There is no strategy without execution,and there is no execution without leadership.
Strategies are meant to carry companies onwards and upwards to lofty performance and competitive advantage. Sadly, in the majority of firms, big and small, strategies are rarely delivered and often die a silent death on a dusty shelf in the corner office, along with failed strategies from years gone by.
In a recent McKinsey & Co study of 197 companies, despite 97% of directors believing they had the right ‘strategic vision’, only 33% reported achieving significant strategic success. Other studies confirm this wide gap between strategy and execution.
The important thing is not having a strategy, it’s getting it implemented. ~Jack Welch
Strategy is not a document, a binder, PowerPoint charts, graphs, customer or competitive analyses. Strategy is a contact sport and does not exist without robust execution actions (not plans, actions). Too often good strategies fail to get implemented because of the overriding focus of most companies on solving day-to-day business problems. There is no time nor energy nor resources left to execute on strategic initiatives.
What is needed is a shift by the senior leadership team to focus on strategy execution. Current studies show that less than 5% of senior executive time is spend on strategy execution. But focus in not sufficient. Also required are a robust strategy execution process and a business methodology, complete with accountabilities, clear metrics, cascading objectives, employee engagement, governance, transparency and teamwork. A recent BSColl study showed that those organizations with a defined strategy execution process significantly outperform those without.
FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution is a new book by John R Childress, a pioneer in leadership, culture change and strategy execution and is a no-nonsense, straight talking how to book for those interested in effective strategy execution. In just 200 pages Childress presents the rationale for effective strategy execution, the reasons why most organizations fail, and a step-by-step approach, complete with templates, to building your own strategy execution roadmap and process. The book also filled with case studies from the likes of Ford, Continental Airlines, Lycoming Engines, and others.
Christiane Wuillamie, Senior Partner, The Principia Group