Barriers to Strategic Execution
Strategy execution remains a major challenge for business leaders. Most companies struggle to create a winning strategy and then execute it effectively.
In a 2010 Harvard Business Review survey, it was reported that only 37% of business leaders think their companies are “very good” or “excellent” at execution.
While the current economic climate certainly makes strategy execution more challenging, only 23% blame the economy for their poor execution.
One of the keys to successful strategy execution is summed up nicely by my RESULTS.com colleague Scott Morris, “Those who plan the fight, don’t fight the plan.”
The people who are involved in the creation of your company strategy will be more engaged to drive the execution of the chosen strategy. Those who feel uninvolved are more likely to be skeptical, and can impede your company’s ability to execute it.
In most companies, employees are left out of strategy creation process. For sure, it is not feasible or practical to put your whole company in a room while you are making strategic decisions, but it is certainly a wise move to solicit everyone’s input to the strategic thinking process prior to decisions being made, and then to use a disciplined execution methodology to communicate and execute your chosen strategy.
Worryingly, only 33% of business leaders think that strategy creation is everyone's job. Is it any wonder that employees believe that there is an imaginary line in their company’s organization chart which divides the company into those who create strategy - and those whose opinions don’t matter?
The end result is that most employees don't even know what their company’s strategy is when asked.
What you end up with is confused and disengaged employees who don’t have the strategic context with which to make good decisions in their day to day actions. They just turn up and “do their job” as best they can.
Unwittingly, your employees may be making decisions and taking actions on a daily basis which undermine your strategic intent, and yet be completely unaware of this. These small actions all add up to put the handbrake on your company’s ability to move in your chosen strategic direction.
Let’s face it. How can you expect your employees to feel engaged, and have them execute your strategy effectively - when most of them don’t even understand what your strategy is, let alone feel any connection to it?