Managing a small team to deliver that all important strategy. Some ideas.

Like many organisations, the one I work for is engaged in a round of strategic planning – why are we here, where are we going and how will we get there? 

Most stratagems, I am told, fail! This is usually down to what’s called a “strategy execution gap”. I take this to mean that you’ve thought lots about what you’re aiming for but much less about how you are going to do get there and what resources you need.

Another reason for failure could be that many people believe that there is a thing called simplicity. I’ve never really believed that anything is truly simple – even if it’s made to look so. We should be full of joy that the world is endlessly complex and all the more beautiful for it. H.L.Mencken said “for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this post is to share the output of a fairly recent creative brainstorm (with the permission of the participants). It was in the context of a small operational team considering its needs within an organisation.

(These answers, though clear and simple, may be wrong!)

Value talented people

  • Make sure everyone is happy and focussed
  • Keep everyone communications and coordinated
  • Provide them with the right tools for the job
  • Appreciated everyone, each for their unique talents
  • Listen, consult and make no assumptions
  • Make it fun (or at least enjoyable)

Make participation and inclusion a habit

  • Build a diverse team with complementary talents
  • Include all stakeholders in the processes and decision making where possible
  • Value both big and small ideas and contributions
  • Have no favourites, enjoy difficult but honest people

Build creative partnerships

  • Build networks of talent and expertise both internally and externally
  • Transform talking into concrete action as quickly as possible
  • Take care to share ownership of projects with respect for other stakeholders
  • Be open about your agenda and prepared to negotiate and trade
  • Confess to gaps, be willing to combine effort and assets for greatest impact
  • Share knowledge, stories and information generously
  • Be hospitable

Create a culture of innovation

  • Fail often and learn lots
  • Make resources available to encourage innovation
  • Find new approaches to old work
  • Value disruption and change
  • Build on the ideas of other people

Provide the best resources

  • Provide the best and up to date tools
  • Make decisions based on the highest quality information
  • Create spaces for dialogue and sharing ideas
  • Seek out the best training possible
  • Don’t be afraid to pay for good stuff
  • Realistic budgets

Published by Mark

Mark Waddington is a former BBC broadcaster and producer. He now works for the Diocese of Leeds as Urban Mission Officer. If you would like to get in touch email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *