Lack of Strategic Clarity – Only One Reason Your Strategy is Failing

Two shoes just short of a finish line implying they won't make it across without strategic clarity

Much has been written about strategic clarity and why it is so critical to effective strategy execution. When strategies are unclear or unbelievable, plans never make it across the finish line. And what good is a strategy if it is not translated into actions that carry the organization forward?

We know that executing strategy is difficult.  A study by IBM found that less than 10% of well formulated strategies are effectively executed. For a strategy to make a true difference, it must be properly executed.  To be properly executed, it must be understood, believable and implementable enough by all key stakeholders.

Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  Surprisingly, few firms communicate their strategy so that the rank and file (and even top management) understand it in terms that help them take actions and make decisions in alignment with corporate strategic objectives. The first step toward successful strategy execution is making sure everyone knows the plan and how their job fits into it.

Beyond lack of strategic clarity, here are four other reasons we found that strategies are ineffectively executed:

  1. Lack of coordination and trust across functions
    Our clients report real disconnects on how things get done as their employee populations increase and the complexity of their business grows. While most people feel like they can depend on their own teams to deliver on promises, the vast majority do not have the same confidence in co-workers from other functions or in different regions. This is often a significant problem for strategy implementation that must count on collaboration across functions and geographies. Conflicts between departments inevitably occur and gum up the works. The lack of coordination causes delays, duplication of effort and a breakdown of accountability.
  2. Lack of agility
    Even the best laid plans cannot foresee the future. Strategies need to be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected internal and external developments…both to change direction to overcome unexpected obstacles or to capitalize on unanticipated opportunities. Many executives rely too strictly on the original plan and consider any deviation a wrong move. But a company needs to be able to adapt to changes that threaten success or to grab onto an opportunity that supports their plan for success. When it comes to strategy execution, change agility
  3. Lack of distributed leadership
    We believe that leaders should guide, not drive, execution. When strategy implementation resides in a more distributed leadership model, execution is more likely to succeed for the long-term. Yes, a strong CEO can be effective in a top-down approach at the outset. But the real decisions and actions that support ongoing strategy execution reside at the management level. Empower your managers to do the right thing without having to report up all the time, slow down execution and undermine their ability to get things done efficiently.
  4. Lack of encouragement for worthy cultural behaviors beyond financial performance

Certainly, performance matters and a record of high performance should be recognized and rewarded. But there are other behaviors that deserve encouragement also. Simple performance based upon financial targets alone is not enough to create meaning for most employees.  A successful organization needs employees who work well with one another, value learning and innovation, and promote open communication.

Strategic clarity is the starting point to strategy execution. But it needs to be supplemented by coordination across functions, flexibility, distributed leaders and support of desired behaviors.

To learn more, please download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

Comments are closed.

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More