Closing the Strategy-Execution gap

In March 2010, Harvard Business Review surveyed

Photo © Ruth Dimon, 2013

Photo © Ruth Dimon, 2013

1,075 readers about strategy and execution in their organizations.
Only 37% said their companies are ‘‘very good’’ or ‘‘excellent’’ at execution.

What is it that keeps us from having a sustainable process for executing our strategy?
On the one hand you have your strategic objectives, including:

  • Profitable Revenue Growth
  • Customer Success
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Employee Engagement
  • Cash cycle velocity
  • And so on.

On the other hand you have available resources at your disposal:

  • Capital
  • Assets
  • Customers
  • Products and Services
  • Human resources
  • Time
  • Markets
  • And more.

And you want to optimally deploy those resources across your business functions, including:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Production / Manufacturing
  • Supply Chain / Delivery
  • HR, IT, Finance, Accounting, Procurement

You want to deploy those resources at the right time, in the right amount, to the right place to deliver on the strategy and strategic outcomes of the company.  Yet there are barriers.

The HBR survey found that the top barriers to strategy-execution were:

  • Making the strategy meaningful to front-liners
  • Poor communication of strategy
  • Lack of accountability
  • Lack of clear and decisive leadership
  • Too much focus on short-term results
  • Everyone is too busy/not enough resources
  • Resistance to change
  • Strategy goals remain vague and pointless:
    •  Leadership actions are inconsistent with strategy
    •  Inability to measure impact
    •  Business units with competing agendas
    •  Too much uncertainty

According to Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, in his article ‘‘The Execution Trap,’’ as operational and front-line employees have to make decisions every day involving customers and operations, they become de facto strategists.

So what tools and and processes can we give those front-line strategists to help them execute the strategy?

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One Response to Closing the Strategy-Execution gap

  1. Pingback: CFO and CIO join forces to serve “The Business” | Ron Dimon

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