In today’s accelerated pace of business, there are benefits to going slow on strategy execution. In this post, Sean McCoy explains why.
Leaders of all types of organizations – businesses, non-profits, government departments – often want their organizations to move faster. Once leaders develop clear vision and strategy, they want the organization to move as fast as possible in executing the strategy.
We have worked with numerous organizations across various industries on their “speed of execution”, and some patterns have emerged. We have seen 10 common reasons why organizations execute strategies slowly.
Layers – More layers mean more time is spent delegating and not doing. Once work is finally completed by frontline staff, each layer means another step of review. Also, each layer in the org has its own interpretation of the strategy, so more layers means more degrees of separation from the CEO’s original strategy.
Gaps in responsibilities – A CEO provides a clear vision and strategy to achieve that vision, yet organizations can still move slowly because work slips through the cracks. This usually happens because the division of labor for an activity was not clearly defined.
Overlapping responsibilities – When multiple people think a decision or activity is in “their lane”, the organization slows down while ownership is sorted out. Too many organizations are familiar with the turf wars that often ensue.
Unclear communication – When a CEO brings a new strategy, everyone silently asks themselves “what does this mean for me?”. Unclear communications make it difficult to answer this question. As a result, the organization develops a reluctance to embrace a course of action with unclear consequences.
Key points include:
- Culture mismatch
- Excessive hand-offs
- Speed not measured
Read the full article, 10 Reasons Organizations Execute Strategies Slowly, on TheMcCoyConsultingGroup.com
If your team has difficulty moving strategies from thought to action, take advantage of 20 years of experience in strategy consulting from Andrew Hone’s company by clicking through to this comprehensive guide on strategy implementation.
You’ve just put the finishing touches to your business strategy. You’ve spoken to customers, researched the key market segments, and projected the financials. The Board and shareholders are aligned and agree on the priorities to take the business forward. That was the easy part!
Translating a strategy into action is a significant challenge. All too often, the benefits that were promised are delivered late, or fail to materialize at all. Management teams get distracted by the day-to-day challenges of running the business. Cross-functional initiatives fall between operating silos, budgets get reallocated and the initial momentum is lost.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Despite strategy implementation being seen as a key priority by most senior executives, fewer than 15% of organizations consider themselves to be successful when it comes to executing strategy. Estimates for strategy implementation failure rates range from 50% to 90%.
We have spent over twenty years helping clients translate strategy into action, working with a range of clients from start-ups through to large corporations and public sector organizations. Through this, we have identified a number of key principles that can help you to avoid common implementation pitfalls. By applying these principles, strategy implementation can be a more predictable, transparent and repeatable process, improving both the speed and certainty of the outcome.
Information in this article includes:
- Why strategies fail
- A strategy implementation framework
Access the guide and full report, Implementing Strategy, on the Zenith Strategy Associates’ website.
Gaelle Lamotte was recently interviewed for the Telegraph’s Business Reporter on bridging the gap between business strategy and achieving the best results.
Strategies often fail because there is a lack of a robust, compelling strategic story that hangs off them, there’s a failure of coordination between units and functions, often misalignment, and at the end of the day, there’s a lack of leadership agreement around a common shared purpose, around a common agenda. So as a result, you’ll find there’s a real gap in interpretation between a strategic plan and then ultimately what we get at the end, which is numbers and results.
Points discussed include:
- Goal alignment
- Snapshots of performance
- Reaction to results
- Discipline in execution
Listen to the full interview on Business Reporter, the Human Capital Series.