Having your staff own your strategy

Having your staff own your strategy

In my semi-retired position, I sit on many civic boards. The pay isn’t so great, but it is enriching. One of the biggest challenges I see quite frequently is the lack of buy into the strategy of the organization. I seem more conscious of it now, but as I think back to being involved in the management of a ski area this trait was quite common as well there.

I often write about repeating the vision or mission, which is essential so that people understand and are reminded the why of the ski area’s existence and the how and what the ski areas does. However, clarity of mission is not often communicated and the how of the mission is not defined nor discussed. Without that clarity it is hard to build the commitment and the accountability, which makes for productive work and great teams.
I’ll share with you a recent article from “strategy & business” by Elizabeth Doty written on this subject titled; How to help your employees own your strategy. It is an easy read and makes good sense. Some terms are more academic than what we’d use in the field, but I believe you’ll get the point.
If you think about the four points of focus shared in the article, how often have you employed these in your discussion with your staff?
Building two-way communications is not new in these newsletters. Feedback is one of my crucial points of coaching, but real two-way communications is more than just feedback; it is a conversation that has depth. Through such connections you build trust because you both will experience the challenge of conflict in that you will challenge one another on points of the discussion.
In this process, you as the leader, have to ask for commitment; this becomes the commitment moment. The staff person if seriously engaged in the two-way communication and feels that you were too, will make a sincere commitment when asked.
Think comprehensively about the team’s responsibility to the commitment. Staff should be able to share how they best can contribute to that shared commitment of the group.
Like most everything in business, this is a living process. Strategies can be dynamic; you need to able to anticipate and respond with new discussions that rework the commitment to the new strategy. Because it is living, keep it simple and flexible.
It all is common sense, but not thinking it through and staying on focus is the failure of most management. Reinforcing the how and what should be your management compass, stay true to heading, and you will find leading the team fun and worthwhile.

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


Please click on the images to learn more

Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

Please click on the images to learn more.

Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

Please click on the images to learn more.


The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

Please click on the images to learn more.


  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.