It Is Important to Close the Strategy Execution Gap
To close the strategy execution gap in a meaningful way, leaders must agree upon and commit to a set of specific priorities focused on achieving clear goals. According to a recent survey of almost 600 senior global executives by Economist Intelligence Unit, 88% of executives consider successful strategy execution to be “very important” or “essential.” I hope so.
It Is Difficult to Close the Strategy Execution Gap
Strategy execution however is easier said than done. And not surprisingly, companies that struggle to close the strategy execution gap report weaker financial performance.
3 Steps to Close the Strategy Execution Gap
If you want to outperform your peers and close the strategy execution gap, follow these three steps.
You will know you have enough strategic clarity to set the stage to close the strategy execution gap when those who are responsible for creating, leading and executing the strategy (1) fully understand where to play and what actions to take, (2) believe the strategy will lead to successful results, and (3) know the strategy makes sense in your specific culture and market.
Before a strategy can be properly implemented, you must have leadership buy-in and support.
Then, key stakeholders need to understand (1) why it is necessary, (2) what it will do, (3) how they will be good at it, (4) what their role will be, and (4) how it will be supported throughout the organization by the right leaders and with adequate resources.
High performing teams spend more time creating a shared strategic clarity and aligning the organization around that strategy than their peers.
The most frequently used method of communicating strategy is through cascading the strategic imperatives from the C-Suite to Managers who then translate the strategy into day-to-day operations for their employee teams. The highest performing teams spend more time helping stakeholders directly translate the overall strategy into actionable goals while simultaneously identifying barriers and clarifying cultural guardrails.
The secret to effective strategy communication is to actively involve as many employees as possible in thoughtful, active participation in translating the strategy into day-by-day contributions and deliverables.
To truly close the strategy execution gap, you should plan on spending twice as much time with every level of the organization on execution as you did on design. For example, if your executive team spent one month designing the strategy and held a two-day strategic planning offsite, plan on spending two months and four days with their direct reports to get the same level of commitment and ownership.
The Bottom Line
The more you can actively involve employees in strategy design and implementation, the better your chances at being able to close the strategy execution gap that eludes 44% of companies. What percentage of time do your leaders spend fighting fires versus actively engaging stakeholders and purposefully aligning the organization around the critical few priorities?
To learn more about successful strategy execution, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy
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