What Typically Factors that Prevent Strategy Execution?
Wouldn’t it be great to proactively prepare for the most common factors that prevent strategy execution? Even the most carefully conceived business strategies often fail in the execution stage. Between designing the strategic plan for success and reaching the goal with the entire organization there are often a breakdowns.
Three Top Factors that Prevent Strategy Execution
From our twenty-plus years of experience of strategic clarity facilitation, the broken implementation path can often be due to three basic factors:
First, a Lack of Strategic Clarity
A lack of strategic clarity occurs when the business strategy is not clearly translated from the board room to the front line. Often the strategic objectives are too vague or not put into the kinds of specific words or actions that could be understood and implemented in your unique company culture.
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies. High levels of strategic clarity occur when the strategic direction and the accompanying plan are understood, believed in and implementable in the eyes of those who must lead and implement it. Strategic clarity must occur at each and every level of the company for people to put their hearts and minds fully behind it.
Second, a Lack of Strategic Flexibility
Company strategies need to account for the constant and inevitable change that is the condition of business today. Successful business strategies need to allow for necessary internal and external feedback and related course corrections. Leadership teams need to be able to adapt to everything from shifts in the marketplace to an over-insistence on “staying the course.”
Third, a Lack of Leadership and Workforce Preparation
To sustain a major strategic change or initiative, leaders must be committed to the strategic goals long-term. They also need to ensure that the right talent is in place and that the organization’s culture aligns with the new direction. The highest performing companies actively involve and engage their workforce in the strategic planning, design, and implementation processes to create solid alignment on three fronts: strategy, culture, and talent.
An Updated Approach to Strategy Execution
One way to protect against factors that prevent strategy execution is to adopt an updated approach to strategy implementation. Rather than follow the more traditional waterfall method of building your strategic plan according to a strict project management model, try a more agile and progressive plan of action. Instead of traditional straight-line thinking encourage an iterative and more inclusive strategy cascading approach that can get you to the same destination via a potentially more innovative and flexible route.
Three Shifts to Improve Strategy Execution
The traditional waterfall approach to strategy can certainly work in situations where the objectives, goals, scope, or circumstances are relatively simple and straightforward. But when the strategy’s success involves a need for the organization to adapt to new ways of doing things, a more flexible and iterative approach will be far more successful. Here are the three shifts in focus for a more flexible and successful approach to strategy implementation:
1. Ensure Strategic Clarity and Commitment at the Top 2 Levels of Leadership
If there is conflict, ambiguity, or misalignment within the executive team or their direct reports, your strategy has little chance for success. While many companies do a good job of crafting strategic plans with the C-Suite, they often neglect to effectively engage and include next level leaders. Strategic priorities are often just wishful thinking until you get all your key stakeholders on board.
In fact, a recent study by Bain of more than 400 companies backed this up. The most successful executive teams overwhelmingly rated their ability to effectively engage their organizations as the No. 1 factor in their success – ranking it more than 50% higher than any other factor. Leaders must to be able to translate their vision in a way that provides their “implementers” with clear directions, and guidelines that make sense for teams to be able to craft their own plans that will work.
2. Empower Implementation Teams to Adapt as Needed
Because markets, competitors, technologies, and customers tend to shift and change, select team leaders who can operate effectively as strategists, problem solvers, change leaders, and people collaborators. Teams should not work strictly toward tactical milestones but rather toward strategic outcomes that directly align with overall corporate priorities and values. Everyone needs to know how (and be empowered) to make and communicate smart course corrections along the way.
3. Act as True Leaders
Look ahead at what will be needed for true change. Will you need to build new capabilities in the workforce? Adjust the existing corporate culture to better support and align with the new strategy? Or change systems and practices to get where you want to go in a way that makes sense? You need to keep your eye on the goal and continue to inspire your troops to reach it.
The Bottom Line
Unless you have invented the next iPhone that people just cannot live without, even the most promising strategies are just wishful thinking unless everyone is on the same page and aligned to make complex change happen. Get clear at the top, empower your teams to make it happen, and ensure leaders have the skills to be successful.
To learn more about how to overcome the common factors that prevent strategy execution, download 3 of the Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy
I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.
VP of Human Resources
LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.
Senior Marketing Manager
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.
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.
Director of Global Recruiting
“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”
VP Human Resources
We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR
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.
Director of Human Resources
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.
Firmware Engineering Manager
LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”
Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources
Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.
Chief Financial Officer
Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.
Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance
The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.
Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.
Senior Project Manager
We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.
Director, Human Resources
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
Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.
Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations? Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.
Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.
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.
Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.
Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.