Achieve Strategic Clarity
How can your organization get where it wants to go if it does not achieve strategic clarity for the path ahead? Less than 10% of even well formulated strategies are effectively executed. Part of the problem is that the plan, though typically understood by the executives who crafted it, is not fully understood or accepted by those who must carry it out.
Strategy Accounts for 31% of the Difference
Though most executives agree that a sound strategic plan is imperative, many disagree on how to implement it throughout the organization. And yet, strategic clarity accounts for 31% of difference between high and low organizational performance. If you want to perform, you need your strategy to be clear, believable and implementable across the organization.
Four Steps to Help Achieve Strategic Clarity for Your Organization
Over the last two decades of helping clients achieve strategic success, we have devised a four-step approach to ensure you get to where you want to go.
1. Clear Strategy Definition
You need to clearly define and prioritize a set of strategic objectives so you have a framework for setting future direction and making decisions. Set out the objectives that you know will make the most difference to your organization in your marketplace. Build these goals around your core values and unique opportunities.
What will most drive your company’s success?
2. Clear Strategy Communication
Once defined, it is critical that you socialize the strategy with both your employees and your external stakeholders. With vague or confusing strategy communication, you risk lack of buy-in and alignment. The strategy must be easily understood and then accepted by employees as well as investors.
Change is difficult. No matter what the path ahead, there will most likely need to be changes in systems, processes and behaviors. Make sure all your stakeholders “get” the “why” of the change and believe that their best interests will ultimately be served by the effort required.
Communication of the strategy must be two-way. While clear, direct and ongoing communications are a must, the real value lies in ongoing and active discussions, feedback and adjustments.
3. Clear Strategy Implementation
When the strategy is believed to be achievable and fully supported by executives and the workforce, implementation can begin. Pave the way with:
To succeed with strategy execution, the entire organization needs to be aligned around the plan. The vision of change needs to be translated into specific courses of action with goals, timing and outcomes clearly established. Managers need to be held accountable for their piece of the action and progress must be tracked as implementation proceeds.
4. Clear Strategic Flexibility
No strategy or change initiative is without bumps along the road. When there is a glitch, organizations must be able to respond to changes in the business environment, whether internal or external. In fact, market responsiveness and change agility are two of the top five factors that differentiate high from low performing leadership teams.
The need for strategic clarity must be weighed against the need to course correct when unexpected factors arise. The key is to constantly evaluate and adapt organizational skills and capabilities to be sure they align with strategic intent.
The Bottom Line
Remember, strategic ambiguity is the enemy of effective strategy execution. Clearly define and communicate the strategy; effectively execute against the plan; and thoughtfully adapt to changes along the way. This is how your business strategy can succeed.
To learn more about how to achieve strategic clarity and improve strategy execution, download 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy.
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