Albu On Strategy

Execution Without Strategy is Aimless

Execution Without Strategy is Aimless

Based on research by Harvard’s Norton and Kaplan (The Execution Premium), 80% of companies never achieve the full value of their strategy.  That is a scary statistic and there are many reasons for this disappointing performance.  The reason we hear most is that short term needs take precedence over long term opportunities. So as the leader of your organization, what can you do differently so that you are among the 20% that achieve all of your strategic objectives.

The following quote describes the essence of strategy management: “Strategy without execution is useless—Execution without strategy is aimless.” It is a simple statement of truth that strategy drives the right activities to achieve the results you want.  What would applying the discipline of strategy management mean to your organization? 

  • Focus – Strategy provides focus to make the complex more manageable. Resources can be allocated to those initiatives that offer the most promising opportunities.
  • Alignment – With focus come alignment. A clearly articulated strategy brings everyone together—owners, family, management and employees—to work collaboratively to achieve the strategic objectives. 
  • Commitment – Alignment results in complete understanding of the Vision, Mission and Objectives. Commitment builds optimism and confidence that gets everyone excited about getting stuff done. 
  • Accountability – Employee commitment will create an environment where employees will hold each other accountable to deliver on their strategic plan commitments.

To be successful, the organization relies heavily on the leadership of the owner/CEO to create the right organizational climate that will enable strategy execution.  Consider these three steps to achieve successful strategy execution:

  • Lead the strategy team – Successful execution will require buy-in from key people in your organization. Getting the strategy team unified around the strategy is key to achieving the full value of your strategy.
  • Make the strategy transparent – Don’t keep the strategy a secret. To be effective, strategy needs to be shared with everyone in the organization.   A leader’s role is to communicate the strategy on a predictable schedule to keep everyone informed.
  • Provide Strategic Performance Feedback – Once the strategy is developed, and the organization is engaged in implementation, a system of performance feedback must be established. Keep in mind that less is more.  Limit your corporate performance dashboard to no more than 15-20 strategic measures.

Your goal is to achieve the full value of your strategic plan and by following these strategy management principles you can achieve the results you want.  Do you have an explicit strategy that you can clearly communicate to all your employees?  Does everyone understand their role in making strategy happen?  Are you holding everyone responsible and accountable to achieving the full value of your strategic plan?  Let us know what you are doing to make strategy happen. 

“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”  Morris Chang, CEO of TSMC

Posted in Newsletter, Strategy Execution.