Navigating The Gorge Between Strategy And Results
Dec 21, 2010
Focused execution is the bridge to cross the gorge between strategy and results. Many get that 'deja vu' feeling when we bring up the subject of a world class strategy failing to bring expected results. As I walk out of our annual strategy session, I cannot stop thinking about the past and many strategies that worked brilliantly and a sizable number that flopped. In an earlier post, we saw what it takes to come up with a good strategy.
Execution requires two very important actions.
- Communicating the strategy to all stakeholders
This is one key reason why even the most well crafted strategies have failed. While one set of individuals craft strategy, usually a different set of people are required to execute it. If the plan and the expected outcomes are not properly communicated to those who execute it, the executing team has potential to engage in an incorrect manner. It is impractical for the General or the crafting team to spend time with each and everyone during execution. Fortunately formal and effective methods of communicating strategy to large and diversely focused teams are available today.
- staying the course and making required course corrections on the way
A strategic plan is usually a sum of parts. Therefore it is usually important for different teams executing strategy to keep in perfect sync with the desired outcomes. Assumptions about progress of the invisible can kill the strategy. If some parts are not progressing as expected, then it is critical to take a step back and make course corrections in a timely manner.
It is also important to realize that execution of strategy will be felt by the ecosystem in which it is played. The executing team and all other players in the ecosystem will feel the impact of execution and respond to the stimulus. It is therefore important to constantly evaluate the continued relevance of crafted strategy to the changing conditions and constantly make timely course corrections. Otherwise the strategy becomes irrelevant quickly and loses teeth.