Ready to Move from Strategy to Action?
After a successful strategy retreat, smart leaders ensure that everyone is ready to fully accept and act upon the key strategic priorities in a way that makes sense to the people and the business. That means meeting people where they are and navigating people’s willingness and motivation levels to think, behave, and act differently. To move from strategy to action, leaders and their teams must have the confidence and competence to implement the plan.
We call that leadership team alignment. Are your leaders and their direct reports truly ready for the challenge ahead?
What We Know about Strategy Execution Readiness
Our own exhaustive organizational alignment research and decades of experience revealed that CEOs’ perception of the readiness for action of their leaders is faulty. On average, CEOs believe that their corporate strategies are twice as clear as their direct reports perceive them to be. This lack of strategic clarity is a major reason why IBM found that fewer than one-in-ten well-crafted strategies are successfully implemented.
Unless you have high levels of strategic clarity where the majority of key stakeholders and influencers understand, believe in, and are committed to implementing the strategy you propose, you should NOT try to move from strategy to action. While you may initially feel like you are making progress by “moving quickly,” our research found that the feeling of progress will be short-lived. Frustrated, misaligned, and complacent people do not have the desire or bandwidth to drive meaningful change and lasting with their teams.
How to Assess Employee Readiness to Move from Strategy to Action
Even in open and honest cultures, employees during our organizational culture assessments report that they are wary of sharing their honest feelings and concerns when strategies shift. Leaders need to determine where people in their organization rank on a scale that measures employees’ readiness to consistently act in alignment with their desired strategy.
Here are some high level questions to ask to see if you are ready to move from strategy design to strategy implementation:
The Bottom Line
Before you launch a strategic initiative, assess the strategic readiness across the entire organization. Sometimes to successfully move from strategy to action you must “go slow to go fast.”
To learn more about how to move from strategy to action, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy
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