Strategy Execution in the Time of Coronavirus
Feb. 1 was the start of Catalant’s fiscal year. Shortly after our executive team signed off on our 2020 Strategic Plan, COVID-19 happened.
Catalant Internal Launch Series
As the Catalant team adjusted to working remotely, we launched our core platform, one of our 7-year-old company’s most important software releases since our founding. At the same time, our company leadership team was rapidly adjusting goals and adapting execution plans, all while keeping our people engaged and trying to get visibility into what work was happening and whether it was getting us closer to our goals. The answer was obvious: we had to use our own software.
I assembled and deployed a team to launch the Catalant Platform internally to manage and execute our 2020 Strategic Plan. Three months after launch, we’re already seeing the impact — and learning a ton in the process. Leaders are using the platform — and getting program support from our team — to execute work and align our people to our strategy. We’re collecting more data on our work, workforce, and strategic initiatives than ever, and we’re excited to get the insights we need to keep improving how it all gets done.
Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Catalant Technologies
Internal Strategic PMO
Customer-Facing Program Manager
In this series, Catalant’s internal program leads share our journey of deploying and using the Catalant core platform across our company to execute our strategic plan. Expect candid reflections, key learnings, helpful assets, and insights into the results generated from using our software and program design to execute our strategy and orchestrate work across a remote, distributed workforce.
Getting Going with Our Strategic Plan
February 1st marked the beginning of Catalant Technology’s fiscal year. After a rigorous planning cycle, our executive team signed off on our Company’s 2020 Strategic Plan, landing on five strategic initiatives to put us on our path to achieving our key objectives.
The initiatives represent the most important building blocks for realizing our strategy. The function of each initiative is to drive focus and alignment across the company’s work and resources. Each initiative was further defined with:
- An Initiative Owner: a company leader appointed by our executive team, who is responsible for defining sub-initiatives, prioritization, assigning resources and achieving the initiative goals;
- Initiative Goals: 2-3 of the company’s most critical performance-based objectives for 2020, unique to a given initiative; and
- Work Breakdown: a set of sub-initiatives and cascading projects, all treeing back up to a given initiative.
It was immediately apparent that, like our customers, we needed to centralize these cross-functional initiatives within one platform to drive company alignment, visibility and manage the complete strategy execution process.
Given my background in business operations, I was asked to join the team to oversee and coordinate the various projects within each strategic initiative, to help drive the execution of our company’s plan and drive platform adoption.
With the oversight of Dan McNamara, VP of Customer Experience, and the working team member, Sarah deSilva, we used best practices from our customers to tailor our approach to launching our software internally to drive the successful execution of our strategic plan. The program kicked off at the beginning of March, as as a first step, we established program goals beyond achieving our initiative goals.
As we had already started executing our Strategic Plan, our immediate goal was to upload our initiative plans and train Initiative Owners to begin using the platform to start managing their work. As a second phase, we onboarded Catalant‘s 200+ employees. Within the two month span, we were on our way to aligning the three key elements of strategy execution — strategy, resources, and work — and gathering data to input into our value model (more to come on this!) to measure the impact of the platform on our execution effectiveness.
Two months was an aggressive timeline, but a critical milestone to complete in order to gain continuous, real-time visibility into the work required to execute against our plan, make better decisions about work and accomplish our goals.
What came next in the story no one could have predicted. COVID-19 disrupted all aspects of Catalant’s day-to-day and work life. Virtually overnight our traditional approach to work was changed. The disruption validated our mission internally — and to our customers.
Meanwhile, the pressure to get our platform up-and-running intensified. Ensuring that our strategic work stayed on track during an uncertain time where we’re all disconnected raised this priority for our executive team. Still, we continued to charge ahead with executing our company’s strategy within our platform and indexing the skills and interests of all of our employees.
Despite timelines and unforeseen obstacles, in the three months since launching, we’ve onboarded all Catalant employees to the platform and started managing our most strategic work from within the platform. As put by Pat Petitti,
Using the platform has already helped us realize how critical something like this is to ensuring we keep our strategic work on track during an uncertain time where we’re all working from home.”
Next up in the series, we’ll explore why it’s more important than ever for leaders to have real-time insights into the progress of work toward achieving key objectives, especially as their workforces are working in remote, distributed teams. We’ll review each phase of our internal launch and the value the platform is driving in our strategy execution efforts.
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