Do you need to accelerate your ability to execute against goals?
Speed and agility are often critical factors in achieving strategic objectives—but there are a few situations when it matters most:
- Scaling your financial function and operational capabilities in support of aggressive growth aspirations
- Turning around a distressed company
- Standing up a carved-out business unit
- Integrating acquisitions or joint venture operations
- Preparing to go public
In each of these scenarios, your business is likely tackling a number of challenges concurrently, which creates stress points and requires everyone to juggle multiple responsibilities.
To rise above the fray and effectively complete strategic, time-sensitive initiatives, you’ll need to bring together the right team with the required bandwidth to set goals, build a roadmap, and execute against it. If the process starts poorly—with the wrong team for the task—you’ll likely slow the process, dull success, and even miss significant deadlines and/or opportunities.
A SWAT team could be your solution.
What exactly is a SWAT team? Special weapons and tactics are the origin of the acronym. In business, you can think of it as a specialized, cross functional team brought together to help solve a specific problem or critical issue within a specific time frame.
In this edition of Executive Issues & Insights, we outline how to accelerate your progress against high-stakes goals with a high-functioning SWAT team of your own.
Weigh your opportunity costs
Bringing in a team of top tier executives is not an inexpensive solution—and you might be hesitant to do so because of cost. Start by understanding the value of addressing your needs both quickly AND effectively. Then determine whether the value of this approach is worth the additional expense. In many cases, the answer is ‘yes’.
Supplementing your internal team to accomplish your objectives offers benefits on multiple fronts t: the ability to rapidly pursue even more opportunities, reducing burnout, and gaining a framework for how to tackle issues that can be replicated by your internal team in the future.
Start with discovery up front
When you’re trying to accomplish a lot in a short time period, it’s important to start with a complete assessment of your situation. The assessment should include everything from leadership capabilities to operational ability to execute against strategy, to the likelihood of goal attainment under current circumstances.
It’s often best to let a third party lead this assessment, to avoid inherent biases and to examine the business more holistically. Your partner should interview employees, get to know the company, and create a roadmap of opportunities for the business. This roadmap rallies your troops around a common agenda—so no one loses sight of the business’ goals or their role in achieving them.
Assign a highly competent project leader
It can be challenging at best to coordinate the many moving pieces of a major project—and it often requires a full-time resource. This project leader must coordinate all parties, ensure strong, clear, and regular communication, and report out regularly on measurable progress against goals. The nature of the work will help determine the ideal background and expertise for the lead. This role is critical for smooth execution against your roadmap.
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Stage the work properly
Your SWAT team should include mature experts who can rapidly understand the problem, risks, and stakes; know what to do, as well as how and when to do it; and have experience working well together and with other people. By building a roster of the ‘best of the best’, you reduce skills gaps and blind spots while increasing agility.
Effectively staging team resources is also required for efficient use of a SWAT team. Deploying in a flexible fashion ensures each individual can bring value to their area of expertise at the right time in the process. For example, if you are reorganizing your business to effectively scalability, you may want to assign a CFO as the project leader given their typical expertise in leading, or closely interacting, with core back-office functions. They may perform the initial assessment and determine how and when executives in other functional areas such as HR and IT should participate as part of the team.
Don’t underestimate the power of an established team
It’s common for businesses to cobble together their own team of internal expertise and/or disparate consulting resources to get important things done. However, it’s challenging for a team that hasn’t previously been in the trenches together to function smoothly from the start. Executives who have already worked on a variety of high-stakes projects together can leverage common experience to improve your outcomes. Established teams that are pre-coordinated and familiar with each other’s styles and abilities are typically far more effective than newly assembled teams.
Effective SWAT teams generally have similar traits, such as self-discipline, perseverance, a bias to action, and an ability to coach others as well as work with them. Equally important, an experienced team can help you to avoid common pitfalls—such as scope creep and deviating from strategic focus.
Reach your corporate goals faster—and with tactical precision
Big problems don’t always need a big team to solve them. Small, agile teams of experts are often the key to solving your biggest issues.
We can help you assemble the perfect SWAT team for your scenario. Whether you need finance, human resources, IT, marketing, sales, governance—or all of the above—we have exactly the executives you need. Contact us today.