There are many aspects to creating a great company including setting vision, inspiring others and strategy execution. We focus on helping leaders get results, the strategy execution part of leadership and management. We know this is the boring part but then maybe we’re the Buckley’s Cough Syrup of business.
If you want to get results, you have to connect your strategy with the daily action of all your employees. Figuring out how to do that well is actually pretty complex. Since we’re not all that bright we spend a lot of time doing research to figure out best practices in strategy execution.
Why Strategy Execution Matters
Companies’ weak performance is not because they have weak strategic plans; it’s because they haven’t implemented those plans in an effective manner.
Why Strategy Execution is failing
Research published by the Harvard Business Review shows that on average, companies deliver only 63% of the performance that is anticipated in their strategic plans. One problem seen by this study is that less than 15% of companies regularly compare their business performance against their strategic plan. Harvard’s survey demonstrates a sequence of events that causes companies to fail.
No one is in charge of strategy execution. Instead “we all are.” With no one in charge of execution there is no one to ensure that the company’s biggest project, its strategic plan is effectively implemented.
Strategies are approved but poorly communicated. The lack of communication makes the translation of strategy into specific action all but impossible.
Lower levels in an organization don’t know what they need to do, when they need to do it or what resources are required.
Expected results never materialize and since management doesn’t review old plans, no one is held accountable for the results and the cycle of underperformance gets repeated.
Strategy implementation is the single greatest problem and the single greatest opportunity facing businesses today.
And the root cause of that problem is leadership. But not in the way you might think. It is not about leadership behaviours, the problem is leadership and management process.
Buckminster Fuller said that “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
And that’s what we do: develop, teach and implement new processes for strategy execution that turn managers into leaders.
Some recent research for nerds.
Two things we found from recent research were that senior managers were much better connected in with their company’s strategy and that when companies use metrics to communicate things, everyone is better off.
I understand my company’s objectives
Does your company’s strategic plan make any sense?
- Senior Managers 90%
- Managers 83%
- Employees 78%
- With Metrics 87%
- Without Metrics 74%
- Senior Managers 85%
- Managers 77%
- Employees 69%
- With Metrics 80%
- Without Metrics 65%
Every now and then you have to roll up your sleeves and get down to work to help improve strategy execution. We find that particularly true when helping companies who are at a point of inflection or change. Rapid growth, losses, and new directions are times when businesses need to think about how they are executing on their plans. We’re the extra resource that can focus on this and turn the turmoil of change into structured effort.
Coaching is for when you think you might be able to do it yourself but you need someone telling you how to do it. We pretend we’re your mother and nag you till you get it right. The good side is that we’re there to support you when it doesn’t work.
We have developed a series of workshops on strategy execution that take people through the process of defining success and assigning responsibility for that success throughout the organization. We taught these workshops first at the University of Toronto and are now delivering the same workshops to companies.