2 Common Missing Steps to Good Strategy Execution

A woman is keeping a secret on Good Strategy Execution

Good Strategy Execution
There is not really any secret to good strategy execution.  It’s really just a matter of applying some good common sense.  But you’d be surprised at how many companies fail to succeed at strategy implementation of even very well crafted corporate strategies.

  • According to research by IBM, only 10 percent of organizations manage to successfully implement their strategies on a consistent basis.
  • Our clients tell us that less than 50% of employees believe strategies are being successfully implemented across the company.

90% Failure Strategy Execution Rate
90% seems high at first blush.  Though companies have become better at thinking through and planning their strategies, most still report missing out on realizing their goals.  Why is this happening?

The Disconnect Between Good Strategic Planning and Good Strategy Execution
Somewhere there is a tragic disconnect between the strategic planning process and the follow through at the team and individual contributor level required for good strategy execution.  The high level plans seem to break down when it comes to translating into action “on the front line.”

Two Missing Steps for Good Strategy Execution
When it comes to good strategy execution, we have found two steps missing between the strategic plan and the execution of the plan.

1. Clarity
First you need to be sure the strategy is clear enough, believable enough and implementable enough to all key stakeholders.

  • Clear enough: Can everyone articulate the top 2-3 strategies for the next 12-36 months?
  • Believable enough: Does everyone think the quality of the strategy is equal to the challenge you face?
  • Implementable enough: Can your strategy be fully implemented in your unique workplace culture and industry?

All too often strategic plans are either couched in high-flung, proprietary language that is easily misunderstood or not viable for the realities you and your team face internally and externally.

2. Purposeful, Effective Actions
Second, you have to ensure that the strategy can be translated into concrete and aligned actions at all levels of the organization. The strategy should become “personal” for all employees so they can make the day-to-day business decisions that will support the overall strategy.

An Example – A Strategic Objective to Increase Cash Flow
Let’s take an example of a strategic initiative to increase cash flow.

  • Is the concept of cash flow crystal clear to all employees?
  • Are the current and desired levels of cash flow clear?
  • Does everyone understand why improved cash flow matters compared to other priorities?
  • Do people know how to improve cash flow on a daily basis according to the role they play in the overall enterprise?

For good strategy execution, company leaders need to make the connection between the goal of increased cash flow and each individual employee’s role. One way to “test out” the strategy at lower levels is to experiment using an interactive business simulation.  Involve cross-functional teams in “playing” with the different metrics that will impact the strategy; the exercise will inform better decisions and avoid costly mistakes and misdirection.

The Bottom Line
To have good strategy execution, see that your strategy is clearly understood and agreed to by all so that they can support the plan through their daily business decisions.

To test if you are on the path to good strategy execution, take this 4-minute Strategic Clarity Assessment to see where you stand.

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