Better Strategy Execution: Know Where You are Going and How

business people Better Strategy Execution

Better Strategy Execution Matters
Better strategy execution is a problem for most executive teams.  Our organizational alignment research found employees are half as clear about strategic priorities as their boss. Is there confusion in the ranks?

If there is beware.  Ambiguity breeds mediocrity.  For better strategy execution, everyone must know and be confident about where the company is headed and how it will get there?

If not, you have a big, big problem.

Lack of Strategic Clarity Kills Better Strategy Execution
Without a clear strategic direction and an agreed upon path to get there that is understood and accepted by your entire work force, you risk “organizational churn.”  We define organizational churn as harmful or ineffective:

  • goals
  • roles
  • processes
  • metrics
  • behaviors
  • assumptions
  • values
  • conflicts
  • reward systems

When organizational churn gets too high, it can create total derailment for a team or company.

You Are Not Alone
According to research by IBM, only one out of ten organizations manages to successfully implement their strategies on a consistent basis. Why do so many fail at strategy execution? At the core, it is simple…a lack of strategic clarity.

Strategic Clarity Accounts for 31% of the Difference
In our own organizational alignment research, we found that strategic clarity accounts for up to 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  In lower performing organizations, far too many employees lack the level of strategic and leadership faith required to successfully implement the organization’s plans.  Without clarity, people:

  • work at cross purposes
  • operate in silos
  • lack the true focus required to be decisive when it matters most

So What Should You Do If You Have Strategic Ambiguity?

1.  Create Executive Team Alignment
First and foremost, the entire leadership team needs to be 100% aligned in three areas:

2.  Ensure Strategic Belief and Conviction
The leadership team and the rest of the organization must fundamentally believe:

  • Strategic Quality: the quality of your strategy and plan is equal to the challenge of your business objectives
  • Talent Quality: you have the right quality people to effectively execute your strategy/plan.

When it comes to better strategy execution, conviction is critical.  Conviction and belief is important because any goal worth achieving is not easy to accomplish.  Your team must have the right collective mindset to effectively balance some common strategic tensions when times get tough such as:

  • Seeing the bigger picture AND executing at a tactical level
  • Being decisive AND adaptable
  • Being optimistic AND realistic
  • Focusing on your customers AND your employees
  • Performing in the short-term AND creating long-term, sustainable health

The Bottom Line
An unclear business strategy hinders better strategy execution.  When faced with organizational churn, finger pointing and silos, too many leaders look to reorganize because the organizational structure changes are visible, quick and concrete.  Our alignment research shows that this is a mistake.

Want to learn how to set your leadership team up for better strategy execution?  download Download the 7 Warning Signs of Strategic Ambiguity Whitepaper

 

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