals.
The Surprising Part
The surprising part was that top leadership had a far greater impact and much greater direct role on how well employees "got" the strategy than their immediate supervisors. While employees still want their direct supervisors help in translating the overall strategy for their team and for their job, they want to hear more directly and early on from top leaders about overall strategies, perspectives and trends to set the stage.
The Implications for Cascading Your Strategy
What does this mean to companies embarking on a new strategy that requires focus, commitment and perseverance? It means that leadership communication strategies probably need to be adjusted. 

Instead of having senior leadership explain the strategy to upper management who then relays the strategy to middle managers who are then tasked with cascading the strategy down to the front-line, leaders should plan to play a more active role across all levels and functions.
The Bottom Line
While some may balk at such a significant investment of a leader's time, what could be more important than making sure your company understands, believes in and is fully committed to your critical few strategic plans and priorities? Invest the time to ensure your employees:
  • Clearly understand the strategic priorities and the rationale behind them
  • Can articulate how their work directly contributes to the overall success of the strategy
  • Believe the strategy will lead to successful results
  • Are committed to implementing the strategy successfully across the company



Voice of the Customer

"Having tripled in size and recently merged, LSA helped our executive team with strategic clarity to increase our level of alignment, solidify our new direction and push our agency forward. As we look to rapidly scale, the clear and actionable priorities have really set us up for success. This is exactly what we needed to get to the next level."
Matt Britton | CEO | MRY, a Publicis Groupe Company

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Strategy Health Check to See Where You Stand


Businessman looking over a cliff to the horizon

Most leadership teams are generally happy with the strategy that they have created together. Once complete, it tends to make sense, and leaders are usually excited about a renewed sense of clarity and focus.

Leaders also typically assume that people will then be able to "go make it happen."

Experience tells us, however, that there is usually a pretty big gap between a leadership team creating a strategy and actually getting people to successfully implement it across the organization.

How clear is your strategy to those who will be charged with leading AND implementing it?

The assessment should take less than 5-7 minutes to complete. All answers are confidential.




About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


May 19, 2018

7 Ways to Stress Test Your Sales Strategy

Executive overlooking the city

It is difficult to consistently meet sales targets without a clear and meaningful direction that everyone is committed to make happen.

Yet, Many Sales Strategies Fall Short
While the majority of sales leaders (83%) agree with the need for a clear and compelling sales strategy, our research shows that too many sales teams (72%) move too quickly to meet quarterly revenue targets without having a clear, believable or implementable plan. Some sales leaders say they do not have the time. Others think sales quota combined with increased pressure and hard work should be enough. 

Strategic Sales Ambiguity 
When you ask sales teams about their strategy, ambiguity reigns. Sales teams consistently rank the sales strategy as being 50% less clear than sales leadership. Unfortunately the lack of strategic sales clarity not only hampers short-term sales performance but also long-term sales team health. An unclear sales strategy blurs priorities and trade-offs for sales teams. 

Unfortunately, most sales teams have just enough of a game plan to stay in the game...but not to win it.
Strategic Sales Clarity Matters
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of revenue growth, margin attainment, customer retention and sales team engagement. 

Organizations with higher levels of strategic sales clarity: 
  • Grow revenue 58% faster
  • Are 72% more profitable 
  • Retain customers 2.23-to-1 
  • Engage employees 16.8-to-1 
The Components of an Effective Sales Strategy
Effective sales strategies provide crystal clear alignment with the overall corporate strategy and create high levels of commitment to at least four fundamental questions: 
1.     Target Clients - What are our ideal target clients and markets where we should win 75% of the time?
2.     Unique Value Proposition - What is our unique differentiation that sets us apart from the competition in the eyes of our target buyers? 
3.     Success Metrics - How will sales success and failure be monitored, measured and rewarded? 
4.     Sales Plan - What are the critical few sales goals, roles, processes and actions that should lead to meeting or exceeding our targets? 
To succeed, sales teams and their key stakeholders must be crystal clear on sales goals (where the team is headed) and sales strategies (how it is going to get there).
 
It could be the right time for you to stress test your sales strategy.



Voice of the Customer

"We hired LSA to help ensure our sales strategy fully aligns with our business strategy to sustain our hardware business while driving high growth in software and services. LSA's ability to measure our level of strategic alignment, pinpoint areas of leverage and get the entire executive sales team to agree upon what matters most exceed our expectations. I would recommend them to any sales leader who wants to be set up for success."
Dan Dica | SVP Worldwide Sales | VASCO Data Security International 

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Sales Toolkit to Stay Above the Competition

graphic of a man with a money parachute over the city

Effective sales leaders grow revenue and profits through organizational alignment by ensuring the go-to-market sales strategy is clear, building a high performance sales culture and attracting, developing, engaging and retaining top sales talent.
  • At a strategic level, good sales leaders set the right course, create clear goals, roles, success metrics and career paths. 
  • At a cultural level, good sales leaders ensure that the sales culture is not only healthy, but 100% aligned with the sales and business strategies. 
  • At a talent level, good sales leaders consistently attract, develop, engage and retain top sales talent that fits.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


April 28, 2018

4 Keys to Present Like a Rock Star to Senior Executives

A rock star is on stage with a wildly cheering audience

Senior Executives are one of the hardest-hitting crowds you will ever face as a presenter.

Here's what Senior Executives say that it takes to get the results you want. 

"If the first two minutes are good... I might give you five more."

What Makes Presenting to Executives So Challenging? 
We find that executive-level presentations typically have four characteristics that make them more challenging than your run-of-the-mill presentations.  

High Speed
Most executives are maddeningly time-pressed. Their schedules are jam-packed and they must make high-stakes decisions quickly. Even though you may feel you have important things to share, leaders simply don't have the time to listen to things that aren't 100% relevant to the strategic priorities they deal with.

High Expectations
Companies expect a lot from their senior executives; and senior executives expect a lot from their staff. Because of their time pressures, executives have high expectations for anyone presenting to them to be quick, clear, concise and compelling. 

High Stakes
High-powered executives make high-powered decisions and expect high-powered results. If you are presenting to an executive, the chances are that the situation, challenges and implications are visible, important and complex. 

High Level
Lastly, executives tend to work on the big picture and expect their presenters to think, speak and relate at their level...that is, until they have a detailed question related to one of your high level points. Stay at thirty thousand feet but be prepared to duck below the clouds to answer specific questions. 

If your presentation is short and insightful, you will be heard. Otherwise you have missed your opportunity to make an impact.

Four Keys to Present Like a Rock Star
We believe clear communication is a sign of clear thinking.  Walk into your presentation with the full confidence that whatever gets thrown at you, you can handle it because you got their attention, kept it simple, told a compelling story and practiced like a rock star. 

Voice of the Customer

"We selected LSA Global's Presenting to Executives Training over 5 other companies to help key executives improve their overall communication and executive presentation capabilities. Feedback has been great. Everyone had a great experience and many of them are feeding some of the lessons into their teams. I highly recommend LSA to any executive team looking to better organize and more effectively deliver key messages to C-Level individuals."
Todd Power | Office of the CEO | SAP AG.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Management Toolkit

Carpentry tools are pictured on a wood platform

Effective managers create organizational alignment by ensuring strategic clarity, building high performance cultures and differentiating top talent.
  • At a strategic level, good managers set the right course, create clear goals, roles, success metrics and career paths. 
  • At a cultural level, good managers commit to making it a great place to work and value people as their most important resource while ensuring that their direct reports are held accountable and recognized for their contributions. 
  • At a talent level, good managers consistently attract, develop, engage and retain top talent that fits.


About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


March 25, 2018

The Top 14% of Skills for High Performing Leaders


A businessman is tracking his progress as he acquires The Top 14% of Skills for High Performing Leaders

What Makes an Effective Leader?
Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written about how to lead well...not to mention all the leadership development programs that purport to prepare new leaders for the challenges that lie ahead. 

While it can be daunting to try to assess whether leaders have what it takes to be successful, developing successful leaders can and should be a competitive advantage for companies. 

Leadership Gaps Exist
Our clients tell us important leadership gaps exist in their organizations, and that they feel unprepared to adequately meet current and future business needs. 

Even though the productivity gains and positive cultural implications of internal promotions have been well documented, too many organizations lack a defined leadership pipeline and succession plan for critical roles. 

Leadership Training Investments Are High
While companies report that leadership gaps exist, the investment in management and leadership training remains the highest spend (approximately 35%) of any corporate training investments. How do you connect this disconnect?

Forty-two Leadership Competencies
While all businesses are unique, leadership competencies can be used to effectively select, develop and promote high performing leaders. Over the years, our clients have identified forty-two leadership competencies that play a role in being an effective and high performing leader depending upon your specific strategy, culture and situation.  

A long list to be sure. 

While the list is certainly not perfect or exhaustive, it does highlight a major leadership challenge - leaders cannot be great at forty-two things and companies cannot invest the time or money in all forty-two competencies.

Some Leadership Skills Matter More Than Others
Our twenty-five years helping leaders identify and build the skills to be high performers has taught us that some leadership skills matter more than others - especially when people take on a new leadership role. And the leadership skills that matter most at one company may not matter most at another because of the different strategies and cultures. 

 Leadership is very contextual.

Voice of the Customer

"We engaged LSA Global to help redesign our core management curriculum. Not only did LSA provide masterful facilitation, but they consistently grounded and connected our thinking back to business relevance and impact. The results were innovative, thought provoking and exciting - exactly what we needed. I can't thank them enough."
Amanda Garrett | Associate Director, Talent Management | Gilead Sciences

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Leadership Toolkit


An array of workman's tools that show what is needed in a Leadership Toolkit

Effective leaders create organizational alignment and growth.  They take care of the business and their people by:
  • Ensuring strategic clarity
  • Building high performance cultures
  • Differentiating top talent 

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


February 24, 2018

3 Sales Trends Impacting Your Sales Strategy

3 lights shine on Sales Trends Impacting Your Sales Strategy

The world of sales continues to change for most sales teams and sales leaders.

Sales Success in the Past
Sales success was once simply a matter of effectively and consistently pushing a product's features and benefits. It was all about you and your products. 

To succeed in the past, your sales force needed to:
  • Understand the features and benefits of your offering compared to the competition
  • Build solid customer relationships 
  • Keep a high level of sales activities - i.e. calls, follow-ups, meetings  
Sales Success Today
Today, sales teams cannot meet growth targets or outsell the competition based solely upon their offerings, their relationships or their activity levels. Today, it is all about your customer and your customers' customer. 

Today, your sales force must:
  • Understand and identify your customers' most pressing business priorities
  • Link your solutions to your customers' priorities in way that makes sense for their business, culture and budget 
  • Articulate the value your company adds compared to the available alternatives - including doing nothing
High performing sellers uncover a customer's true needs and consult with them to co-create the best way to help them to succeed - both personally and professionally. 

How This Impacts Sales Strategy - Easy to Sell vs. Easy to Buy
In the past, most sales strategies focused on their own products and services and how to make them scalable, replicable and easy to sell. Accordingly, their sales processes and methodologies were designed to support how your sales team wanted to sell and how to quickly move deals through the pipeline.  

While sales velocity is still important, now successful sales teams must focus on go-to-market sales strategies, processes and methodologies that make it easier for their target clients to buy. 

That means focusing: 
  • Less on "prospecting everyone" and more on target customer qualification
  • Less on "always be closing" and more on customer value-add, experience and retention  
  • Less on "off-the-shelf" offerings and "order taking" and more on personalized sales experiences and customized solutions designed by a trusted adviser  
  • Less on how you want to "sell" and more on how your customer wants to buy  


Voice of the Customer

"LSA's ability to get a group of 20+ executives from around the globe on the same page, push their thinking to new heights, and ensure an executable plan was excellent. I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their leaders and sales execution to the next level."
Rob Sturgeon | Executive Vice President | ServiceSource

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned