Albu On Strategy

Six Cs of Successful Strategy Execution

In their book The Execution Premium, Harvard Business School professors Norton and Kaplan found that 70% of companies fail to achieve the full value of their strategic plan.  A Brightline survey carried out in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 53% of executive leaders believe that a failure to deliver on strategic objectives puts them at a competitive disadvantage.  Yet just 10% of organizations deliver on all their strategic goals.

Closing the strategy execution “gap” has been elusive to many organizations and for good reason.  Developing strategy is fun, engaging and energizing, but strategy execution is hard work.  It requires patience, persistence, and commitment to a continuous, predictable, and disciplined, process. 

Our role at Albu Consulting is to make the strategy execution challenge less daunting for our clients.  We guide and coach our clients to ensure they establish strategy execution management as an organizational competency.  Here are six best practice disciplines important to successful strategy execution.    

Clarify – Too often strategy is left implicit in the owners/CEO’s head, and maybe shared with a few senior executives.  As a result, no one really knows what the long-term direction of the business is, and why it was chosen.  Employees are left in the dark without a clearly articulated roadmap of the organization’s destination.  The strategy needs to be explicit, in a document that describes in as much detail as necessary, past performance, current situation and future state.  Its less about numbers, and more about a discussion of what choices are being made and why they are important.

Collaborate – Getting buy-in to the strategy from those that will be tasked and accountable for execution is critical to success.  Successful strategy execution management requires organizations to engage employees in the strategy discussion, inviting feedback, causing discussion, and debating solutions.  The more employees are engaged in the strategy, the more they own the strategy. 

Communicate – Good communication is critical to executing your strategy.  Getting employee engagement is challenging intellectually and emotionally.  In our experience, leaders often under communicate and send inconsistent messages.  Employees are bombarded with personal and business messages 24/7.  A single memo or a few speeches by the executive team will fall short.  The challenge is to break through that clutter and make the message stick. When you think you have communicated the strategy enough, do it again.

Calibrate – There is an old cliché, “What gets measured gets done.”  Another is, “if you can measure it, you can manage it.”  Measuring it gives you the insight needed to stay on course to achieve your objectives.  Once you have developed the strategy’s key performance measures (KPI), develop a cadence of review, discussion, and fine-tuning to promote progress toward the achievement of the strategic objectives.

Commit – Leadership of the strategy execution process starts at the top and requires commitment. There is no other way.  It cannot be delegated.  The owner/CEO owns the Vision, and is accountable to deliver on that promise.  If the leader makes strategy management a priority, then everyone else will follow.  This trickle-down behavior is fact, not theory. 

Celebrate – Reinforce the importance of the strategy’s success to the company by holding people accountable and celebrating successes.  Too often leaders spend more time on misses and not enough time on achievements.  Celebrating the successes that lead to the achievement of your long-term objectives will go a long way toward engaging and gaining buy-in from your employees.

Strategy management requires strong leadership of a continuous process that embodies these six important disciplines.  Given that a majority of companies fail to achieve the full value of their strategy, a great opportunity exists for organizations that embrace strategy management.  At Albu Consulting, we are committed to making strategy management a core competency and competitive advantage for all our clients. 

Contact us with your thoughts and experiences and please share this newsletter with your colleagues and friends as you see fit.


“Organizations don’t execute unless the right people, individually and collectively, focus on the right details at the right time.”

Ram Charan, Execution: The Dicipline of Getting Things Done

Posted in Newsletter, Strategy Execution, Strategy Management.