One of the greatest opportunities and biggest challenges for executives is setting strategy and, with your team, delivering upon it. Companies spend significant time and money, often millions of dollars crafting the “perfect” strategy.
Yet, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study, companies on average deliver only 63% of the financial performance their strategies promise.
Achieving great results is not due to having a perfect strategy. In point of fact, a “perfect strategy” doesn’t exist. It is as mythical as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.
Achieving great results from your strategy is achieved by focused and effective execution.
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” George Patton, WWII US Army General
How do companies deliver great results on their strategies? They ensure their strategy execution is aligned, agile, and responsive.
Aligned strategies are clearly understood throughout the organization. A recent study showed that just 14% of employees understand the organization’s strategy. If that’s true, it’s no wonder that companies find it difficult to achieve their targets.
Alignment is achieved in several ways:
- Frequent and consistent communication across your organization.
- Creating shared ownership and accountability by aligning team and individual goals with the company’s strategic targets
When Shell Chemical undertook a multi-year approach to implement a new strategy, framed as its “Simpler Structures” operating model, every team meeting, townhall, and results discussion over a 3-year period started with the same slide and the same message – a reinforcement of its strategy, the change that was taking place, and the importance to the business. In doing so, every employee could recite what it was and what it meant to their business AND every business opportunity and decision was weighed against that strategy and vision… driving alignment and results thru the organization.
Agile strategies and execution are adaptive and nimble. Agile is most often used in reference to software development. Agile project management embraces the principles of being customer-focused, developing solutions and testing them quickly, building projects around motivated individuals, and strengthening the team thru learning and reflection.
Similarly, agile strategy execution is
- Customer-centric: engaging customers (both internal and external) to confirm their needs and interests,
- Embraces experimentation: Quick to trial solutions, assess results, and learn from them, rather than waiting for one big rollout of a solution which may miss the mark, and
- Adaptive: Agile strategy execution follows cycle of Plan-Do-Learn-Adjust-Do It Again and embraces victories along-the-way to its ultimate target.
Strategy does not exist in a vacuum.
Yet, all-too-often, strategy is set and then never touched again. Responsive strategic execution enables you to respond and adapt to the current market and opportunities. Responsive strategy execution is not micro-managed against a plan in which there are no deviations. Rather, it sets destination target and the path to get there, but allows adaption along the way. When there’s a roadblock ahead, don’t stop. Find a detour. When markets change rapidly, as it happening today, adjust and respond to current condition, identify the unique opportunities that arise, and take advantage of that.
“Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals and achieve the promised results.” Larry Bossidy, former CEO Honeywell
When leaders embrace aligned, agile and responsive strategy execution, great results happen.
Progressio Global helps chemical companies accelerate business results by closing the strategy-to-execution gap. Looking for help in achieving great results? Let’s talk about the proven approaches to help your company and your team achieve great results from your business strategy. Schedule a free consultation today.