Clarity is the Key to Successful Strategy Execution

Clarity is the Key to Successful Strategy Execution A man stands on a clear yellow line that provides a straight path amid other white, curvy arrowed lines

Clarity is the Key to Successful Execution of Strategy
Too many companies fail at successfully implementing their strategy because they underestimate the fact that strategic clarity is the key to successful strategy execution. Even though most executive teams spend countless hours in the board room making strategic plans for growth, there is a chasm between the strategy design and strategy execution that is seldom crossed.

What the Strategy Research Says
In fact, according to a research report by IBM, 9 out of 10 companies fail to implement their strategies consistently.  Our own organizational alignment research found that employees understand their company’s strategy 50% less than their boss.  What’s going wrong and what can be done about it?

Strategic Clarity is the Key to Successful Strategy Execution
In our two decades of work with clients who are looking for help in implementing their most important strategies, we have found that the overriding problem is a lack of strategic clarity – fuzzy bets, misaligned success metrics, vague job roles, undeclared inter-dependencies, imprecise decision making processes, and a misaligned corporate culture that does not fully support strategic priorities.

3 Steps to Create Strategic Clarity to Help Strategy Execution
If you want a strategy that is clear, believable and implementable:

  1. Be Clear About Success Metrics and Responsibilities
    Unless employees know exactly how their success will be measured, what they are responsible for and, what actions are expected of them, they can’t begin to execute the strategy effectively. Define where they fit in the overall organization and how they must collaborate with others.

    When workers are unsure about how their success will be measured and what they need to do, they do less with ever decreasing motivation. A lack of clarity also causes managers to suffer because the critical link between rewards and performance is missing. The result? Confusion over priorities, roles, duplication of effort or tasks totally neglected, and decline of motivation.

    This causes your exciting strategy to get mired in the muck.

  2. Be Clear about How Decisions Are Made
    Unless employees know exactly how and at what level decisions will be made, they can’t be expected to make good and timely ones. Who, for instance, gets to decide the price of a solution? Salespeople need to know if they have the authority to create a deal from start to finish or if they have to report in to their sales manager, their sales team, the legal department or finance before negotiating and making promises to the customer.

    Then there is the question beyond “who” to “how.” Companies with a clearly established decision making process move efficiently from defining the problem to solving it. Each stakeholder understands the steps that will be taken on the way to a final decision and can play their part accordingly.

  3. Be Clear about the Desired Corporate Culture
    If organizational culture is defined as the way business gets done on a day-to-day basis, make sure that the environment you promote is one where information moves freely from one level to another and where openness and trust are valued. Few strategic objectives will be achieved in an atmosphere where mistakes lead to blame rather than to better ways of dealing with the situation.

    A healthy corporate culture is one where questions can be asked freely and different perspectives are welcomed and respected. This is the kind of culture that values continuous learning and provides the basis for the change of attitude that shifting strategies require.

The Bottom Line
Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams in teams of revenue, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.  Is your strategy clear enough to be successfully executed cross your company?  Our research says – probably not!

To learn more about how to create strategic clarity, download 7 Research-Backed Ways to Stress Test Your Strategic Clarity Now

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