Execution has a pattern
Enabling employees will help in smarter decision making
In the last part, we discussed the essentials of creating an execution culture in an organisation and that pursuit to successful execution takes years of consistent and disciplined efforts to be able to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. Incidentally majority of companies admit they are not so good at execution.
Basically, it is a global realisation that strategy execution remains as elusive as ever. All strategies look good and promising in presentation forms but it seems all in air until put in action. Whether the well thought out planning eventually delivers solely depends on its execution. Strategy focuses on financial details and business objectives but is left wanting in terms of involvement of the human story. Earlier, a well-written statement of organization’s strategy or a heavy PowerPoint deck with broad guidelines to achieve objective was considered good enough, now is a different business game, the standard have been raised considerably. These archaic ‘To-Do’ lists or vague set of aspirations or values mean nothing to organisations. Flawless implementation of strategy and the focus to create one that is executable is the key. Strategies do not exist in vacuums. They must reflect the nature of the system that has to implement it and how that system – the organization or a subset within must function to manifest the intentions behind the strategy.
“ Strategy maps and principles of organisation contribute immeasurably to the creation of executable strategies and to strategy execution itself. ”
Successful execution of strategy requires high levels of coordination and alignment at the top. As rightly put by Richard McKnight – strategies are created by top level executives sitting in small rooms failing involvement at all other levels i.e. middle and lower. Hence, the process is demerging. Attempts to communicate strategy for people to accept and absorb generally is lacking enthusiasm. McKnight explained that most approaches to strategy implementation fail because strategy is created at one level (top) and handed off to another (the middle and bottom). Consequently, everyone is frustrated: the tops because the strategy they invested so much energy in creating does not come to fruition. The middlelevel managers feel frustrated because they the strategy is just dumped onto them without seeking practical inputs. He emphasised that to improve strategy implementation, employees have to be involved in creating as well as carrying out the strategy, and senior managers have to become involved in executing as well as formulating the strategy. The Holy Grail of strategy execution is getting everyone in the organization to understand, feel enthusiastic about, and take action in alignment with the company’s strategy. When people comprehend the big picture, they make better decisions concerning their own piece of action. When organizations fail to engage the whole of their employees with their bodies, mind and spirit, the organization’s performance invariably suffers but when leaders create organizations that bring out the best in people, goal achievement can become easier and agreeable for all.
Strategy maps and principles of organisation contribute immeasurably to the creation of executable strategies and to strategy execution itself. The combination of these two tools provides the intellectual discipline required for a rigorous planning and execution process. Employees can only support what they understand. Passion and commitment has to form an intricate pattern of the principles or culture laid down for the organisation’s employees to go that extra mile to achieve success in execution. Employees support what they have helped to create and ultimately every understanding has to turn into action plan and results. Targets have to be set for all and processes realigned in the new direction. Essentially measurement needs to be done to make sure strategy execution is moving in the right direction.