Why Most Strategies Fail – A New Approach To Strategy Execution

It is a very common saying that a strategy without execution is just like a fish out of water. According to survey conducted by Economist about 276 senior executives in 2004, 57% of companies fail to deliver strategic initiative and their policies or strategies ultimately turn out to be unsuccessful. Similarly according to the survey of American Association conducted in 2006 about 1500 executives, 62% of these executives remain mediocre or even worse at implementing the strategy for their respective organizations.  So the important question is why most of the strategies fail or in other words, why most of the senior executives and business leaders are unable to implement those strategies successfully?

Jack Wish opines that “Most strategies fail! Not due to the lack of money or poor strategy but lack of good execution. The key isn’t having a strategy, it’s getting it implemented.”  However, there is always some room for improvement and the good news for all the business leaders is that they can increase their chances of implementing any strategy successfully by being little bit more disciplined, focused and by aligning different aspects of their business and employing a robust methodology or business process.

“Rethinking” Strategy:

The ever changing business world, the increasing global competition and latest development in technology have made it compulsory for business leaders to thing about a totally new perspective of the strategy. They need to “rethink” strategy to able to create conducive environment where they can deliver that strategy. They need to get rid of the common misconception that strategy and execution are two different things altogether, the earlier being analytics and the latter being the operational business actions.

A More “Operational” Definition:
In the context of above discussion, it is also important to look at the more workable or operational definition of the strategy making it easy for the executives to implement it properly and successfully.
According to this definition, “strategy is a coherent set of analysis, concepts, policies, arguments and actions that respond to a high-stake challenge. A strategy coordinates actions to address a specific challenge.”  In simple words, executives have to remember that a strategy is not a strategy if it is not supported and augmented by proper and timely execution.

Barriers to Effective Strategy Execution:
Winston Churchill once famously quoted that “however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at results!” in this regard, There are many barriers that prevent the effective execution of the strategies in national and international level. Some of the most important of these barriers are given in the following lines.

  • Execution is not an integral part of the strategy but an afterthought.
  • Overall objectives and strategic initiatives lack clearly defined accountability.
  • More than 86% of employees do not understand the strategy.
  • A lot of valuable resources are wasted on “disconnected initiatives” because most of the initiatives are not tied to overall strategy.
  • Corporate culture is often the biggest barrier that prevents the openness, innovation and team work required to execute strategy.
  • Common day to day tasks take a lot of time due to lack of adequate governance and management discipline.
  • Most often, outside consultants devise the strategy and present it in big “binders” and therefore, management is not committed to that strategy or refuse to own it altogether.
  • Resource conflicts resulting due to the lack of coordination between senior executives and heavy focus on “silo.”

A Robust Strategy Execution Process (Line of Sight TM):
As discussed above, most of the executives who employ the traditional methods fail to deliver the strategy properly. Therefore, it is imperative for them to explore new ways and avenues that can help them to innovate, be creative and work effectively towards the betterment of their organization by implementing strategies as they should be implemented. Following is a graphical explanation of the Effective Strategy Execution.

Why-Most-Strategies1
What is Line of Sight TM Strategy Execution Roadmap?
Have you ever thought of having your entire strategy on a single page and then use it to manage your strategy execution process. The Line of Sight TM Strategy Execution Roadmap allows you to do so quite successfully and without any real hassle. It is a very comprehensive and effective method to formulate a great strategy for your organization and then implement it successfully to achieve the set goals and targets. This summary won’t be able to cover all the points of Line of Sight TM Strategy Execution Roadmap and for detailed overview; it is recommended that you listen go through the entire webinar, “Why Most Strategies Fail – A New Approach to Strategy Execution” delivered by John R. Childress at MILE, Madinah.

However, the following lines explain some key components of this particular roadmap to devise strategies for your organization.

  • Breakthrough Objectives:
    These are critical few macro objectives that if achieved, will deliver on the Strategic Intent.
  • Strategic Initiatives:
    The company needs to invest in specific initiatives and projects in order to achieve breakthrough objectives. Each of these initiatives and projects should be supported by complete project plan, root cause determinations, cost-benefits assessments, end-state matrics and milestones as well as action steps accountabilities.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
    All the modern executives and business leaders know what KPIs are. In case of Line of Sight, each breakthrough objective must have at least one corresponding KPI to track progress against plan and time in order to ensure the achievement of that breakthrough objective.

Benefits of Line of Sight TM Strategy Execution Roadmap:
There are many benefits of this particular roadmap and some of them are explained below.

  • It promotes discipline in management process.
  • It enables executives to quickly respond to market shifts.
  • They have access to videos, metrics and monthly updates.
  • It ensures clear accountabilities and metrics.
  • It promotes an open and friendly culture within an organization.
  • It narrates a collected and simple story that every employee can understand.
  • It builds confidence in the leadership of the organization and its employees.

The basic purpose of any strategy is to take your organization to the future, bring new and innovative products to the market and beat the competition. Similarly, it aims at shifting the culture and creating greater shareholder value. However, the bitter reality is that most of the strategies fail to deliver their promise and you have to ensure that your particular strategy is not one of them. There are many ways to do so and you just need to embrace them in order to truly rule the market in which you are operating.

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