Strategy execution is clearly a key topic on the agenda of Boards and Executive Committees. In the work we do for our clients the question “how can we become more effective in turning our strategy into concrete results?” is very often one of the main questions. (In a previous article I mentioned the main reasons for this increased need for effective strategy execution). The increased focus by senior leadership on strategy execution is a good thing. If you’re not fast and effective enough at it, you quickly can get into trouble.
“Five percent of the challenge is the strategy. Ninety-five percent is the execution. At the end of the day, the most disciplined organization, the organization which gives a lot of importance to processes, ends up prevailing.” (Carlos Ghosn)
When we talk about improving strategy execution we actually talk about increasing our ability to deal with continuous change, and doing this successfully as an organization.
It is simple: the better the organization becomes at achieving strategic priorities and results, the more confidence and trust will grow within the organization. And the outside world (customers, suppliers, partners, the public) will recognize this.
Is there a standard solution that will make an organization a champion in strategy execution?
Unfortunately not. Defining the right approach depends on the business sector, corporate culture, business model, market developments, etc. But the following list of questions might be useful. Leaders can use these questions as a checklist to analyse for themselves or together with their team how the organization is doing, and which points would need further attention.
- Do we have enough clarity about the vision, the strategic priorities, and the results the company wants to accomplish? Is it clear enough WHY these are important?
- Does this clarity exist throughout the organization or only in specific parts of the organization (for instance mainly at the top)?
- Are people stimulated early in the decision-making process to contribute their experiences/ideas? Are they invited to think along in creating the vision and strategy? Are they co-owners?
- How does the top of the organization show its commitment to the vision, priorities and results? How well do people feel that it is top-of-mind for the executive team?
- Do we have a longer-term horizon or mainly a short-term focus? Why?
- Do we optimize cross-border collaboration? Do we know the existing collaboration barriers? Do we have a plan on how to eliminate these?
- Do we understand potential cross-cultural differences that might hinder teams to collaborate effectively? If not, why? How do we deal with these differences effectively?
- How do we monitor progress and success? How do we report and communicate results? Do we have a clear road map?
- How do we maintain focus throughout the organization? How do we detect when we slide out of focus? How do we correct?
- How do we communicate and share successes with each other? How do we create collective learning out of our successes and our failures? How do we share and transfer knowledge within the organization? What can we do to influence this positively?
What would you add to this list? I look forward to reading your reactions!Like this post? Share it with others! Join us and register at the top of this page to stay up to date with LeadershipWatch articles and news. Your personal information will be kept strictly confidential. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Aad is a global business advisor, change leader, executive team facilitator, leadership coach, and frequently asked keynote speaker. He is founder and managing partner at HRS Business Transformation Services where he works with senior executives and leadership teams globally in three key domains: ‘leading complex change’, ‘cross-cultural leadership’, and ‘post-merger integration’. Find out more about Aad and our services. If you would like to invite Aad to your organization contact us.