How Workboard Gets Enterprise Employees on the Same Page

A vast majority of organizations fail to achieve their strategies when workforces do not understand how they can contribute to them.

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Workboard is new outfit with a message that might seem obvious for enterprises but isn’t always followed: You can’t be successful unless everybody in the company understands the correct business strategy and is pulling together in the same direction.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based startup has the ambitious goal of creating a new IT category called active strategy management to help the C-suite at fast-growth startups and business leaders at enterprise companies to accelerate their growth strategies.

To this end, Workboard has launched a new cloud-service platform that provides the tools for companies to do exactly this. Go here to see a demonstration.

It's Called Active Strategy Management

“We do what we call active strategy management. In a lot of organizations, strategy is an academic exercise that is understood by few people at the top,” CEO Deidre Paknad told eWEEK. “In a world where marketplaces change quickly, strategy has to evolve more quickly. This evolves in the boardroom and it never reaches beyond the boardroom.

“We help organizations iterate on their strategic priorities faster, and actuate those priorities through the organization—so that every team, group and function knows their local version of those strategic priorities and see how they all tie together. In the end, that’s a results network.”

The software enables even fast-growing companies to break through strategy-execution speed barriers to achieve more with less time and capital, Paknad said. Workboard’s first-of-its-kind Active Strategy Management package helps organizations iterate and activate their strategic priorities more quickly.

The solution enables business leaders to refresh their strategic priorities and success metrics with greater agility, drive alignment, measure progress continuously and execute on their strategic priorities. By iterating and achieving strategic plans, users gain a sustainable competitive advantage in rapidly evolving markets, Paknad said.

The application uses visual tools. One, called a Running Business Review, replaces the old-school QBR (quarterly business review), Paknad said.

"Within four or five strategic priorities of the organization, your can chart your current progress toward them; you can select for particular KPIs (key performance indicators) that are important and graph those," she said. "There's a tray that shows your risk. So the things that as an executive are just out of your line of sight but which are at risk of compromising your outcomes--those float up to the top by themselves; you don't have to hunt them down.

"You can also select which work change or key initiative you want to monitor, because the execution in them drives your results toward your strategic priorities. That running review is really the whole business."

Already Has Big-Name Customers

Workboard, which opened for business in 2013, is already making an impression with a roster of clients ranging from enterprise giants such as Microsoft and IBM to startups.

The company recently announced that Influitive, Tasktop and TrendKite--three new and agile tech companies--have adopted Workboard to maximize achievement, alignment and accountability across their teams to realize optimized business success. A link to a video about Trendkite is available here to add some context.

Fast-growth startups know that iterating their strategic priorities quickly, based on their insights and experience, is key to success; this is a primary advantage that young, agile companies have over incumbents. Today, even large enterprises recognize that their strategies must evolve at a much faster pace as disruption and change accelerate in virtually every market sector.

After a certain size, most companies struggle to effectively clarify, communicate and measure strategy well—simply because they get too big and bloated with layers of management.  MIT Sloan reported that only 22 percent of senior executives understand their strategic priorities and effectively translate them to their teams, and that a mere 13 percent of frontline managers understand and can align their teams’ efforts to strategic priorities.

Everybody Must Understand the Company Goals

It’s no surprise, then, that a vast majority of organizations fail to achieve their strategies when workforces do not understand how they can contribute to them.

“Startups succeed at creating new markets and disrupting existing ones because they know time and capital are scarce, so they focus zealously on the mission,” Paknad said. “As they grow, it becomes more difficult to ensure everyone is living the mission and the metrics and knows how to contribute.  These issues are compounded ten-fold in larger enterprises.

“Savvy business leaders systematically activate, measure and manage strategic priorities just as they instrument their sales, customer success and demand-gen processes for transparency and measurement. In fact, this is how and why those disparate processes come together to deliver strategic business outcomes.”

For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...