Where Do You Stand on These Strategy Execution Readiness Questions?
Is your leadership team and their direct reports seriously “in it to win it”? Many leaders say the right things, but when push comes to shove, they rank low on fundamental strategy execution readiness questions.
Corporate Strategy Execution Readiness Research
The data on corporate strategy execution readiness is pretty sobering.
- Our organizational alignment research found that CEOs perceive their corporate strategies to be twice as clear as the vice presidents and directors just one level below their executive team.
- IBM reported that less than 10% of well-crafted corporate strategies are being successfully implemented across organizations.
The most common corporate strategy execution readiness mistakes leaders make relate to an overreliance on strategy communication vs. active stakeholder involvement and overestimating the amount of strategic alignment from their peers. If you want your strategy to be consistently implemented across your organization, ensure that all key stakeholders understand, believe in, and are committed to the strategic plan for success before you “roll it out.”
7 Strategic Execution Readiness Questions
A strategy that never gets implemented is not worth the paper it was written on. Successful leaders invest the time and effort to translate strategies into the critical few worker attitudes, beliefs, actions, and behaviors required to see it through. Here are seven strategy execution readiness questions to ask to ensure that the people you count on to realize your strategy are fully committed and engaged.
- Is Your Strategy Clear Enough?
Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations. To be successfully executed, strategic priorities and plans must be understood enough, believable enough, and implementable enough by all stakeholders.
Can everyone responsible for strategy execution articulate plans for success and why they make sense for your unique situation?
- Are Your People Fully On Board?
Based upon change management simulation data, we know that strategic change does not happen through announcements, slogans, communications, and townhalls. People at work change (1) when they are actively included in the strategy design process, and (2) when their environment explicitly supports and reinforces the new ways of working.
You will know you are headed in the right direction when all the key stakeholders required to execute your strategy are not only ready and willing to execute your strategy, but also motivated and able to pull it off.
Leadership simulation assessments are a proven way to assess the leadership capabilities required to drive strategies forward. Where do your leaders stand?
- Is Your Current Culture Helping or Hindering Your Strategic Direction?
Your strategies must go through your people and culture to get fully implemented. Corporate culture — how work truly gets done — accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies. How people think, behave, and work will make or break strategy execution.
Any real workplace transformation will fall flat unless you include plans to shift the mindsets, beliefs, and business practices required to help and not hinder strategic progress.
Have you assessed your organizational culture to see where you stand vis-vis your strategic ambitions?
- Are Your Leaders and Key Influencers Ready to Walk The Talk?
Employees watch and emulate trustworthy leaders and consistent high performers. Your leaders and key influencers must model the behaviors that are designed to promote the strategy. It’s not enough to describe the desired behaviors; leaders must visibly set the example for others to follow through their words and actions.
Are your leaders modeling the way?
- Is There Enough Transparency and Accountability?
When strategies change, employee behaviors must change accordingly. Changing the behavior of employees is not easy. Behavior change takes clarity, commitment and, critically, high levels of accountability with high levels of support.
Make sure that you hold both leaders and employees accountable for progress toward the goals and provide them with the resources, time, and support required to be successful.
Have you created a culture of accountability and a culture of transparency to support your strategic priorities?
- Do Employees Get the Links Between What They Do and the Strategic Objectives?
When employees have a clear line of sight between what they do and how their efforts contribute, they are not only much more engaged, but they also have the required context to make strategic decisions during times of change.
Can all your employees describe how their day-to-work contributes to organizational and personal success?
- Is the Definition of Success and Failure Clear Enough?
We are surprised how often executives and teams cannot answer how high performance is defined and measured. While OKRs can be a powerful tool, we find all too often that strategic objectives are either too high-level to be meaningful or just table stakes. The right amount of performance pressure, rewards, and consequences can make all the difference between average and exceptional results.
Are high performance expectations where they need to be to meet the challenges that you face?
The Bottom Line
When you can answer “yes” to the above questions, you are ready to move from strategy design to strategy execution. If not, you have some serious work to do before you begin to act.
To learn more about strategy execution readiness, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy